Will Techint abandon the CAREM in Argentina?

Will Techint abandon the CAREM in Argentina?

At the end of last January, the Techint company informed the workers from the CAREM project that they would abandon the civil engineering work of the experimental reactor. The primary reason is the unwillingness of the Government to reconsider the budget for civil work, after the devaluation of the currency. 

The CAREM is a modular nuclear power reactor from the Argentine design that is considered to have excellent export potential.  

Following the suspension of contracts with China for the construction of the fourth and fifth nuclear power plants, CAREM remained the largest project in Argentina in this sector. The project involves the construction of a prototype of 25 megawatts (MW) to test the technology, but the model is scalable up to 400 MW of power generation. 

This type of power plant is ideal for bringing energy to isolated places and is a niche market in which the significant competitors have not yet ventured in a sustained way.

Since 2014, Nucloeléctrica Argentina SA (NA-SA) monitored the civil work of the CAREM. In mid-2017, the Government decided that this work should go to the Techint company with a budget of 1148 million pesos (25.33 Million USD). 

The tender specified that the construction company would absorb the economic risks of the work for a reactor that should be operational in 2022.  

The UOCRA, a major union reacted to the announcement of the layoff of the workforce and pressed the Government to open a renegotiation case. UOCRA had several meetings with Julián Gadano – Under Secretary of Nuclear Energy – and Rubén Semmoloni, President of NA-SA. 

The project includes companies such as: 

  • INVAP (design of the reactor), 
  • IMPSA (vessel and steam generator),  
  • TECNA (Balance of Plant), Siemens (Turbine),  
  • CONUAR, a partnership between the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) and the Pérez Companc group (Reactor and Fuel).

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.