Russia, Argentina sign deal to strengthen N-energy ties


Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a nuclear energy cooperation deal with Argentina on Saturday on a trip to bolster trade ties and strengthen Russia’s influence in Latin America. 

Putin’s energy minister, Alexander Novak, told reporters in the Argentine capital that the Russian state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, had made an offer to tender for the construction of two new nuclear power units in Argentina. 

Novak said Rosatom could offer “comfortable” financial terms to Latin America’s No. 3 economy, which has struggled to advance its nuclear energy programme and lure foreign investors deterred by a raft of punishing capital and import controls. 

“Rosatom is actively working here ... and has already handed over its technical and commercial offer to our (Argentine) colleagues,” Novak told reporters after talks between Putin and his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez. 

“There will be a tender this fall. Rosatom ... is also ready to provide comfortable financial conditions (to Argentina).” 

The pair looked on as their delegations signed a series of bilateral deals, including one on nuclear energy that comes as Argentina ramps up work on its fourth nuclear plant, the $3-billion Atucha III reactor. Details of the deal were not released. 

Fernandez said a Russian delegation would visit the so-called Vaca Muerta shale fields in the south of the country, adding that she hoped relations between the two countries would deepen further. The Vaca Muerta field is thought to be one of the biggest shale reserves in the Western Hemisphere and could double Argentina’s energy output within a decade. But it is in the early stage of development. 

The Argentine leader insisted that global institutions must be overhauled and made more multilateral, a call that Putin warmly endorsed. “We firmly believe in multipolarity, in multilateralism, in a world where countries don’t have a double standard,” Kirchner said after the pair toured the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. “We need to globally regulate the flow of capital that has turned the world into a financial casino where many countries are drowning in huge debts.” 

She called for the next meeting of G20 major economies to have a broader agenda that also targets global economic and financial regulation.