The decision on the construction of the facility will now be taken by the next Brazilian government. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso will come to an end of his mandate in 16 months. Presidential elections will be held in October 2002, and Cardoso’s successor will take office on 1 January 2003.

The country’s current energy crisis has led to increased support for the project, which would help to diversify Brazil’s heavy dependence on hydro-electric power. But critics point out that the unit would not be ready in time to make a difference to this energy crisis. New feasibility studies, to be carried out by Conselho Nacional de Politica Energetica, could take one year to complete. Added to a further three to four years of construction, Angra 3 is not a priority project.

The exclusion of nuclear energy from the Kyoto Protocol as a clean energy alternative makes the financing of the plant more difficult. The Brazilian government has already invested $700 million in the project; a further $1.7 billion is needed.