Bolivia’s President Evo Morales said Oct. 28 that his country has achieved the conditions to obtain nuclear power for “pacific ends,” and that Argentina and France would help “with their knowledge.” He made his comments at the opening of a “Hydrocarbon Sovereignty” conference in Tarija. In May, Bolivia and Argentina signed an accord on nuclear cooperation. In an obvious reference to the United States, Morales anticipated political obstacles, saying that “some countries have [nuclear energy] but don’t want to let others.”
Morales also took aim at “ecologist fundamentalism” that stands in the way of development projects. “[S]ome NGOs oppose everything, they will not let us work, they will not let us explore, they will not let us industrialize, not even to develop hydroelectric plants.” He emphasized that industrailization of the hydrocarbon sector would advance, with development of petrochemical capacity foreseen. (Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, Oct. 28)
Carlos Villegas, president of state hydrocarbon company YPFB dismissed recent reports that the country could be facing an oil and gas deficit by 2017, unable to meet both internal demand and foreign contracts. He said current known reserves assured expansion until at least 2023, and new reserves would be brought on line. (Los Tiempos, Oct. 29)
The Morales government recently announced the development of uranium reserves in Potosí department, ironically echoing President Obama in promoting “clean nuclear power.” Morales also recently entered into a deal with China to develop a Bolivian space program, which is certain to raise concerns about missiles if nuclear development actually proceeds.