November 25, 2008

Nuclear Latin America

When I want to know what is going in South America, Central America or the Caribbean, I rely on Fausta. Below is an important update on Latin America.
by Fausta: There are four countries in Latin America with nuclear power plants: Cuba, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, but here’s what’s in the news regarding recent nuclear agreements in Latin America. Wednesday last week, the Guardian reported, . . .
Russia’s deepening strategic partnership with Venezuela took a dramatic step forward yesterday when it emerged that Moscow has agreed to build Venezuela’s first ever nuclear reactor.

President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, during a visit to Latin America next week, part of a determined Russian push into the region.

The reactor is to be named after Humberto Fernandez Moran, a late Venezuelan research scientist and former science minister, Chávez has announced. It is one of many accords he hopes to sign while hosting Medvedev in Caracas next week.

The prospect of a nuclear deal between Moscow and Caracas, following a surge in Russian economic, military, political and intelligence activity in Latin America, is likely to alarm the US and present an early challenge to the Obama administration.

“Hugo Chávez joins the nuclear club,” Russian’s Vedomosti newspaper trumpeted yesterday.
This should not come as a surprise to Latin America watchers, since Chavez has been hinting for quite a while, and France and Venezuela have been working on a nuclear energy deal, too.

Cuba’s nuclear plants may present a threat to the US, but for a different reason: Cuba’s crumbling infrastructure: As this 1992 Heritage Foundation report explains, the two Soviet-designed VVER-440 nuclear reactors in Juragua, near Cienfuegos, just 250 miles from Miami, are mired in faulty design, shipshod construction, and the support structure of the plants contains numerous faulty seals and structural defects.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed a nuclear energy agreement with Algeria last week, and one with Libya on Friday
A Libyan official says Argentina’s visiting president has offered her country’s help in developing nuclear energy in the North African nation.

Libyan Cabinet official Mohammed al-Mesmari says the Argentine leader also signed areements in trade, agriculture and science during her meeting with Moammar Gadhafi.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez’s six-day tour of North Africa also included stops in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. The trip was meant in part to help ensure developing countries aren’t forgotten in efforts to solve the financial crisis.

Argentina has also helped build atomic reactors in Algeria and Egypt.
Argentina has three power stations: two in Atucha and one in Embalse, and back in 2006 pledged more funds to catch up with Brazil’s nuclear program. Brazil and Argentina have had, at times, their own nuclear weapons race. According to this Global Security.org report, . . . [Nuclear Latin America]

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