Angra I and II from the Bay

Date: 2009
Owner: Wikimedia
Source Type: Buildings


Located on a beautiful bay about twenty kilometers from a popular beach area, the Angra dos Reis nuclear complex is the site of Angra I and II, and the proposed site of Angra III, a power plant that Brazil has planned to construct since the mid 1980s. This new plant has been the subject of controversy as recently as May 2007, with several environmental groups protesting its construction while others support it as a means of ameliorating some of Brazil's energy needs. With Brazil's newly developed capacity to enrich domestically mined uranium, many see nuclear power as a necessary supplement to hydroelectricity, one that will ultimately make Brazil self-sufficient in the production of electricity. Angra III, if built, would be located between the two older reactors, Angra I (right) and II (left).

Some small research reactors had been imported from the United States during the 1950s, but the construction of the Angra facility marked the true beginning of the nuclear program in Brazil. Building a plant at Angra dos Reis was proposed in 1970 and was begun in 1971 by the contractor Westinghouse. After several delays caused by budget shortages and bureaucratic inefficiency, the plant began producing power in 1982 (the Angra I reactor is the cylindrical building on the right of the picture). Angra I has received some criticism, including complaints that it was built on loose stone instead of a proper bedrock foundation, but it has performed well in its twenty-five years of service. Angra II, a more advanced reactor, was begun in 1977 but financial shortages prevented its completion until German banks invested in the project in 1995. Finally completed in 2000, Angra II (the dome-shaped building on the left) remains the most advanced nuclear power plant in Brazil. The plants have a combined output of about 2000 MW/hour, about 4% of the electricity produced in Brazil.

CITATION: Sturm. Vista das usinas de Angra, January, 2009.