Brazil to construct waste facility by 2026

19 March 2009

By 2026, Brazil is planning to construct a facility to store waste from the Angra 3 nuclear power plant in Rio de Janeiro. The plant is estimated to be operational by November 2014. Until the waste-storage facility is complete, the nuclear waste will be stored in pools, which will be constructed near the plant, Agencia Brasil reports.

The project is being developed by the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN).

A study is also being prepared on the possibility of building a national repository for low and medium radioactive waste, which would be operational by 2018. The power plant operator Eletrobras Termonuclear S/A said recycling was being considered, but the technology is still too expensive.

Earlier this year CNEN issued a permit for Industriás Nucleares do Brasil (INB) to commence commercial-scale operations at its centrifuge enrichment plant at Resende.

The Resende plant currently has two centrifuge cascades, using technology developed by the Brazilian Marine Technology Centre in São Paulo (CTMSP) and the Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research (IPEN). It is expected to produce 12t of enriched uranium by the end of the year. With a total of ten cascades planned to be in operation within the next three years, INB expects to be able to produce all the enriched uranium fuel required by the Angra 1 nuclear power plant and 20% of the requirements of Angra 2 by 2012.

The Resende plant has held an environmental licence for uranium enrichment since 2006. This has now been upgraded by CNEN to permit industrial production for one year starting February 2009. According to INB’s nuclear fuel production director, Samuel Fayad Filho, the company will seek an extension of the CNEN permit to allow permanent operation once the plant’s operation has been successfully demonstrated.

All Brazil’s uranium production is currently used domestically after conversion and enrichment in other countries, although INB operates a fuel fabrication plant.

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