Page last updated at 23:56 GMT, Sunday, 3 January 2010

Brazil landslides 'may close nuclear plants'

Landslide in Angra dos Reis
The landslides have closed some major routes out of Angra dos Reis

Two nuclear power stations near a city in southern Brazil hit by deadly landslides may be temporarily shut down, the mayor has said.

Mayor Tuca Jordao, of Angra dos Reis, said main roads had been blocked by landslides and could obstruct any evacuation in the case of an emergency.

He said the plants - Angra I and Angra II - were not damaged or threatened but should be shut down as a precaution.

A landslide that hit a nearby resort on Friday killed at least 29 people.

Floods and landslides have killed more than 70 people in southern Brazil.

Mr Jordao said that with roads blocked there was no way to quickly evacuate the city's inhabitants in case of a catastrophe at the nuclear plants.

"There are no operational problems at Angra I and Angra II... but if landslides persist in the hills, we'll need to shut them down," said Mr Jordao.

"We don't want any risk. We want to avoid a future problem."

There was no immediate response from higher authorities, but the plants' operators said their closure would not affect power supplies to Rio de Janeiro - 150km (93 miles) north - which has alternative sources.

Angra dos Reis overlooks the island resort of Ilha Grande, where Friday's landslide smashed houses and a holiday lodge, killing at least 29 people.

Rescue crews are continuing to search for victims among the mud and rubble at the Sankay lodge.

Another 15 people have been killed in the centre of Angra, and the total number of deaths across Rio de Janeiro state has risen to more than 60.

At least six more people died in flooding and landslides in Sao Paulo state, and another three in Minas Gerais.

The disasters have been triggered by torrential rain across the region. More than 4,000 people have had to evacuate their homes, civil defence officials said.

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