This question appeared lately in the US press notably in the New York Times. This happens as the local President is willing to stimulate economic growth.
The current President of this large country, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – also known in the media simply as Lula – is willing to build two dams in the Amazon Rainforest.
This project would cost around USD 11 billions and would be located in the Rondônia state. (Northwest of the country)
According to him and to various companies, this project would create thousands of jobs and would push the Brazilian economy, which has been lacking strength for the last years. Similar projects were launched during New Deal in the 1930s by US President Roosevelt and it indeed helped in solving the economic crisis of this time.
But local environmentalists believe this project would open all doors to deforest even more the Amazon forest. On top of that, it would also increase the population pressure as hundreds of new people would arrive in the local community, which is already lacking water, education, housing or health equipments.
The river where these dams would be constructed also has what might be the world’s most diverse fish stocks. And the detractors of the project believe the dams would endanger the local biodiversity.
These dams would also require the construction of a power supply line of around 1.600 kilometres in order to bring the produced electricity to the cities located southern to the dams.
On a general note, I would like to state that Brazil is the home of the world’s largest dam, the Itaipu dam. The country is the third largest hydroelectricity producer in the world after China and Canada.
In the meantime, and according to another source, new nuclear power plants would be constructed in Brazil. This was announced by Otho Luiz Pinheiro, the President of the Brazilian nuclear company, Eletronuclear. Brazil currently has two nuclear plants.
All these investments would be done in order to answer the growing energy needs of Brazil, one of the largest economies of South America. Brazil has over 180 millions inhabitants.
Sources used for this article :
NY Times article : Both Sides Say Project Is Pivotal Issue for Brazil
Romandie article : Brésil, projet de deux nouvelles centrales nucléaires (en Français)
More on Wikipedia in English :
About Brazil and the energy policy of this country.