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LatinNews Daily - 27 July 2021

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In brief: Bolivia looks to new technologies with first nuclear research reactor

* Construction has started on Bolivia’s first nuclear research reactor in the city of El Alto (La Paz department), which, located at over 4000m above sea level, is expected to be the most high-altitude of its kind in the world. As a research reactor, it will not produce power, but rather be used for innovation purposes with the aim of diversifying the economy through the creation of new industries. It will have three core components – a cyclotron for the production of radiopharmaceuticals (which President Luis Arce said would be used for the production of cancer treatments), a multipurpose irradiation plant (for agricultural purposes, such as the reduction of crop diseases and boosting productivity), and the nuclear research reactor, which Arce said would be used to carry out research for application in mining and other sectors. Arce said that the facility would provide Bolivia with “the latest generation technology” that would “generate benefits in different sectors and regions of the country.” The facility is being constructed by Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy firm Rosatom, and has received over US$300m in investment, according to Bolivia’s hydrocarbons and energy minister, Franklin Molina.