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Monday, December 3, 2012

Argentina's Atucha Unit 2 to be on line mid-2013

Below is the Google translation, with some alterations by your occasionally Spanish-speaking author, of a release new today from Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. concering the long-delayed completion of its Atucha-2 pressurized heavy water reactor.  The adjacent Unit 1 has been in operation for some time; Unit 2's completion has been complicated by the German withdrawal from nuclear energy (both plants were designed by Siemens.)


The tasks for the commissioning of Atucha II advance

By Jose Luis Antunez Pte electrical Nucleo Atucha II Project DirectorThe original contract was signed for Atucha II in May 1980 and contemplated that the plant was to be in operation in 1987. Between 1994 and 2006 the project was paralyzed until the relaunch of the Argentine Nuclear Plan promoted by the national government, through the Ministry of Federal Planning and Public Investment Services, which recognized the strategic value of this type of energy production for the country's growth.The construction of the plant, which initially had been in charge of Siemens, was solved with the resources end of science and technology in Argentina. The withdrawal of the German nuclear industry, the technical complexity of reviving this major project, and regulatory developments at national and international levels to optimize the reliability and efficiency of the plant, created a new scenario.Thanks to the high technical capabilities developed by national professional and is known to respond successfully to the challenges of this context.In this sense, being made in accordance with the provisions of all the work necessary for the commissioning of the plant.Among recent milestones, you can highlight the burden of demineralized (light) water for pressure testing of the systems of the primary coolant system of the reactor and moderator that began in October. This work is to pressurize the pipes and through the main circulating pumps 500,000 liters of water to test for leaks. This is the most important line of pipes of the plant and which is responsible for transporting heat generated in the reactor to the turbine.Moreover, in December we intend to load fuel into the reactor. The task involves loading into the reactor's fuel elements 451 constituting the first core of the PBX. These fuel elements have been produced entirely within the country and contain 85 tons of uranium.Between February and April 2013 the plant will be tested at normal operating temperature and pressure. Finally, the light water will be removed, the system shall be dried, and loaded with 600 tons of heavy water produced at the plant Arroyito, Neuquén Province.These tests may commence in June 2013 to the first criticality of the plant, and then synchronize with the network. Thus, in the middle of next year, Atucha II is providing power to the national grid.


Click here to see the official Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. photo gallery for Atucha II.

9:20 AM Eastern 12/3/2012

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