Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said on 23 January that Brazil hopes to complete its third nuclear plant by 2026, with the help of private investors. Construction of Angra 3 has been suspended since 2015.

Albuquerque said an estimated BRL15 billion ($3.95 billion) is needed to complete the project. He added that, while nuclear technology should remain in the hands of the government, his ministry is working with the government’s public-private infrastructure partnerships secretariat to devise a model that would allow private enterprises to take part in the construction.

“If there is economic viability, if we succeed in attracting investors for finishing the construction of Angra 3, we will complete Angra 3 within this target of entering into operation by 2026,” he told a press briefing.

Five companies have expressed interest in investing in Angra 3 after Brazil’s Brazil's National Council for Energy Policy nearly doubled the reference tariff rate to BRL480 ($126) per megawatt hour, Reive Barros, the ministry’s energy planning secretary, told the briefing. In 2017, Eletrobras Eletronuclear said it expected approval from the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) to negotiate with potential international partners. These include China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), with which it has signed a memorandum of understanding in late 2015, France’s EDF, with whom there is a confidentiality agreement to share data about Angra 3, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation.

Construction of Angra 3, a1400MWe Siemens/KWU pressurised water reactor, started in 1984 but was stopped in 1986 due to inadequate financing. Eletronuclear said almost 47% of civil works is complete. In 2007, a government energy policy committee authorised completion of Angra 3, and in May 2010 the nuclear regulator granted a construction permit. In January 2011, the Brazilian national development bank BNDES approved $2.5bn of financing for the work.

Contracts were awarded in 2014 but were suspended following a corruption probe the following year. After the complaint, and amid delays in payments by Eletronuclear, work was stopped.

Brazil’s two operating nuclear reactors, Angra 1 and Angra 2,  generate about 3% of Brazil’s electricity.

Photo: Angra 3 construction site