CNEN: Country must accelerate nuclear power discussions

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Brazil needs to fast-track discussions over the use of nuclear power to make needed investments in expansions, newspaper Gazeta Mercantil quoted a top aide from nuclear power commission CNEN as saying. "We have gone through three governments [without deciding]. We need an urgent decision now," the paper quoted CNEN's Marco Marzo as saying. CNEN oversees the development of Brazil's nuclear technology. Marzo was speaking at a seminar promoted by the French embassy to Brazil, which included French nuclear generation equipment supplier Areva. PROJECTS Brazil has two nuclear power generators, 660MW Angra I and 1,350MW Angra II, which together account for about 2% of Brazil's total installed capacity. The 1,350MW Angra III reactor project has been on the backburner for roughly a decade as Brazil's government has yet to decide its policies. Angra III costs are estimated at some US$2.6bn, according to Brazil's federal power holding company Eletrobrás, which controls the nuclear generators through its Eletronuclear unit. Additionally, the country has several projects on the drawing board to expand its nuclear installed capacity, including US$13bn for three new reactors by 2009, Gazeta Mercantil reported. Further, a 20-year project is in the planning stage which includes the construction of seven new nuclear reactors including three with capacity of 1,300MW each, local press reported. The government has established commissions to study the projects to allow the government's national energy planning council (CNPE) to make a decision in 2007, government news service Agência Brasil said. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's administration has been discussing nuclear power since 2005 and has started studies on the topic. Lula is up for reelection this month in runoff elections with center-right candidate Geraldo Alckmin, who supports the conclusion of Angra III. Brazil is looking at nuclear power to guarantee the expansion of power supply, which according to market projections needs to increase some 4,000MW a year.

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