Nonproliferation
Resource
Fact Sheet

Spent Nuclear Fuel in Argentina

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Argentina

  • June 1, 2020
  • 4:06 pm

Highlights

4,603.18 MTU spent nuclear fuel in storage (2016)
8761.13 MTU* spent fuel projected by 2050
1974 First year of commercial nuclear operation
3 operating nuclear power reactors
5 operating research and test reactors
1 research reactor under construction
1.76 GW(e) installed nuclear capacity (2017)
4.68% nuclear share of domestic energy production (2018)

Regulator and SNF owner: Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN)
Power operator: Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A.

*Estimated by our calculation method

Active Nuclear Power stations in Argentina (as of 2019)

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Practices

  • At Embalse NPP, SNF is stored wet onsite for at least 6 years before transfer to dry onsite silo storage
  • At Atucha NPP, SNF is stored wet onsite, and then in a new dry storage facility
  • Research reactor fuel is stored wet at the Research Reactors Irradiated Fuel Storage Facility, replacing the Central Deposit for Special Irradiated Fissionable Material
  • Fuel from the RA-3 reactor has been stored at the new facility since 2014; as of 2016 the Central Deposit still held 149 fuel assemblies
  • All spent highly enriched uranium fuel from research reactors was returned to the U.S. Department of Energy by 2007 under the RERTR program

Obligations

  • Argentina is a party to a unique quadripartite safeguards agreement with Brazil, the IAEA, and the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control (ABACC) since 1994 (INFCIRC/435)
  • Argentina signed the Joint Convention in 1997 and ratified it in 2000
  • Law no. 25018 (1998) lays out the plan for radioactive material management and requires a decision on whether to reprocess or dispose of spent fuel by 2030; spent fuel is currently considered reusable material rather than waste
  • After 2030 research must be initiated into a deep geological repository to begin operation in 2060; site investigations for an underground research laboratory have not yet begun
  • Power plant operator is primarily responsible for the management and interim storage of spent fuel till the end of the operative life of the plants.
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