Nucleoeléctrica Argentina signs agreement for long-term operation of the Atucha I

7 July 2022

Nucleoeléctrica Argentina has signed the Licensing Framework Agreement for long-term operation of unit 1 at the Atucha NPP, a fundamental requirement for the life extension project that will enable the plant to operate for a further 20 years.  

The signing took place at the headquarters of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN) with the participation of the company's Board of Directors and the regulatory body. During the meeting, the president of Nucleoeléctrica, José Luis Antúnez, stated: “We are launching the life extension of Atucha I. It is an award for a power plant that has behaved wonderfully for 48 years. If anyone has any doubts about the useful life of nuclear power plants, the life extension of Atucha I is an example.”                                                                                                                                                                                                       The current operating licence for Atucha I issued by the ARN will end in 2024. Nucleoeléctrica said that, since 2006, has carried out the necessary studies that have led to the conclusion that it is feasible to extend the plant's useful life for a new cycle of safe operation. The shutdown for refurbishment will last two years between 2024 and 2026 and involves an investment of $463 million. It will create 2,000 jobs and generate opportunities for qualified national suppliers of components to undertake construction and manufacturing tasks.

Atucha I, which began construction in June 1968, was the first NPP in Argentina and Latin America. Currently, it has a gross power of 362MWe. The pressurised heavy water reactor uses heavy water as coolant and moderator, and 0.85% slightly enriched uranium (ULE) as fuel. All of its security systems have been updated and comply with local and international requirements.

Image: The Atucha nuclear power plant (photo courtesy of NA-SA)

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