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News > El Salvador

El Salvador on Track for Peaceful Nuclear Energy

  • Latin America is one of the regions of the planet that has used this type of energy the least. Apr. 19, 2024.

    Latin America is one of the regions of the planet that has used this type of energy the least. Apr. 19, 2024. | Photo: X/@TVPWorld_com

Published 18 April 2024 (15 hours 12 minutes ago)
Opinion

The new project already has the approval of the IAEA and apparently the government has the financing to start the construction of the first nuclear power plant in a Central American country. 

According to reports in national and international media, El Salvador recently delivered to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the legal instruments that would allow the country to have a vote in the agency and obtain support for nuclear energy projects. 

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In their official accounts of the social network X the ministers the general director of Energy, Hydrocarbons and Mines, Daniel Álvarez and the vice-chancellor Adriana Mira have ratified the information. They stated that the objective is to decarbonize the country's energy matrix and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If this project becomes a reality, the Central American country would be one of the few in the region to have nuclear reactors to generate electricity. 

The initiative is part of the government plan of current President Nayib Bukele (whose father was an influential leader of the Muslim community in El Salvador) that seeks to move the country away from the use of hydrocarbons and move to having 100% of energy production from renewable sources. Since March 2023, the country had already been in contact with Thorium Energy Alliance, a non-governmental organization based in the United States that promotes the use of thorium. This chemical element can be used as nuclear fuel to generate electricity in nuclear reactors.

Out of that agreement came the signing of a memorandum of understanding as part of the "El Salvador Energy Bridge Plan." This way, Thorium Energy Alliance and the General Directorate of Energy, Hydrocarbons and Mines (DGEHM) would develop a global and strategic plan to implement, in an advanced and safe way, the generation of electric energy by means of thorium engine reactors and thermal energy storage systems.

Thorium, a Less Expensive Resource

The world's assured reserves are centered mainly in Brazil, Turkey and India, totaling more than one million tons, while the United States and Norway add a quarter of a million tons. According to experts, thorium is significantly more abundant in the earth's crust than uranium, the main fuel used in nuclear power generation in the world. This makes it much more suitable for long-term energy sustainability. 

El Salvador currently generates 64.4% of its energy with renewable sources, mainly hydroelectric plants, photovoltaic parks, a wind farm, as well as biomass, geothermal and liquefied natural gas. 

The new project already has the approval of the IAEA and apparently the government has the financing to start the construction of the first nuclear power plant in a Central American country. 

Latin America is one of the regions of the planet that has used this type of energy the least.  There are currently seven nuclear reactors in operation and only Argentina has two in its territory. 

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