Argentina, China still discussing nuclear power project: undersecretary

BEIJING (Reuters) - Argentina is still negotiating the terms of a Beijing-bankrolled nuclear power project in Buenos Aires province, a government official said on Tuesday, adding that China’s own Hualong One reactor design would be a good choice for the scheme.

The two sides are still deciding on the “new financial structures” of the project, known as Atucha III, Julian Gadano, undersecretary for nuclear energy for Argentina, told the China Nuclear Energy Sustainable Development Forum in Beijing. The deal is worth a reported $8 billion.

A delegation from China was due to visit Argentina last month to discuss construction of the plant which, if finalised, would be one of the biggest projects financed in the South American country by Beijing.

Construction of a Hualong One reactor in Argentina “will enable China to get involved in a mature market” and allow it to show the world its technological advances in the sector, Gadano added.

Hualong One is China’s home-grown third-generation nuclear reactor design. One such reactor is under construction for use at the Karachi nuclear power complex in Pakistan, while China is also going through a long approval process to build one in Britain.

Sources previously told Reuters that the protracted negotiations over the Argentina project were partly due to due concerns over what proportion of components would be sourced from domestic suppliers.

Li Xiaoming, assistant general manager of China National Nuclear Corp, said on Tuesday that the localization rate for the Argentinian reactor would be 40 percent, without elaborating.

Reporting by David Stanway; writing by Tom Daly; editing by Christian Schmollinger