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Brazil / Pandemic ‘Could Delay Completion Of Angra-3 By One Year Until 2027

By David Dalton
26 May 2020

Government is still looking for a partner for the project
Pandemic ‘Could Delay Completion Of Angra-3 By One Year Until 2027
The Angra nuclear power station in Brazil. Photo courtesy Eletronuclear.
Lower demand for electricity and a fall in the value of the Brazilian real during the coronavirus crisis will push completion of Brazil’s third commercial nuclear power plant west of Rio de Janiero into 2027, the head of state-run nuclear power company Eletronuclear told Reuters.

Eletronuclear president Leonam Guimaraes said Brazil still plans to find a partner by 2023 to help finish and operate Angra-3, with companies in China, Russia, France and South Korea among possible candidates.

Construction of the 1,245-MW Siemens/KWU pressurised water reactor unit began in 1984 but was halted in 1986 because of a lack of financing. In 2010, a construction permit was reissued by the authorities, but the project was suspended again in 2015 because of financing concerns and corruption investigation proceedings.

According to Brazilian nuclear operator Eletrobras Eletronuclear, almost 47% of civil work at the site had been completed in 2014.

So far, 9 billion reals ($1.6 billion) have been spent on the project, Reuters reported.

Mr Guimaraes said a “brutal” 15-20% drop in power consumption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic means future demand is uncertain.

“It is a small delay we are talking about, from November 2026 to the next year,” Mr Guimaraes said.

Volatility of the real, which has weakened by 28% against the dollar this year, is another uncertainty.

But Mr Guimaraes said the currency impact will be relatively small because only 35% of the 14.5 billion reals of investment needed to finish the plant will be paid in foreign currency, in euros, for the Framatome technology, majority owned by France’s state-owned utility EDF.

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