Brazil and China enhance nuclear cooperation

04 September 2017

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further promote cooperation in nuclear energy has been signed between China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Brazilian power company Eletrobras and its nuclear subsidiary Eletronuclear. The agreement covers the completion of Angra unit 3 and possible follow-up projects.

CNNC-Eletrobras - September 2017 - 460 (CNNC)
The signing of the MOU (Image: CNNC)

The MOU was signed on 1 September by CNNC board chairman Wang Shoujun, Eletrobras superintendent of foreign operations, Pedro Luiz de Oliveira Jatobá, and Eletronuclear CEO Bruno Campos Barretto. It was signed in Beijing during a meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Michel Temer.

Eletrobras said the MOU creates "the opportunity for a deepening of bilateral cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, highlighting the common interests in establishing a future partnership for completion of Angra 3".

CNNC said it will work with Eletrobras and Eletronuclear to promote the construction of Angra 3 and future nuclear power plant projects.

Eletronuclear noted this is the third MOU it has signed with CNNC. In 2015, it signed one with CNNC and Eletrobras aimed at nuclear cooperation. In December 2016, Eletronuclear signed a bilateral MOU with CNNC to guide cooperation in the resumption of construction of Angra 3.

Construction of Angra 3 originally started in 1984 on a PWR designed by German company KWU, but this faltered two years later. At that stage some 70% of the plant's equipment was said to have already been purchased and delivered to the site. A return to construction was approved in 2007, and an industrial agreement for the unit's completion was signed with Areva in December 2008.

Two Brazilian consortia were awarded contracts, one for electro-mechanical assembly associated with the reactor’s primary system, the other for secondary-side work. However, following a corruption probe in mid-2015, Eletrobras suspended both contracts.

In March 2017, the government announced it planned to sell Angra 3 by 2018. The National Energy Policy Council in June this year reviewed ways to restart construction, but the government expects that it will take about five years and $2.9 billion to complete the unit.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News