Bolivia and Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom on 6 March signed a provisional agreement for the construction of $300m nuclear complex in El Alto, a satellite city on the outskirts of Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. Under the agreement, which needs to be approved by Bolivia’s Congress, Rosatom will help Bolivia to develop infrastructure for its nuclear programme. The centre will include a research reactor, a cyclotron for radiopharmaceuticals and a multi-purpose gamma irradiation plant. Bolivian president Evo Morales urged the Congress to approve the deal within two weeks. The centre will enable Bolivia to begin work on the development of nuclear technology for its use in science, medicine, geology, agriculture and other areas, as well as establish Bolivia’s production of radioisotopes for widespread use in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Rosatom said.

In October 2015, Rosatom and Bolivia’s Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy signed a memorandum of understanding on peaceful nuclear cooperation which provided for construction of the Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Tecnología Nuclear, CIDETEN (Research Nuclear Technology Centre). Morales has said he wants the centre to be the largest of its kind in South America. Construction should be completed in four years once the deal with the contractor is signed. The facility will be equipped with a cyclotron for use in medical research and treatment, a nuclear research reactor and a gamma irradiation plant.