The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) has been making its expertise available to Argentine safety authorities for more than fifteen years. During the princely mission on 26 June 2018, SCK•CEN signed a Memorandum of Understanding with operator NA-SA to seal the extended cooperation between the two partners.
This bilateral cooperation agreement was signed by Derrick Gosselin, Chairman of the Board of Governors of SCK•CEN, Hamid Aït Abderrahim, Deputy Director-General of SCK•CEN and Rubén Omar Semmoloni, Director-General of NA-SA. The signature took place in the presence of Princess Astrid and a Belgian parliamentary delegation, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem. SCK•CEN will continue to use its knowledge of material aging to guarantee the safe operation and monitoring of the nuclear sites in Argentina. Rubén Semmoloni, CEO of Nucleoelectrica de Argentina, about the importance of this cooperation: “The work carried out by the SCK•CEN in our facilities has been very fruitful since it has allowed us to carry out the Atucha I Life Extension Program and to have an updated Reactor Vessel Surveillance Program in Atucha II that will allow us to ensure the safe long-term operation of our Plants.”
In 2002, SCK•CEN and the Argentine operator NA-SA laid the foundation for a long-term cooperation. “At the time, at the request of the Argentine nuclear safety authorities and NA-SA, we carried out studies for the reactor Atucha I. We irradiated a series of samples in our research reactor BR2 in order to check the vessel steel and accurately predict if a safe operation of more than 40 years could be guaranteed. In the following years, we performed several other safety and feasibility studies for the reactor Atucha II. These partially led to the start-up of the reactor on 3 June 2014”, explains Hamid Aït Abderrahim, Deputy Director-General of SCK•CEN. "We are delighted by this extended cooperation agreement between our two countries and we think that the Belgian and Argentine expertise gives some room to manoeuver for intriguing projects in the medical field and in terms of long-term operation of Argentine nuclear power plants.”