Eletronuclear looking to move ahead with Angra 3 works

18 June 2024

Brazil's Eletronuclear has announced it has won its appeal in the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice, removing an embargo on work to complete Angra 3.

Angra 3 is currently about 65% complete (Image: Eletronuclear)

The much interrupted works on the third unit at the Angra nuclear power plant in Brazil, have been halted after disputes with the municipality of the City of Angra dos Reis over agreements relating to "environmental compensation" payments and also changes relating to the granted planning permission.

The embargo was imposed on the work in April 2023. In a statement published on its website, state-owned Eletronuclear said that the court had agreed to lift the embargo and that it "reaffirms that it strictly follows all construction projects approved by the competent national and international bodies, guaranteeing the safety of the construction and future operation of the plant" and "reaffirms its commitment to maintaining an open dialogue with the City of Angra dos Reis to advance the company's priority projects, which generate positive consequences for the entire local population".

Angra 3 - a long story

Brazil has two reactors - Angra 1 and Angra 2 - which generate about 3% of the country’s electricity. Work on the Angra 3 project - to feature a Siemens/KWU 1405 MW pressurised water reactor - began in 1984 but was suspended two years later, before construction began. The scheme was resurrected in 2006, with first concrete in 2010. But, amid a corruption probe into government contracts, construction of the unit was halted for a second time in 2015, when it was 65% complete. It resumed again in November 2022 - at the time of the project’s revitalisation, Eletronuclear’s aim was to start operations by the end of 2026. However, work halted again in April 2023.

What next?

On the same day that Eletronuclear announced its success in the court, it also announced that it had unilaterally terminated its construction contract with the Ferreira Guedes, Matricial and ADtranz consortium that was signed in February 2022 for restarting Angra 3 civil works.

The scope of that work has been included as an option in Eletronuclear's recent month-long public consultation on the terms of a proposed tender to complete the works at Angra 3. This is planned to be an international, competitive process for "the execution of works and services aimed at completing the Angra 3 Project, which will cover the remaining services of engineering, procurement, construction, assembly, installation and support for the commissioning of the nuclear plant", run by Eletronuclear with support from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).

There is also a study being drawn up by BNDES which is expected to provide a suggested likely price of electricity for Angra 3 when completed - earlier this year a Federal Audit Court analysis suggested that "charges to consumers will be much higher if the construction of Angra 3 continues than if the project is abandoned". Eletronuclear rejected that analysis and said "the price of electrical energy produced by Angra 3 will certainly be competitive for a clean, non-polluting (not producing greenhouse gases), safe, reliable, constant" power source. It added that a recent study suggested that for every BRL1 billion (USD194 million) invested in the nuclear generation sector, BRL3.1 billion is generated in the production chain, generating 22,500 jobs in Brazil, 17,500 of which in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News