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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Work to resume on Brazil reactor
Angra 2 nuclear power plant in a file photo from 2005
Brazil currently gets about 4% of its electricity from nuclear
Brazil's national energy council has recommended restarting a long-stalled and controversial project to build the country's third nuclear reactor.

Brazil currently has two nuclear energy plants, located at Angra dos Reis some 150km (100 miles) from Rio de Janeiro.

Work on the third stopped in the 1980s over security fears and lack of funds.

The proposal must be approved by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who supports nuclear power as a solution for Brazil's energy problems.

Brazil's two nuclear plants, Angra 1 and Angra 2, which have an installed capacity of about 2,000 megawatts, are situated near the coastal resort area of Angra dos Reis between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Angra 3, located in the same region, would increase capacity to 3,000 megawatts.

map

Officials said approval of the third plant could herald the start of a wider nuclear project to build up to eight reactors by 2030.

"The country will be one of the few in the world that has (uranium) reserves, production capacity and knowledge of the whole enrichment cycle," Energy and Mines Minister Nelson Hubner said, adding that Brazil had enough uranium reserves for 500 years.

Drought

A small group of Greenpeace and other environmental protesters gathered outside the energy ministry in Brasilia.

"Nuclear power is too expensive, dangerous, generates few jobs and is not the path Brazil should take to meet the challenges of global warming," Greenpeace said in a statement.

Brazil, which is heavily dependent on hydro-electricity, could face energy shortages in a couple of years if generating capacity is not increased, analysts say.

A severe drought in 2001 led the authorities to introduce energy rationing.

Angra 3 would require an investment of about $3.7bn (1.85bn) with construction due to be completed by 2013, Mr Hubner said.

Brazil spent some $800m (400m) on parts for Angra 3 in the 1980s before construction was halted amid lack of further funds and concerns over the project's viability.


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