Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN) signed their first commercial contracts for the construction of the Nuclear Research and Technology Centre (NRTC) on 4 August. ASE Group, the engineering division of Rosatom and ABEN signed a contract for the preliminary site survey for the centre and JSC Rusatom Service, which integrates Rosatom’ service offerings, signed a contract for the national nuclear infrastructure assessment. Kirill Komarov, the first deputy CEO for corporate development and international business at Rosatom, said the contracts mark the launch of construction work on the Centre. The site survey requires direct access to the site in order to collect data needed for the design and construction of the facility, he added.
The NRTC will enable Bolivia to develop nuclear technologies to be applied in science, healthcare, geology, agriculture, among other areas. The centre will also train personnel. The construction site in El Alto is almost 4,115 metres above sea level, higher than any other nuclear research facility. The centre will have a 200kW pool-type research reactor, a cyclotron, and multi-purpose and experimental gamma installations. Rosatom America Latina and the Public University of El Alto in Bolivia have agreed to joint projects in education based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 2 August. On 8 July, Rosatom and Bolivia's Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy signed Memoranda on training and education in nuclear energy and related sectors, and on cooperation in public acceptance of the peaceful use of nuclear.