CAREM (Spanish: Central Argentina de Elementos Modulares) is a small modular reactor for electrical power generation currently under construction near the city of Zárate, in the northern part of Buenos Aires province beside the Atucha I Nuclear Power Plant.
The reactor was integrally designed by CNEA (National Atomic Energy Commission), being the first power reactor designed by the country. It is basically a simplified pressurized water reactor (PWR) designed to have an electrical output of 25MW for the first prototype, 100MW in the following one. It is an integral reactor – the coolant system is inside the reactor vessel – so that the entire plant operates at the same pressure. This design minimizes the risk of loss-of-coolant accidents (LOCA). Its fuel is uranium oxide with a 235
U enrichment of 3.4% that needs to be replaced annually. The primary coolant system uses natural circulation, so there are no pumps required, which provides inherent safety against core meltdown, even in accident situations.
In 1984 it was presented publicly for the first time during an IAEA conference in Peru. For political reasons the project was halted but was relaunched by the 2006 Argentine nuclear reactivation plan.
The 25 MWe prototype version of CAREM currently being built will be followed by a second one of 100-200 MWe to be installed in Formosa Province. As of 2013, the first prototype was planned to receive its first fuel load in 2017. As of 2016, the completion of the project was scheduled for the end of 2018 .
- Report to Congress 2001, pp. 20–22
- El proyecto de reactor CAREM
- "Construction of CAREM underway". World Nuclear News. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- El Plan Nuclear Argentino coloca a Formosa en destacado lugar frente a la construcción del CAREM
- "Contract awarded for CAREM vessel". World Nuclear News. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Contract for prototype CAREM balance of plant". World Nuclear News. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
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