By Jaylan Boyle, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A second Brazilian power station is to be built in the northeast of the country, at an as yet undisclosed location close to the coastline between the cities of Recife and Salvador, confirmed the president of the state-owned company Brazilian Electronuclear, Orthon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva. The announcement was made at a recent joint public hearing held by the Committee for Environment, Science and Technology.
The northeast station is to be the next of three nuclear facilities Brazil plans to construct, with no details yet available on the third facility other than the fact that it will be situated in the southeast.
Construction of the northeast station is to be completed by 2019, with an initial capacity for two nuclear plants, but with room and facility for an expansion in years following to a total of six plants. This is a format that will be followed closely by the third southeast facility.
The government has said previously that in total, it’s intent would be to have eight nuclear stations operational in by 2030, in line with stated government policy of diversification of Brazilian energy generation, something Mr da Silva warns is imperative if the state is to keep pace with the changing needs of a growing Brazilian population, as well as uncertainty as to the impact of climate change on traditional methods of generation, such as coal-fired plants, which may need to be phased out in order to reduce carbon emissions.
According to the Ministry of Development of Mines and Energy, Brazil will need to double it’s current electricity generation by 2030. Spokesman Altino Ventura Filho, said that this extra required generation will need to be spread in the coming decades over methods such as biomass, coal, nuclear and wind. According to Mr Filho, Brazil has in addition the world’s third greatest potential for hydroelectric power generation, or about 260 thousand megawatts. It was noted however that as some 80 thousand megawatts of this total could only be tapped in regions of high sensitivity in terms of indigenous settlement and environmental damage, the Brazilian population would likely not accept the exploitation of all this energy.
Mr Filho said therefore that, as the planet is rich in Uranium, nuclear energy is seen by the government as an effective way of meeting the increasing demand of coming decades. However, he also commented that the Brazilian people needed to be active in their participation in the discussion of how Brazil’s needs are to be best dealt with, given an increasing importance placed upon environmental concern, and how that discussion may change people’s attitudes towards methods of generation such as nuclear and wind.