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Rosatom can invite Argentina on construction of nuclear research center in Bolivia

March 07, 2016, 0:38 updated at: March 07, 2016, 4:40 UTC+3 LA PAZ

Russia and Bolivia signed intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy

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© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS, archive

LA PAZ, March 6. /TASS/. Russia’s state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom is looking at inviting Argentinian partners to the project of the construction of a nuclear research and technologies center in Bolivia, Rosatom’s Director General Sergei Kiriyenko said on Sunday.

"Participation of Argentinian partners in this project is possible," he said. "We will take a decision jointly with the Bolivian government when the project is over."

"We are working with Argentina. You know, 18 months ago we signed a corresponding agreement. We have never stopped this work. Some members of our delegation will fly from here to Buenos Aires to continue negotiations," he said.

 A national nuclear energy agency

Bolivia made a decision to create a national nuclear energy agency, Kirienko said.

"As you heard, he [the President of Bolivia - TASS] said today the government is making the decision to establish a national agency. This is because the difficulty is that Bolivia has not a management authority that should become our partner in creating the center [nuclear research and technology center - TASS]," Kirienko said. "All the agreements were signed by the energy minister so far but the President of Bolivia made a decision to create a special agency in Bolivia," he added.

The term for consideration of documents in the parliament may be one - two months, Kirienko said.

"However, the president requested expeditious period of review and promised that it will not take more than a fortnight," Rosatom CEO said.

To sign contracts by end of June

Rosatom expects to sign contracts on nuclear research center construction in Bolivia by end of June, Kirienko said.

"The most pressing for us is to sign a survey contract because the site survey should start as quickly as possible," Kirienko said. "We agreed such contracted survey will be signed by the end of March. While the whole package of contracts should be signed by the end of June according to our agreed schedule, the first contract for survey must be signed in March," he added.

It is highly important that this is a contract independently paid by Bolivia, Rosatom CEO said.

"There are no preferential loans. They fully pay this order at their expenses. This is $300 mln worth contract," Kirienko said. Lots of countries start developing their nuclear programs from research centers now, he added.

"It is an important thing for us. This is an individual market. The market of research reactors will continue growing," Rosatom CEO said. It is of fundamental importance for us because this is the first research reactor we will create in Latin America," Kirienko added.

Agreements betwween Russia and Bolivia

Earlier on Sunday, Russia and Bolivia signed intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the area of peaceful use of nuclear energy and on cooperation in the construction of a nuclear research and technology center.

The center will be equipped with a test multipurpose gamma-ray unit on the basis of a research light water-cooled and moderated reactor with a capacity of up to 200 kilowatt, a cyclotron, an engineering unit and a loboratory unit. The reactor for the would-be center will be developed at Russia’s Dollezhal NIKIET research and design institute of energy equipment.

According to earlier reports, Bolivia plans to allocate $300 million to this project. Bolivia’s first nuclear research institute will be built in the city of El Alto at an altitude of 4,100 meters above sea level.

The project will help Bolivia to develop nuclear technologies to be used in the research sector, in medicine, geology and agriculture.

The agreements followed documents signed by Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the third summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Teheran on November 23, 2015.


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