Approvals coming for Angra 3

06 March 2009

An environmental licence has been given for work towards completing Angra 3, a power reactor Brazil put on hold some 23 years ago.


Angra 3 impression (Eletronuclear) 
How Angra 3 (foreground) should look
when complete (Image: Eletronuclear)
The Brazilian Institute of Environmental and Renewable Resources (Ibama) granted a licence for Eletronuclear's project yesterday, which would be valid for six years. The company needs two more licences before work can really start: from the local municipality of Angra dos Reis and the National Commission for Nuclear Energy.


A proposal for the terms for the civil construction work has been submitted to union officials, with a decision expected within 60 days.


Eletronuclear said it expected the outstanding licences by the end of March, so that work may commence in earnest 'in the first half of 2009'. The 1220 MWe pressurized water reactor could go into commercial operation in November 2014.


The approval from Ibama comes despite apparent attempts by the department's head to make the project as difficult as possible for Eletronuclear. Sixty tough conditions were imposed on the company, including beautification of Angra and Paraty cities, maintenance of a portion of the national park as well as more relevant items such as assurances on waste disposal and radiation monitoring.


Two reactor units already operate at Angra, which is officially called the Almirante Álvaro Alberto nuclear power station after a pioneering Brazilian nuclear researcher. Angra 3 was planned as the twin to Angra 2 but construction work never began despite the delivery of about 70% of the plant components, which then had to be maintained over the years.


The addition of Angra 3 would take Brazil's nuclear generating capacity to 3120 MWe - about 6% of total supply. But Eletronuclear announced last year that it would select two new nuclear sites big enough for six reactor each in line with the requirements of a National Energy Plan. One site is to be in the north east, the other in the south east. Eletronuclear projected the completion of the first two north east reactors in 2019 and 2021, and the south east ones in 2023 and 2025. Ultimately, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva is proposing some 60,000 MWe of nuclear for the country.