Tuesday, December 11, 2007

International Nuclear Energy Lobby Visits Chile

(Dec. 11, 2007) Víctor Filichkin, head of Russian energy company Intermash, visited Chile last week to promote a potential nuclear solution to Chile’s energy needs. Filichkin’s visit coincides with the arrival of the new U.S. ambassador to Chile – touted as a nuclear energy expert – and the recent visit by Mohamed El Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Chile’s media report this constellation of atomic energy experts in Chile amounts to a new international lobbying effort to fortify the nuclear energy option in energy-hungry Chile.

“Everything is ready,” said Filichkin. “We first began talks with Chile four years ago when the nuclear energy dialogue was negative, but now thing are completely different. The energy situation in Chile has gotten much more complicated... It all depends on the will of the government.”

Filichkin met with Chile’s National Energy Commission (CNE) and representatives from state-owed mining company CODELCO.

“CODELCO is very important to us because we know they will need 2,000 MW of additional energy resources to complete their projects in the next five years, and we wish to carry out a strategic business operation with them,” Filichkin said. “In 12 years Chile will need a minimum of 12,000 MW, but in less than six years we could produce 6,000 MW of nuclear energy. The other 6,000 MW can come from hydroelectric energy resources.”

Meanwhile, incoming U.S. ambassador to Chile, Paul Simons, used to represent the U.S. in the International Energy Agency (AIE) and worked as deputy assistant secretary of state for International Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities (ST, Aug. 6). Local media have repeatedly asserted that Simons is expected to promote nuclear energy options for Chile.

The third part of the nuclear energy lobbying constellation is Mohamed El Baradei, head
of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who was recently in Chile and honored by Chile’s Foreign Relations Minister Alejandro Foxley. El Baradei met and analyzed the “nuclear option” with top Chilean government officials.

Here is the full story.