Brazil promotes ambitious nuclear programme


Rio de Janeiro : Brazil plans to move ahead over the next few years with an ambitious nuclear programme that includes power plants and a nuclear submarine, EFE news agency reported Thursday quoting a minister.

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Speaking to foreign reporters Wednesday, science and technology minister Sergio Rezende said that the government had been discussing the entire programme and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva “is close to signing an executive order to create a committee to look after the programme.”

According to the minister, the nuclear programme will deal with uranium enrichment, planning for new nuclear power plants and expanding the number of professionals trained in nuclear medicine.

“Nuclear power is competitive and has a much lower cost than that generated with diesel and coal,” he said.

The government has earmarked 41 billion reais ($24.7 billion) for the programme by 2010, the minister said, adding that the figure did not include labour costs.

“This is a new thing on the Brazilian scene and we are confident that the plan will be executed in its majority,” Rezende said.

Brazil has the world’s sixth largest uranium reserves.

The Brazilian government, under a plan by the energy and mines ministry, is studying the construction of up to four 1,000 MW nuclear power plants by 2030.

The minister said he was confident that construction of the Angra III nuclear plant, located in the coastal town of Angra dos Reis, would start this year.

Two other reactors, which were started in the 1970s and took more than two decades to complete, are already in operation at the site.

Regarding the nuclear submarine, the government had been in talks with countries for construction and a technology transfer programme.