Eletronuclear drawn into Brazil corruption probe

29 July 2015

The president and CEO of Eletronuclear, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva, has been arrested in connection with construction contracts for Angra 3. It comes as the 16th wave of police action in a wide-ranging investigation of corruption in Brazil.

Electronuclear's parent company Eletrobras confirmed the arrest in a market notice yesterday. Brazilian Federal Police said its latest round of action was focused on contracts signed by companies already listed in their 'Operation Jet Wash' investigation.

Angra 3 is a 1270 MWe pressurized water reactor ordered from Germany's Kraftwerk Union in the 1970s but never built, despite the delivery of many components. The project was re-launched in 2009 and construction commenced in June 2010 under management by Eletrobras, who contracted Areva to lead the nuclear aspect of the project.

In 2013 Eletrobras identified two Brazilian consortia as qualified for civil construction work: 'UNA 3' (formed of Andrade Gutierrez, Norberto Odebrecht, Camargo Correa and UTC Engenharia) and 'Angra 3' (formed of Queiroz Galvão, EBE and Techint). The newspaper Estadão cited all of these Brazilian firms as being included in yesterday's execution of police warrants.

Angra 3 in 2013 (Eletronuclear) 460x298
Angra 3 under construction, with 1 and 2 operating in the background
(Image: Eletronuclear)

On 29 April this year Eletrobras said its internal supervisory board had found "no irregularities" in the contracting for Angra 3, noting that its Board of Directors had "approved the hiring company specialized to carry out research to ensure transparency and necessary independence, in accordance with Brazilian and US law." At the same time the company announced that Pinheiro had "requested leave of absence in order to guarantee the independence and transparency of the research to be performed."

Eletrobras' market notice yesterday said it was "seeking to obtain the information necessary for defence of its interests and those of its investors and will keep the market informed in due course."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News