South America is exploring options for nuclear power cooperation and capacity to increase energy supply presently and in the future, though it is unlikely to be a major part of the regions energy portfolio.
“While many South American countries are acquiring nuclear power capacities, the Chilean case is of particular importance. This country has limited energy resources and consequently is vulnerable to external price increases and supply disruptions from Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Therefore, Chile signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Argentina in 2009 and recently with France in 2011. Chile is currently negotiating a cooperation program with the United States in order to develop operational capacities and infrastructure.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicates that, even though the region continues to develop nuclear power, supply from this source will only account for 5.6 percent of total energy supply in 2030, compared to global average of 14 percent per region (IAEA 2008). Despite this fact, countries are analyzing this energy option as a means to increase energy supply (Chile), and to have contingency or exporting plans (Brazil and Argentina). “
Despite the limited capacity of nuclear for the region in the coming decades, nuclear could be a viable solution; the effect of Japan’s recent disaster remains to be seen.
"Several energy options, including nuclear power, are being evaluated in the region with two objectives in mind: satisfying growing energy demand and ensuring supply in the coming decades...Increasing nuclear power may be a viable solution for energy supply problems and also a great opportunity for regional cooperation and trade, but considerable environmental and security risks should not be underestimated. However, the catastrophe in Japan may change most of these perspectives. Agenda: Suramérica will watch this sector closely in following editions."
FORO March 2011 pages 8: