Construction of unit 3 of Brazil’s Angra nuclear plant may be delayed after engineering companies Odebrecht, Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez and Queiroz Galvão announced they were no longer going to participate in the project. The four companies are being investigated for bribes in the Operação Lava Jato (Operation Carwash). Angra 3, scheduled to go into operation in 2018, is being built next to Angra 1 and 2, already in operation.

The companies said they were no longer going to participate in construction of the reactor, citing the non-payment by nuclear utility Eletronuclear, a subsidiary of state-owned Eletrobras. Earlier this month Eletronuclear’s president, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva, was arrested after federal prosecutors working on the Lava Jato operation accused him of receiving over $1.3m in bribes related to Angra 3 contracts.

The project for Angra 3 was launched in the 1980s, but construction only started in 2010. Angra 3 is expected to generate more than 12TWh a year when it is fully operational. By March 2015 approximately U$1.3bn of the $4.2bn allocated for the project had already been used, according to Eletronuclear. The nuclear utility estimates losses of $1.7m a day if the reactor is not operational by the end of 2018.

Photo: Angra nuclear power plant in Brazil