China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), one of the nation’s two state-owned nuclear power project developers, has signed a contract to build a plant in Argentina based on the domestically developed third-generation Hualong One reactor design. This is China’s second deal to export its know-how after helping Pakistan to build two Hualong One reactors, construction on which started in 2015 and 2016. The agreement was signed with Argentina’s National Committee of Atomic Energy on Monday, and it comes as the two nations mark 50 years of diplomatic relations this year. It will be the South American nation’s fourth nuclear power plant. “Nuclear projects cooperation is a key component of the two nation’s comprehensive strategic cooperation,” Beijing-based CNNC said in a statement on its official WeChat account on Tuesday. The two nations had signed an agreement for cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy in 1985, it added. It did not provide any financing details for the project. A 1.2-gigawatt third-generation pressurised water reactor will be built in the town of Lima in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentine news outlet mercopress.com quoted state-owned Nuclear Power Plant Argentina director Jose Luis Antunez as saying. CNNC will be responsible for the design, components sourcing and construction of the Atucha III reactor. A 1.2GW reactor can meet the annual electricity needs of one million households in mainland China, and can prevent the emission of some 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by replacing the same capacity of coal-fired power generation. Success of nuclear reactor Hualong One suggests it can compete with wind and solar to drive China’s decarbonisation CNNC helped to build the K2 and K3 reactors in Karachi, Pakistan. K2, China’s first overseas Hualong One nuclear reactor, started commercial operations in May last year after passing a 100-hour inspection process, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration of China. K3 is expected to come on stream next month. Each reactor unit, which consists of more than 60,000 pieces of equipment, involved machinery exports valued at more than 12 billion yuan (US$1.9 billion). China is among many countries that see nuclear technology as a means to decarbonise its energy sector and meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060. It had about 50GW of installed nuclear capacity at the end of 2020, with another 18.5GW under construction. The nation’s first two Hualong One units – in Fuqing, Fujian province – were connected to the power grid in late 2020 and last month, respectively. The completion of two Hualong units being built by state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group in Fangchenggang, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first is expected to come on stream in the second half of this year, and the second in the first half of 2024, its listed unit CGN Power said late last month. Both units were previously expected to start commercial operation this year.