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    Mexico has tremendous potential for nuclear energy: Christopher Hanson


    November 17, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The United States believes that Mexico will require more energy for its population and industry due to the growth of the economy, and is therefore willing to support the Mexican government if it decides to build new nuclear power plants.

      In a context of bilateral talks on climate change and reduction of polluting gases, a civil nuclear cooperation agreement signed by both nations came into force.

      You may be interested in: 4T finances exploration of radioactive minerals to generate electricity.

      Policy

      Mexico has a "tremendous" potential to collaborate with the United States in nuclear matters and, with this, achieve its energy generation goals through clean sources to reduce its carbon footprint, considered the president of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the neighboring country to the north, Christopher T. Hanson.

      "I think there is tremendous potential for nuclear energy on both sides of the border, including in economic terms for companies, governments and international banks," said the official in an interview with El Sol de México.

      Hanson stressed that Mexico is growing and leading the region in economic terms, so it is going to need more energy for its population and industry, and this is where, he said, nuclear generation comes in as a cleaner, carbon-free option.

      Currently, less than five percent of the electrical energy consumed in the country is generated by nuclear fusion at the Laguna Verde plant, but the NRC president foresees that this participation could increase in the medium term.

      While touring the country and within the framework of the entry into force of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement between both countries, he highlighted national security in this matter and assured that the US government would be willing to provide support in the event that the Mexican authorities decide to build new plants in national territory.

      Society

      -What are you looking for with this bilateral agreement?

      -We have a strong interest in supporting our regulatory counterparts to ensure that any nuclear expansion in Mexico is carried out safely.

      In 2019, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) said it was analyzing building four more nuclear reactors in the country: two at the Laguna Verde plant and two on the Pacific coast. A year later, the Secretary of Energy, Rocío Nahle, revealed the federal government's intention to build a new plant in Baja California.

      Hanson said he did not know if there are investment projects to build new nuclear power plants, but stressed that the United States is willing to support a decision of this magnitude.

      -Would the U.S. be interested in investing in plants in Mexico?

      -I think ultimately it will be up to the Mexican government whether or not they want to build nuclear plants, my interest in this is really about safety and helping, if they decide to build new plants (...) if the Mexican regulator would like our support and for us to share some of our experience and training, we are available to do that.

      The official visited on Tuesday the Laguna Verde plant, in Veracruz, and highlighted the optimal condition of operations, as well as the vigilance of the National Nuclear Safety and Safeguards Commission (CNSNS).

      Earlier this month, the Agreement between the United States and Mexico for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy entered into force, which will strengthen the bilateral relationship in the areas of energy security and the environment, among others.

      The U.S. Embassy highlighted that this is the first agreement between both countries for peaceful nuclear cooperation and is based on almost 80 years of cooperation in the matter, in addition to establishing the conditions for the continuity of civil nuclear commerce.

      You can also read: Mexico obstructed U.S. investigations for Mexican Chernobyl

      Society

      -What are the advantages behind this nuclear agreement?

      -What this agreement does is provide a framework for cooperation in civil nuclear areas in the future, whether it is nuclear energy or the safe and peaceful use of radioactive materials for health and human development, whether in health, industrial or other applications, and facilitates the transfer of technology between the two countries.

      The agreement, he added, was signed in the context of discussions between Mexico and the United States on climate change and goals to reduce their emissions of polluting gases.

      Hanson pointed out that Mexico's nuclear potential goes beyond electricity generation, as it can be used for vehicle electrification, in the industrial sector or in medical devices and uses and the health sector, among others.

      He said that in the United States there are more private companies or government entities that demand nuclear energy and this could happen in Mexico. "My job is to make sure that this is done in a safe and secure manner," he said.

      Hanson met with CNSNS director Alejandro Núñez, with whom he signed an extension of a 40-year agreement on nuclear safety and security, and with authorities from the National Institute for Nuclear Research and academics from UNAM and the National Polytechnic Institute, as well as the undersecretary of Electricity of the Energy Secretariat, Sergio Saldaña. "We had a very good conversation about how we can expand cooperation on the regulatory front between the two countries, we shared a lot of the thinking about energy and Mexico's energy future," he said.

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