Nuclear site studies in Brazil17 августа 2010
Brazil has taken another step towards wider use of nuclear energy with a technical cooperation deal to examine sites for future build.
The deal was between nuclear utility Eletronuclear and the Empresa de Pesquita Energética (Energy Research Company, EPE), part of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The two will cooperate to develop preliminary studies for selection of future nuclear sites, of which Brazil wants to establish four by 2030. Led by EPE, the study will primarily use public databases built up by various national geologic and natural resource authorities.
Nuclear power is underused in South America with only major players Argentina, Brazil and Mexico employing the technology and only at a small scale. Brazil currently has only one nuclear power plant, Angra, which features two operating reactors and one under construction as of early June. While Brazil has potential for expansion in large hydro, this comes with ecological concerns as well as difficulties in transmitting power long distances over dense forests.
In 2007 a National Energy Plan produced by EPE was adopted by government, stipulating that four new nuclear sites should be found in the southeast, south and mid-west of the country. EPE said the following states would be part of the preliminary survey: Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Goias and Mato Grosso do Sul.
Ministers have previously said an area between Recife and Salvador (a 650 kilometre stretch of coast in the northeast that spans the states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Sergipe) was under consideration and that the first reactor could come online in 2019. Eletronuclear set up an office in Recife one year ago after those states expressed an interest in hosting a nuclear power plant.
President of EPE, Mauricio Tolmasquim, said cooperation with Eletronuclear would be important to EPE’s study, due to the nuclear operator’s experience in the technology. For his part, Eletronuclear president Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva linked the expansion of nuclear energy to the development of the country as a whole.