Nuclear Power Back on Table in Brazil

Angra III Nuclear Reactor under construction, photo by MinPlanPAC/FCCL.

Brazil’s third nuclear reactor, Angra III, is under construction in Rio state and should come online by mid-2016, photo by MinPlanPAC/FCCL.

The Brazilian government has restarted discussions about the installation of new nuclear reactors in the country to help relieve the nation’s strained energy supplies.

Brazil is also examining the idea of allowing private companies to help finance the new plans, as has happened with other public infrastructure contracts.

The 2007 National Energy Plan had suggested the building of four new nuclear plants, but these plans were shelved following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plants in 2011.

The government now appears to be convinced that the currently energy mix, heavily reliant on hydroelectric plants, will not satisfy growing national power demand.

“There is an understanding that a private initiative could take part in some stages of the Brazilian Nuclear Program. Nuclear energy is an alternative that has to be considered,” a source at the Energy Ministry told O Globo newspaper.

Private-investor work in the nuclear sector would, however, require a change in the constitution as nuclear fuel exploration, production and exportation are all controlled by state-owned Eletronuclear, a subsidiary of Eletrobrás.

Brazil currently has two working nuclear reactors, Angra I and II, in the country’s only nuclear power plant in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro state, which together account for just 3% of Brazil’s energy mix. Construction of a third reactor, Angra III, which should more than double the site’s output, should be completed by mid-2016, and it also been reported that four more reactors could come online in the 2020s.

Over 80% of Brazil’s power comes from hydroelectric power stations, 8.5% from gas, coal and oil, 4% from biomass sources, and just 3% from nuclear.

Read the full article on The Rio Times website.

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