January 23, 2018 / 2:15 PM / in a year

Argentina, Russia ink uranium exploration, production deal

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Argentina and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to boost uranium exploration and production in the South American country that could include $250 million in investment, Argentina’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The agreement was sealed during a visit by Argentine President Mauricio Macri to Moscow. It was signed by Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, chief executive of Russia’s Uranium One Group, and chief of London-based UrAmerica Ltd IPO-URAL.L, which explores for uranium in Argentina and Paraguay.

Argentina is seeking to boost domestic nuclear power production, which depends on uranium, in order to reduce its energy deficit. In a joint statement with Macri, Russian President Vladimir Putin said state nuclear agency Rosatom has proposed building a nuclear power station in Argentina.

Latin America’s No. 3 economy already generates 5 percent of its electricity with three heavy-water nuclear reactors. The country plans to start building two new nuclear reactors in the second half of this year at a cost of $13 billion, most of it financed by Chinese organizations.

Argentina’s foreign ministry said in a statement the goal of the deal was to achieve “national self-sufficiency in uranium.”

Uranium One, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom, is the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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