[:en]Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) has awarded a contract to a joint venture between Tecna and Siemens to supply the balance of plant (BOP) for the prototype CAREM-25, a domestically-designed and developed small integral reactor.
The contract was signed on 3 August in the presence of Argentina’s minister of energy and mining Juan Jose Aranguren; secretary of electric power Alejandro Sruoga; assistant secretary for nuclear energy Julian Gadano; CNEA president Norma Boero; and representatives from Siemens and Tecna.
The contract was awarded following a three-stage tender, launched in 2014. It covers the entire conventional island and the tertiary circuit, as well as the demineralization plant and the auxiliary boiler. Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, followed by a trial operation period ending in July 2019. Commercial operation of the prototype reactor will then follow.
In a statement, CNEA said: “This is a new milestone in the development of this strategic project.” It said Argentina hopes to use CAREM to compete in the market for the supply of small modular reactors “in the near future”.
It said the contract represents an investment of ARS 1200 million ($80 million) and will directly create 400 jobs.
CNEA noted the contract marks the return of Germany’s Siemens as a nuclear supplier to the region, following its participation in the construction of the Atucha I nuclear power plant.
CAREM – the name is taken from Central ARgentina de Elementos Modulares – is a domestically-designed and developed 25 MWe small pressurized water reactor. The prototype of the design is being built at a site adjacent to the Atucha nuclear power plant in Lima, 110 km northwest of Buenos Aires.
First concrete was poured for the prototype CAREM-25 in February 2014, marking the official start of its construction. At least 70% of the components and related services for CAREM-25 are to be sourced from Argentine companies.[:]