MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation is continuing the construction of the Center for Nuclear Research and Technologies in Bolivia, despite the difficult political situation in that country. Next year the company plans to commission the first and second stages of the facility, Head of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev said on Friday.
"Despite two revolutions, work continues in Bolivia. Next year we will start commissioning facilities of the first and second stages of the Center for Nuclear Research and Technologies," he said.
In mid-February, spokesperson for the state corporation told TASS that Rosatom continues its project to build the Center for Nuclear Research and Technologies in Bolivia. "Rosatom goes ahead with implementing the project to build the Center for Nuclear Research and Technologies in Bolivia. We have received no official notifications about the project’s suspension from our Bolivian partners," the Russian state corporation said.
In turn, a nuclear industry source told TASS that the Bolivian governmental body in charge of the project - the Energy Ministry - had made no statements about the possibility of halting the construction. "At the same time, about a week ago, the head of Bolivia’s regulator AETN visited the construction site and spoke positively about the work," the source added.
Bolivia’s nuclear energy agency (ABEN) earlier posted a statement on the official website, noting that it ends work on this project. The document cites ABEN Executive Director Juan Alfredo Jordan Romero as saying that the previous government violated the country’s constitution, because the decision to invest $351 mln in the nuclear center was made without the parliament’s approval.
"Jordan said that it was ordered to suspend the construction of the Center for Nuclear Research and Technologies until the Plurinational Legislative Assembly (parliament) and the Prosecutor General’s Office have their say," the statement reads.
Nuclear project in Bolivia
On March 6, 2016, Russia and Bolivia concluded an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and construction of a nuclear research center in El Alto, at an altitude of 4,100 meters above sea level. The Bolivian government-funded $300-million project will be implemented jointly with Russia’s nuclear power corporation Rosatom.
According to earlier reports, Rosatom was expected to launch two radiation technologies for the needs of healthcare and agricultural sectors. The center was expected to reach full capacity in 2022.
The project to build the center is unique for the global nuclear sector. It will include a nuclear research facility based on a water-cooled reactor with a capacity of 200 kW, a multipurpose radiation center featuring industrial gamma-ray equipment and various research laboratories. The center will ensure extensive use of radiation technologies in agriculture, medicine, industry, environment and other vital areas.