Brazil, the leading South American economy, plans to enrich uranium and to build possibly a new nuclear plant in order to answer to the local growing electricity demand.
Last year Brazil achieved oil self-sufficiency and is now willing to launch a whole uranium enrichment program, in order to manage totally this part of the nuclear process.
The local government made it clear that its intentions for pursuing such a program are strictly civil and that the country do not want to access to nuclear weapons.
This program would cost 540 millions US Dollars and this would be used during eight years. Local works on nuclear energy had been frozen for the past twenty years.
The goal to be achieved by Brazil is to manage the whole uranium enrichment program, in order to stop importing enriched uranium from Canada as it is currently doing. This could also lead to the construction of a third nuclear plant.
Brazil already have two nuclear plants, Angra I and II. The current total capacity is of 2,000 megawatts. Angra III, the next plant, would raise the installed capacity to 3,3000 megawatts. The sites of Angra are located between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The other countries in Latin America which have access to nuclear electricity are Argentina and Mexico. To me, this is good news as Brazil wants to answer its growing energy needs via a clean source of energy, with regards to greenhouse gases emissions.
On a more general note, this country is the fifth most populated one (with a population of roughly 180 millions people) and its economy is the 9th biggest, with a GDP of 1.594 trillion US Dollars (Sources : IMF via Wikipedia).
I studied all these facts as Brazil is due to become an important economy in the very next years and decades and as I have been quite interested by this country during my year at Audencia. I indeed wrote an article on it for the newspaper of the student’s financial association.
Sources and further reading :
- Forbes : “Brazil, $540M for Nuclear Program” ;
- Earth Times : “Brazil announces multimillion-dollar investment in nuclear” ;
- Le Figaro : “Le Brésil veut devenir une puissance atomique”
- Wikipedia article on Brazil.