Eduardo Grand Court, the new president of Brazilian nuclear utility Eletronuclear (formerly part of Eletrobras) has attended an event at the Angra dos Reis NPP marking the restart of the concreting process at Angra 3 and the resumption of civil works at the plant, which is expected to be ready in 2028.  

Currently, Brazil has two nuclear power plants in operation, both in Angra dos Reis, on the Costa Verde, in Rio de Janeiro. Angra 1&2, a total of 1.9GWe, generate 1.1% of the energy of the Brazilian Interconnected System (SIN). Angra 1 is a 609MWe Westinghouse PWR 609, which began operation in 1982 following long delays. Unit 2 is a 1,275MWe PWR supplied by German Kraftwerk Union that began operation in 2000, again after long delays. Eletrobrás is working with Westinghouse to extend the operating lifetime of Angra 1 from 40 to 60 years.

Work on Angra 3, a Siemens/KWU 1,405MWe PWR began in 1984 but was suspended two years later. Work resumed in 2006, but was suspended a number of times for financial and political reasons. It was stopped again in 2015 when it was 65% complete. Preparation for the restart of concreting began in February 2022 with the signing of a contract between Eletronuclear and the AGIs consortium, comprising Ferreira Guedes, Matricial and ADtranz. This included the assembly of a concrete plant on site in September, and numerous field and laboratory tests.

Eletronuclear noted that “the quality of the concrete, both of the aggregated elements – such as sand, stone, water and cement – and their proportion in the final mixture, the so-called TRACE, is the subject of rigorous technical evaluation by Eletronuclear and the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN), which authorised the restart of concreting”.

The pouring of first concrete signalled the start of the Angra 3 Critical Path Acceleration Plan, which aims to complete the civil works of the main buildings of the plant. In addition, it is planned to carry out part of the electromechanical assembly, such as the closure of the containment and the installation of key equipment, such as the used fuel pool, the polar bridge and the semi-gantry crane. The unit will, as originally planned, use German origin technology developed by Siemens/KWU, which is now owned by the French company Framatome.

Last year, several preliminary stages were carried out, including the conclusion of the bidding process for contracting the works to resume the civil works and part of the electromechanical assembly. According to the financial statements of Eletrobras, then the controller of Eletronuclear, investments in Angra 3 totalled BRL1.24 billion ($233m) in 2021. Although the privatisation of Eletrobras was concluded in 2022, Eletronuclear was part of a group of subsidiaries maintained under the control of the State. They were integrated into a new state-owned company, Empresa Brasileira de Participacoes em Energia Nuclear e Binacional (ENBpar), which led the resumption of the Angra 3 works.

Image: Work has resumed at Brazil's third nuclear unit, Angra 3 (courtesy of Eletronuclear)