San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Bolivia

Bolivia announces plans for nuclear research complex

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivia announced plans Thursday to build a $300 million nuclear complex, including a research reactor, with Russian technology and help from Argentina.

President Evo Morales told reporters the center will include a cyclotron for radiopharmaeuticals, a multi-purpose gamma irradiation plant and a research reactor.

The project has drawn criticism from opposition politicians and raised public fears over the environmental impacts of the project.

But Morales insisted, “It poses no risk to humans or to Mother Earth.”

“It doesn’t contaminate the ground, nor water, nor air.”

The government initially planned to establish the research complex on the outskirts of La Paz, but protests by residents of the area last month scrapped that plan.

The government now plans to build the complex on a 20 hectare (50 acre) site in Los Altos, an industrial city adjoining La Paz.

Bolivia signed an accord earlier this month with the Russian state company Rosatom to support the project.

Bolivia has previously signed nuclear agreements with France and Argentina, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has said it will help the Bolivians establish world-class security standards.

In October 2010, Morales announced agreements with Iran to use its technology to build a nuclear power plant in Bolivia, but nothing has been said publicly about it since.

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