China inks $8 bln nuclear power plant deal in Argentina

The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing
The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Feb 2 (Reuters) - State-owned China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) has signed a contract in Argentina to build the $8 billion Atucha III nuclear power plant using China's Hualong One technology, reviving a deal that had been stalled for years.

CNNC said on its WeChat account late on Tuesday that ithad signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, which comes ahead of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez's trip to China later this week.

Progress on the nuclear deal between the two nations had stalled since it was first negotiated by the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez, a left-wing populist who left office in 2015. She is now Argentina's vice president.

Argentina's government said in a statement that the construction project "involves an investment of over $8 billion" for engineering, construction, acquisition, commissioning and delivery of a HPR-1000 type reactor.

"Atucha III will have a gross power of 1,200 MW and an initial useful life of 60 years, and will allow the expansion of national nuclear capacities," it said, adding that construction was set to start at the end of this year.

Details of financing of the nuclear power plant deal were not available. The reactor will be installed in the town of Lima in the province of Buenos Aires.

China developed Hualong One, a third generation pressurised water nuclear reactor power plant technology, to rival the Westinghouse-developed AP1000 and Europe's Evolutionary Pressurised Reactor (EPR) technology.

China has started operating its own Hualong One reactor in the southeast Chinese province of Fujian. The Argentina project will be the second overseas location using Hualong One technology after Pakistan.

Reporting by Shivani Singh in Singapore and Adam Jourdan in Buenos Aires; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Paul Simao

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