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Argentina Seeks To Sell Nuclear Small Modular Reactor to Indonesia

March 16, 2020 (EIRNS)—Argentina recently announced that its development of the CAREM nuclear reactor would once again be a national priority, after several years of delay and defunding under the previous government of neo-liberal Mauricio Macri. Their idea was always to use it domestically and export to other countries with no nuclear power.

But, on Energy Central, last week, Dan Yurman, editor of NeutronBytes blog, reported an even bigger surprise: Argentina says it has plans to sell its 25 MW small modular reactor (SMR) to Indonesia.

“In an unexpected development, the country’s National Atomic Energy Commission announced this month that work on the first-of-a-kind unit would be finished by the end of next year and offered for export to Indonesia. In addition to the 25 MW design, Argentina is said to have ambitions for 100 MW and 300 MW versions for export.”

The local report, cited by longtime nuclear industry analyst Arnaud Lefevre at NBN Media, does not include an expression of interest from Indonesia. The latter has had serious talks, but no deals, with several options for nuclear power, including a molten salt reactor from U.S.-based Thorcon and a conventional 1000-MW VVER from Russia’s Rosatom. Barriers to making a commitment by the Indonesian government include hesitations about having the capacity to regulate the safety of the plans, financing and costs, and the risks of damage to reactors from earthquakes, which are common among its many islands.

Another market for the SMR is likely to emerge. Progress on the CAREM reactor has been an on-again/off-again affair based on the available funding. The restart of funded work, and an official objective of a completion date within the next 12 months, could put Argentina in the market with a viable product, Yurman said in his March 7 report.

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