News Brief: Nuclear Power Developments in Argentina

Dan Yurman’s recent article for the Energy Collective sheds new light on Argentina’s recent nuclear power developments. Yurman higlights deals for three new nuclear reactors and the the country’s new R&D program focused on the development of a 25 MWe SMR based on a PWR design.

Key facts of the three new reactors include:

  • China’s CNNC is financing two of the new reactors for a total of deal worth $13 billion USD.
  • Russia’s Rosatom is partnering for the third reactor, financing $6 billion USD.
  • Despite these financing deals, Argentina will need to seek further financing, likely from international markets
  • The Chinese reactors are a 800 MW PHWR Candu type reactor scheduled for 2016, and later a new CNNC 1100 MW Hualong One reactor. Rosatom’s reactor is a 1200 MW VVER design.

Yurman also highlights the developmend of a 25 MWe SMR by CNEA (the National Atomic Energy Commission) that is positioned “to be used to supply energy for areas with small populations or, potentially, for supplying power to desalination plants in costal areas.

Nuclear Energy in Argentina

According to World Nuclear Association’s country profile, Argentina currently has three nuclear reactors generating about one-tenth of its electricity. In 2007, per capita energy consumption was over 2600 kWh/yr. In 2012, gross electicity production included 73 TWh from gas, 30 TWh from hydroelectric, 20 TWh from oil, 3 TWh from coal, and 6.4 TWh from nuclear.

Argentina’s electicity production is largely privatised, and is regulated from ENRE (Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad). Yurman, in his article on Argentina’s future nuclear energy plans, describes the three existing reactors:

the profile of installed units includes three PWHR Candu type reactors the oldest of which was built in 1974 (Atucha 1). Atucha 2, a 700 MW PHWR entered revenue service in 2014, and a third unit Embalse, a 600 MW Candu 6, was completed in 1983.

The deals with China and Russia enable a rapid shift in Argentina’s energy mix, with an increasing focus on cutting carbon emmissions. However, questions remain as to whether Argentina can afford major new nuclear infrastructure. As an April 2015 op-ed by Jason Marczak in the World Politics Review noted, Argentina is often an afterthought for investors looking to invest internationally, due to political instabilitity and the fallout from the sovereign debt default in the early 2000s.

However, with presidential elections later this year, there is renewed optimism in Argentina and, perhaps, a chance that international investors will begin to reconsider their skepticism. Renewed investment will make help to catapult the recent Chinese and Russian deals, and the local SMR development, from the early stages of today towards a brighter future.

Breakthrough deal for Candu and China Nuclear to build two reactors in Romania

Candu Energy and China Nuclear Power Engineering Company Sign Cooperation Agreement for Two CANDU Reactors in Romania

MISSISSAUGA, ONJuly 24, 2014 /CNW/ – Candu Energy Inc., an SNC-Lavalin company, today signed a binding and exclusive cooperation agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, Ltd. (CNPEC) for the construction of CANDU Units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania.  Signed in Vancouver, the agreement was witnessed by senior representatives of China’s National Energy Administration and Natural Resources Canada.

Romania already has two operating CANDU 6 nuclear reactors, which came into service in 1996 and 2007. Combined, they are the largest power producer in the country, accounting for about 20 per cent of Romania’s energy supply. This agreement follows a letter of intent signed by CNPEC’s parent company China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and Romanian utility Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) in November 2013 for investment in and development of two additional nuclear units at the Cernavoda site.

“Candu Energy looks forward to working with CNPEC to meet Romania’s growing nuclear energy requirements.  This is an exciting opportunity to build on CANDU technology’s international track record for the highest levels of safety, reliability and efficiency,” said Preston Swafford, Candu Energy President and CEO.  “Today’s agreement deepens our strong ties with both the Romanian and Chinese nuclear industries, as CANDU reactors have operated in both countries for more than a decade.”

CANDU nuclear technology has an established presence in China, with two 700 megawatt CANDU reactors at Qinshan Phase III, located southwest of Shanghai. Completed in 2003, the Qinshan units are among the best performing nuclear units in China with lifetime capacity factors of over 91 per cent.

“This project stands to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s economy and support highly-skilled jobs here at home.  It demonstrates the tremendous export value of Canadian nuclear expertise,” added Mr. Swafford.

