Argentina, China make "important headway" in nuclear energy cooperation

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Argentina and China made "important headway" by wrapping up negotiations on Wednesday on building the Latin American country's fourth nuclear plant.

As part of the two countries' comprehensive strategic partnership, they also worked out a framework agreement for a fifth nuclear plant, Argentina's Ministry of Planning said in a press release.

"The commercial negotiating phase for the fourth nuclear plant has concluded and the definitive signing of the agreement will take place soon with (the participation) of authorities from both countries," the ministry said.

"In this way, we continue to implement the commitments signed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Chinese President Xi Jinping" during Xi's visit to Buenos Aires in July 2014, the ministry added.

"Following three weeks of intense work," the firm Nucleoelectrica Argentina (NASA) and the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)" agreed on the terms of technical and commercial contracts that will allow us to move forward with this work that is strategic to national development and part of the Argentine Nuclear Plan," the ministry said, referring to the fourth plant.

The negotiation was attended by Planning Minister Julio De Vido, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, China's ambassador to Argentina Yang Wanming, NASA President Jose Luis Antunez, and Li Xiaoming, representative of the CNNC.

The project is estimated to cost some 5.994 billion U.S. dollars, with "62 percent of its components of Argentine origin and 38 percent of Chinese origin."

Most of the financing, some 85 percent will come from Chinese banks, but at a preferential "financial rate of less than 6.5 percent per year," the ministry added.

The plant will feature a heavy-water reactor manufactured with more than 70 percent Argentine components, according to the ministry, "which will bring a big boost to national industry."

To be built about 110 km from the capital Buenos Aires -- at the Atucha Nuclear Complex, adjacent to the Nestor Kirchner and Juan Domingo Peron nuclear plants -- the plant will generate approximately 750 megawatts of power, and more than 7,000 jobs.

A future fifth nuclear plant is set to feature a light-water and enriched uranium reactor developed with Chinese technology, and produce some 1,000 MW of power. Endi

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