The RA-10 multipurpose research reactor under construction in Argentina is 80 per cent complete

The construction of the RA-10 multipurpose research reactor in Argentina is currently about 80 per cent complete. This was announced by Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino during a visit to the construction site.

During a tour of the construction of the RA-10 reactor as well as the nearby CONUAR nuclear fuel fabrication plant, the minister said:

“The Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to support the export efforts of the nuclear sector and develop the opportunities that are opening up for Argentina.”

RA-10 project manager Hermann Blaumann gave an update on the progress of the work:

“The construction work is now complete, and in terms of deliveries and installation, progress is 75 per cent. The reactor deflector tank will arrive this week, the installation of which is one of the key steps in construction.”

He also said that according to the construction schedule, the reactor pool is scheduled to be filled in December and then pre-operational testing will begin in July 2025 before it becomes operational in 2026.

The reflector tank has a mass of 2,540 kilograms, has a diameter of 2 metres and a height of 1.4 metres. Its installation will make it possible to assemble the internal parts of the reactor pool.

As specified by the Argentine National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), the 30 MW RA-10 research reactor with an open pool will be used for the production of medical radioisotopes, including covering 20 per cent of the world's demand for molybdenum-99, as well as for the production of lutetium-177. The reactor is also planned to produce iridium radioisotopes used for non-destructive testing in industry.

The RA-10 reactor project was approved by the government in June 2010. The Argentine Nuclear Regulatory Authority issued the relevant licence in November 2014. Construction work on the reactor began in 2016. The main contractor is INVAP, a company specialising in the construction of nuclear power facilities.

The RA-10 reactor will replace the existing RA-3 reactor at the same site, a 10MW pool-type reactor that began operation in 1967. In addition to the production of radioisotopes, the new reactor will also be used for educational purposes and for research in neutron physics and radiation materials science. In addition, according to the minister, the reactor will be used to produce neutron-doped silicon for microelectronics.