US-based Westinghouse Electric Company said on 5 October that it had signed a contract with Brazilian utility Eletronuclear to conduct engineering analyses critical to the safety, reliability and long-term operation of unit 1 of the Angra NPP. This contract supports Eletronuclear's Long Term Operations (LTO) programme designed to enable continued operations at Angra 1 until the end of 2044. The current operating licence is valid to December 2024.
"This marks a very important first step for both Eletronuclear and Westinghouse in working together to allow for extended operation," said David Howell, Westinghouse president of Americas Operating Plant Services. "Westinghouse has been a close partner with Eletronuclear since the Angra 1 unit first went online in 1985. We are pleased to have been chosen to support the safety, reliability and long-term success of Angra 1."
The LTO programme at Angra 1 includes engineering assessments, system testing, and plant system upgrades, to be implemented in several stages by 2030. "We hope that this will be the first in a series of successful initiatives, continuing the longstanding relationship with Westinghouse," said Eletronuclear President Leonam dos Santos Guimarães. The contract follows a letter of intent signed between Westinghouse and Eletronuclear in February to help extend the life of the Angra 1.
Guimarães told an NEI webinar earlier this year that a large amount of preparatory work is already completed. The work is being done in line with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards and with US regulations, as Angra 1 is a Westinghouse reactor. Work has included two periodic safety reviews in 2004 and 2014 and an IAEA pre-Salto review mission in 2013. The life extension process is expected to require investment of BRL1.2 billion ($230m). Angra 1 completed replacement of its steam generators in 2009, its reactor pressure vessel (RPV) closure head in 2013 and its main transformers in 2017. In 2019 it completed a mechanical stress improvement process on the pressure vessel nozzles.
Angra NPP has two operating PWRs - Angra 1, with an output of 640 MWe, connected to the grid in 1985 and Angra 2, with an output of 1,350 MWe, connected to the grid in 2001. Guimarães said the next goal is to resume construction of Angra 3, which was 67% complete when work stopped in 2015 due to the collapse of financial support.