This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Elis Valeria Anginski Cotosky
Currently, there are two active nuclear power plants in Brazil both located in the Nuclear Center Almirante Álvaro Alberto (CNAAA) in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The plants are Angra 1, with a generation capacity of 640 MW, and Angra 2, with a 1350 WV capacity. Together, they can produce up to 15.385 TWh of energy they and account for approximately 3% of the country’s energy matrix. These plants are operated by a state-owned company named Eletronuclear.1
Angra 1 started its commercial operations in 1985 and Angra 2 in 2001.2 Although both plants are already more than 20 years old, Angra 2 operated for 13 consecutive months with a working capacity of 99.43%, hitting the world record in terms of continuous operation before programmed pauses in 2021. This means that this plant has high operational safety and its fuels are efficient. 3
Expansion of nuclear energy use in Brazil
Under the Bolsonaro administration, Brazil’s federal government is currently pushing for the continuation of work on Angra 3, which started in 1986 but was interrupted due to corruption issues in 1988 and again in 2015. More than BRL 10 billion was invested and the nuclear plant was 60% built. The government requires an investment of BRL 15 billion is needed to finish the work and financing options are being studied by BNDES (National Development Bank). According to Bento Albuquerque, the current Mines and Energy Minister, the expectation is that the investments are done in a partnership between the Brazilian government and private companies.
The expectation is that Angra 3 will have an operating capacity like Angra 2 (reaching 1,405 megawatts) and will generate 12 million megawatt-hours annually. With that, nuclear energy will generate the equivalent to 50% of the energy consumption of the state of Rio de Janeiro, the third-largest state in terms of population in Brazil. 4
Operational Safety and nuclear waste disposal
In the 30 years since the operation of Angra 1, no accidents were reported by Eletronuclear. According to the owner of Angra 1 and 2, there are four main mechanisms applied to guarantee the safety of the operations: Project, Physical, Process, and Organizational. Moreover, there is also a specialized governmental organization created especially to guarantee the safety of the nuclear plants in the country, the ANSN (National Authority for Nuclear Safety).5
In terms of nuclear waste disposal, Brazil’s technology is very outdated. All the fuel that has been used to date is stored in two deep water pools in the Nuclear Center Almirante Álvaro Alberto (CNAAA).
- Eletronuclear – Annual Report 2020
- BBC – Brazil
- IPEN – Brazil
- Brazilian Government Portal – Nuclear Energy
- Brazilian Government Portal – National Authority for Nuclear Safety
Ministry of Mines and Energy (responsible for formulating and implementing national policies on the energy sector)
Telephone: +55 61 2032-5555