Argentina to secure Atucha III nuclear financing

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Argentina will secure financing from China in the last quarter of this year for the South American country's fourth nuclear power plant.

That's according to Argentine planning minister Julio De Vido, who met with Chinese officials in Vienna, Austria, during the 59th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a ministry statement said.

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State-run firms Nucleoeléctrica Argentina and China National Nuclear Corporation are overseeing the 800MW Atucha III project, which will be built alongside the operating Atucha I and II plants in Buenos Aires province.

More than 900 Argentine firms expressed interest in a tender to provide components and services for Atucha III.

In addition to signing a financing deal for Atucha III, the two countries will ink a framework agreement this year to begin negotiating financing terms for a fifth nuclear plant, the ministry said.

Nuclear energy accounted for about 7% of Argentina's total gross power generation in July, according to data from wholesale power market regulator Cammesa.

China is also financing the US$4.8bn, 1.74GW Kirchner-Cepernic hydroelectric complex, for which preliminary works have already begun.

The Vienna meeting follows an announcement that Argentina will soon secure loans from Russia for the US$2bn Chihuido I dam, which will have a capacity of 637MW.

THERMAL PLANT START-UP

In related news, the planning ministry announced that the second 270MW unit at the Guillermo Brown thermoelectric plant in Bahía Blanca city, owned and operated by AES Argentina, began injecting power into the SADI national grid.

The 540MW open-cycle plant in Buenos Aires province has duel fuel – natural gas and fuel oil – capability, and will eventually be upgraded to 870MW combined-cycle with the addition of a steam turbine.