Candu Energy is pursuing other international new build opportunities in the United Kingdom and China, among other markets.

About Candu Energy Inc.

Candu Energy Inc. is a leading full-service nuclear technology company providing nuclear power reactors and nuclear products and services to customers worldwide. Candu Energy’s 1,200 highly skilled employees design and deliver state-of-the-art CANDU® reactors, carry out life extension projects, and offer operations, maintenance and plant life management services for existing nuclear power stations.

CANDU reactors use natural uranium fuel, heavy-water moderator and heavy-water coolant in a pressure tube design. They can be refuelled on power and have one of the highest lifetime capacity factors among the world’s reactors. CANDU reactors are ideal for small and medium electric grids; the newest designs are equipped with a number of safety enhancements to meet the latest Canadian and international standards, including post-Fukushima enhancements. They benefit from the CANDU 6 experience of proven design, construction and operation.

Russia makes an offer to tender two nuclear power plants in Argentina

July 14, 2014 – Messi lookalike and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and other top Argentine politicians met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Energy Minister Alexander Novak to discuss cooperation and sign a deal to develop two new Rosatom nuclear plants in Argentina. Details of the story are available by  clicking this article in the Buenos Aries Herald.

From an international perspective these negotiations depict the high level of official government involvement that is often required in nuclear energy deals. The united efforts of Russia’s President and Economy Minister is in stark contrast to the noticeably absent support that Prime Minster Stephen Harper has shown for marketing Canadian Candu reactors abroad.  How should Canada compete with Russia and other nations to export Canadian nuclear technology and expertise around the world?

In a recent post we pointed out that Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi was actively supporting and advocating on behalf of Candu and other Canadian interests at a conference in China. In the high stakes game of international energy, heads of state need to get involved. 

Ala Alizadeh of Candu Energy to speak at Future of Nuclear 2013

The Future of Nuclear staff is pleased to announce that Ala Alizadeh, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Candu Energy Inc., will appear as a speaker and panelist at Future of Nuclear 2013, to be held October 9 at MaRS Discovery District.  To read the complete conference-day agenda, click here.

Dr. Ala Alizadeh leads domestic and international business development activities for 66 Coleridge Ave,  Toronto, ON M4C 4H5 416-466-4474 michael@coopershoots.comCandu Energy Inc.

Before joining Candu Energy Inc., Dr. Alizadeh held similar responsibilities for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), where he built his career for close to 30 years. A civil engineering and construction specialist, he has worked on CANDU nuclear plant projects in Canada, Korea, Argentina and Romania.

He holds a PhD in structural engineering from the University of Toronto where he has also taught. He has served on technical committees in Canada as well as internationally.  Ala has acted as an expert advisor and consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency on subjects such as nuclear construction, nuclear project development and the establishment of nuclear infrastructure for emerging countries. He also sits on the board of the Canada China Business Council.

Additional speakers and panelists will be announced in the coming days.  Like us on facebook, or follow @futureofnuclear on twitter for the latest news.

To learn more about the event and to register, visit the link below:

https://futureofnuclear2013.eventbrite.com

 

First test of thorium fuel commences at Norway’s Halden research reactor

This week at Norway’s Halden research reactor, Norwegian company Thor Energy began testing a promising fuel that could dramatically change the way nuclear power is generated.

Thor Energy and other companies are in the process of developing thorium as the nuclear fuel of the future.  It is much more plentiful in nature than uranium making it cheaper. [1]  It is also highly versatile and can be used in many existing reactor types including heavy water reactors, high-temperature gas cooled reactors, boiling (light) water reactors, pressurized (light) water reactors, and fast neutron reactors. [1] It is also a candidate fuel for new types of reactors including molten salt reactors and accelerator driven reactors. [1]

However, the wide-ranging benefits of thorium will have to wait a while yet.  The test is scheduled to run for five years before the fuel will be studied to determine its performance and safety. [2] This test may be the first of many.  Companies around the world are working on thorium fuel including  Candu of Canada and China National Nuclear Corporation who are leading a research program to use thorium mixed with recycled uranium as a fuel in a modified Candu reactor. [2]

While it is still years away, the industry will be keeping a close eye on Thor Energy and others as they work to make thorium fuel commercially available.

Sources:

1. Thorium, World Nuclear Association Information Library, www.world-nuclear.org

2. Thorium test begins, World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org