power – strom und macht


Susanne Gerber


Germany might be turning away from nuclear energy, but Brazil is embracing it full force. Last week, the Brazilian senate passed a measure that grants fiscal incentives to the nuclear power industry. The new ruling, passed June 3, gives Brazilian government owned power company Eletrobras (EBR), along with national and international equipment partners, the ability to buy capital goods, building materials, infrastructure materials and nuclear industry specific technologies for use in energy generation without having to pay the IPI, or industrial production tax, nor tariffs on imported goods. The temporary benefit goes until December 31, 2015. The incentives to nuclear energy production was criticized by members of the opposition party said the government measure took Brazil in “a step opposite the world’s direction on nuclear energy” following the nightmare nuclear accident at the Fukushima nuclear power reactor owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The disaster, caused by an earthquake and resulting tsunami in March, led many countries to postpone building nuclear power until new regulations on safety were put in place. China stalled its production of dozens of new nuclear power stations, but has since returned to building out the clean-burning, but potentially hazardous, energy source. The government estimates that tax loss with such regime will be of R$589 million, or around $375 million. Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party, wants to develop more nuke power facilities, the head of the state-owned Eletronuclear utility said at a conference in Rio de Janeiro on January 18. Eletronuclear is a subsidiary of Eletrobras. The company’s president, Othon Luiz Pinheiro, said Eletronuclear has a list of 40 possible sites around the country for construction of new nuclear power generators. Currently, Brazil has two nuclear power plants operating in Rio de Janeiro, with a third under construction. Nuclear energy accounts for just 3% of Brazil’s energy. Hydroelectric power accounts for nearly 85% or more. Four more large reactors are expected to come on line by 2025, according to the World Nuclear Association, an industry lobby based in London. Ironically, it was Germany that helped kick start Brazil into the world of nuclear power. Back in 1975, the government adopted a policy to become fully self-sufficient in nuclear technology and signed an agreement with Germany (West Germany at the time) for the supply of eight 1300 megawatt nuclear units over the courrse of 15 years. The first two were to be built in Rio de Janeiro and are known as the Angra faciltiies I and II. Responsibility for construction of Angra II and, later, III was transferred to Eletrobras subsidiary Furnas. Eletrobrás Termonuclear (Eletronuclear), yet another subsidiary of Eletrobrás, is responsible for all construction and operation of the country’s nuclear power plants. Brazil has known resources of 278,000 tonnes of uranium, or 5% of world tota, according to the World Nuclear Association. The three main deposits are located in Pocos de Caldas in Minas Gerais state; (mine closed in 1997); Lagoa Real or Caetité in Bahia state; (operating since 1999); and Santa Quitéria in Ceará state; (production expected mid-2012).Uranium has been mined since 1982, but the only operating mine is the state run Lagoa Real/Caetité mine, with 340 tU/yr capacity. The government has announced its intention to increase production to 1,360 tU/yr by 2012. All mined uranium is used domestically, after conversion and enrichment abroad.

Brazil is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty since 1998 as a non-nuclear weapons state.



Filed under: Politics

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