China and Brazil strengthen nuclear co-operation

7 September 2017

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) on 1 September signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Brazilian energy company Eletrobras and its subsidiary, responsible for nuclear power, Eletronuclear to further develop cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. 

The main point of the agreement is completion of the construction of unit 3 at the Angra  NPP as well as some possible subsequent projects.  The agreement was signed during a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Michel Temer at the summit of the BRICS countries in Beijing.

The agreement is the third between CNNC and Eletronuclear. The first, on the establishment of co-operation in the nuclear industry, was signed in 2015 and the second, on completion of Angra 3, in December 2016. Construction of Angra 3 (a pressurised water reactor designed by German company KWU) began in 1984 but was stopped in 1986 after 70% of the equipment was already purchased. In 2007, it was decided to resume construction and in December 2008 two agreements were concluded with the French company Areva: for completion of the reactor block and the creation of the relevant infrastructure. However, after an anti-corruption investigation in 2015, Brazil suspended both contracts.

In March 2017, the new Brazilian government announced its intention to conclude a new contract to complete the unit by 2018.  Construction is expected to take about five years at the cost of some $3bn.

Photo: The Angra nuclear power plant in Brazil

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