Mexico's congress calls for report on nuclear plant, strategy

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Mexico's congress has requested a report into the current state of the country's Laguna Verde nuclear power station from state power utility CFE and details of its future nuclear power strategy.

CFE plans to build two new nuclear power facilities close to Laguna Verde, which is located in Alto Lucero in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The plants would each have capacity of 1,400MW and require 331t of uranium.

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Mexico's national energy strategy to 2027, announced by the energy ministry (Sener) in 2013, requires an additional 46,915MW of capacity, 2,800MW of which would be generated using nuclear power, the lower house said in a press release.

Nuclear power will remain under state control in the wake of the country's energy reforms, CFE's director general of renewable power Alejandro Peraza said in May.

Laguna Verde generates 3.3% of Mexico's electricity supply. The addition of two plants would increase the nuclear power contribution to 4.4% of total energy generation.

The press release noted the safety advancements made in nuclear power generation in recent years, and the fact that there are currently 437 nuclear reactors operating worldwide, with an additional 67 in development.

Mexico's geological service will this year conclude surveys in the northern states of Chihuahua, Nuevo León and Sonora to determine the presence of uranium as a potential raw material for the new plants, with exploration underway at 12 sites.

It is estimated that Mexico has uranium reserves of 14,600t, of which 10,600t are economically extractable, according to the release.