Carlos Minc puts the ball in Eletronuclear's court
(Image: Jefferson Rudy / MMA)
The completion of Brazil's Angra 3 reactor looks more doubtful after the country's environment minister set 60 tough conditions for the project.
Carlos Minc announced his conditions yesterday. He said that the decision to complete the reactor was taken before his time in office, and that the alternative to discussions was to 'adopt more rigorous conditions' for the project.
Among his 60 conditions are that Angra owner Eletronuclear must present a 'definite' solution for the final storage of high-level radioactive waste before the unit begins operation. 'The ball is now with the proponents of the project,' he said unhelpfully, concluding: 'Our mission is to make sure that the conditions are fulfilled.'
Among various social integration, educational and environmental initiatives, Eletronuclear must:
- Create an independent laboratory to monitor radiation in addition to current measures
- Invest at least BRL50 million ($31 million) in the 'beautification' of the cities of Angra dos Reia and Paraty
- Assume the maintenance costs of the Tamois Ecological Station and the 100,000 hectare Serra da Bocaina national park
- Present studies on the possible effects of low-dose radiation from Angra on nearby populations in collaboration with the Ministry of Health's Fiocruz department
The requirements were signed off on 23 July as part of the 'pre-licence' for completing Angra 3 by Roberto Messias Franco, president of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama). Minc said that all such licenses in future would come with similar conditions.
Minc was a founder member of the Brazilian Green Party but later changed to the Workers' Party of current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. From November 2006 he has served in the environment ministry, becoming minister on 14 May after the resignation of Marina Silva. His views on nuclear power would seem to be rather at odds with those of Lula, who has overseen the development of a uranium enrichment facility, and has spoken of his commitment to nuclear power.
Angra 3, for which major components have been in storage for many years since construction was aborted, is expected to be the first nuclear project in a new Brazilian program. It was recommended for completion by the National Energy Policy Council in June 2007. Plans have not been made public, but it is expected that up to six reactors representing 8 GWe could be proposed for a new site later this year.