APU: What is the RA-3 reactor?
Nile Clerks: It is a reactor built in 1967, which initially had a power of 0.5 megawatts. In 2003, the power supply was re-powered, and converted to 10 megawatts to increase production. It is a multi-purpose reactor, in which radioisotopes are produced and research and development is carried out in various fields of production. We are progressing in the production of other radioisotopes that are not only for diagnosis, but also for treatment. If we achieve this, we will not only detect cancer, but advance treatment.
APU: What is the status of this project?
Nile Clerks: It is necessary to move forward with this project because the RA-10, which is a much larger reactor that will allow us to go from producing 200 curies per day to 2000. To give you an idea, the global consumption of molybdenum is about 9500 and we will continue to produce 2000. In addition, It has the capacity to produce doped silicon, which is used in chips, and it has an associated project which is neutron beams, which is of relevant international importance.
APU: What place does Argentina occupy, worldwide, within the sector?
Nile Clerks: It depends if we think about it from the point of view of energy or production. In fact, they are the forces of the majority. We are talking about the United States, France, Japan, Canada, Australia and all first world countries. Both Argentina and Brazil are very well located in a strategic position at the regional levelOur country is very advanced in nuclear matters for our region. Generations, since 1950, have been working towards preserving, preserving and improving this.
APU: How is the sector formed?
Nile Clerks: The truth is that the nuclear sector was one historically. CONEA, which organizes and implements. Today it is an ecosystem of entities. I miss adding the Federal Nuclear Medicine Plan, where other actors emerge and access to public health begins, in that sense. It happens that everything is interconnected, and technological development is being carried out at CONEA, but it needs the rest of the actors. For example, to operate a reactor, fuels manufactured at CONUAR are needed, to be able to power a semi-industrial radiation plant, cobalt produced by Dioxitek is needed, and regulatory matters are handled by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. Obviously there are difficulties, but we have shown in the long term that despite the differences that may exist within this ecosystem, the country continues to progress.
APU: What policies should the state implement in this sector?
Nile Clerks: It should be part of a policy State to restore the strategic line of what will be uranium mining. Argentina dreams of a closed cycle, and this implies obtaining uranium to recover it using fuel elements. What does matters have to do with the health and technological development of reactors, that investment continues over time. There are windows of opportunity. With RA-10 we are at a moment where if we meet this challenge we have a unique opportunity because there are other reactors in the world that will be decommissioned and molybdenum will be in global demand.. This requires public policies of the state. In the world there is no possibility of operating reactors without state investment. Sometimes it seems that technological development can be done from start to finish with private capital and this is not true, when it comes to implementing strategic projects.