by Medgy Liburd
Nuclear power plants are still a novelty in the Latin American and the Caribbean region. So far, there are two in Argentina, two in Mexico and two in Brazil (where a third one is on construction).
Like Argentina, Brazil had projects on nuclear energy technology based on natural uranium since the mid-1930s. After abandoning these first projects, the Brazilian government focused on the next plan: Angra 1 in 1985 (a nuclear power plant), followed by Angra 2 in 2001 and the construction of Angra 3 that should be operational by 2018.
When Brazil became a developing country with a great economic performance, the power demand increased significantly and gave credibility to the success of these two established power plants.
Massive investments were launched with the aim of contributing to the economic growth. Today 80% of the energy comes from electric power sources but only 3% from a nuclear source. The country managed to apply and use all nuclear technologies such as “uranium extraction, uranium conversion and enrichment, fuel production, heavy component manufacturing, power plant operation etc.”
Considered as one of the largest producer of biomass energy in the world, Brazil also has very favorable conditions for the use of wind, solar and hydro electrical energy” and being aware of its significant potential for renewable energy, Brazil wants to develop these sectors in the coming decades. Despite all of these significant investments in nuclear technologies, the land is still more successful in hydroelectricity.
Could this be a challenge for the survival of the Angra 1, 2 and 3? “The future of further nuclear construction plan depends on parliament.” Without a political approval, long-term nuclear projects won’t be successful. If the economic growth keeps its actual speed and performance, future reactor programs will certainly be created. Brazil could possibly be able to support not only the projects on renewable energy, but also these on nuclear power plants.