A Russian nuclear energy firm has announced that it is in talks to help construct a nuclear plant in Argentina. Rosatom expressed interest in the project, and its chief says the company only awaits the decision of the Argentine government to begin work.
According to Argentine news agency Infobae, Rosatom has been pre-selected to work with the Argentine government to develop nuclear energy. The pre-selection places it on a short list with other nuclear energy companies among which the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will choose.
Kiril Komarov, vicedirector of international market development for Rosatom, appeared optimistic about his company’s chances at landing the project. Komarov said that the company is eager to work in Latin America and that Rosatom already provides medical isotopes to Argentina and has experience with enriched uranium. “We await that Argentina and Brazil make definitive decisions on a governmental level,” he explained. Rosatom hopes that Argentina will reach an agreement by the end of the year.
The Argentine government has maintained friendly relations with Russia for years. In an interview this month with Infobae, Russian Ambassador to Argentina Victor Koronelli expressed gratitude to Argentina for its favorable stance in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and expressed the government’s wishes to further invest there. “Argentina is one of our most important partners, with which we have interactions on a strategic level in various spheres,” he noted, adding that trade had increased “in a very significant manner” in recent years.
He also echoed the sentiments of Rosatom administrators that Russia was extremely interested in developing nuclear energy in Argentina. While Russia has previously expressed interest in investing in Argentina in this sector, the plans have never fully materialized. This plan, according to reports, needs only the approval of the federal Argentine government to move forward.
The Putin administration has taken significant strides to strengthen ties to Latin America. While it has denied that it is interested in building a military base in Argentina, it has increased trade, particularly in the energy sector, with Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, in addition to Argentina. Russia has long had close ties to Cuba since the days of the Soviet Union, and Hugo Chávez developed close ties to Russia during his tenure that have persisted under the administration of President Nicolás Maduro. With Argentina, the Russian government has even officially supported its territorial claim over the Falkland Islands, a British territory boasting a 3,000-person population of English speakers over which Argentina lost a war against the UK in 1983.