Saudi Arabia, Argentina form R&D joint venture on nuclear technology
The foundation of the joint venture company was announced by Argentina's federal planning ministry
State-owned R&D companies from Argentina and Saudi Arabia have set up a joint venture company, Invania, to develop nuclear technology for Saudi Arabia's nuclear power program.
The foundation of the joint venture company was announced by Argentina's federal planning ministry and Invap during a visit by the Saudi Arabian consultative assembly, the Shoura Council to Buenos Aires.
Invania has been established under a nuclear cooperation agreement signed by the two countries in 2011. According to Invap, the joint venture aims to leverage Argentina's nuclear experience and capabilities to help Saudi Arabia implement its own nuclear power program.
Argentina has a long history of nuclear technology R&D. Its atomic energy commission, the Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (CNEA), was set up in 1950. Today, the country generates about one-tenth of its electricity from its three pressurized heavy water reactors with plans for more. A prototype 27 MWe Argentinian-designed modular reactor, CAREM, is under construction. The country has its own uranium mining and milling, enrichment and fuel fabrication and heavy water production capabilities. It also produces medical radioisotopes including molybdenum-99 and cobalt-60.
Saudi Arabia is looking to nuclear power to help it meet growing demand for both electricity and desalination, with plans for the construction of as many as 16 reactors over the next 20 years. Smaller reactors, such as CAREM, are envisaged for use in desalination. The country has signed nuclear cooperation agreements with France, South Korea and China as well as Argentina.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 10, 2015.
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