Brazil’s 3rd nuclear plant on track to come online in 2020

Brazil’s third nuclear power plant plant, Angra 3, remains on track to come online by the end of 2020, despite construction being halted since September, state-owned nuclear developer Eletronuclear said Wednesday, Kallanish Energy learns.

Eletronuclear President Pedro Figueiredo said the project, located in the southeastern state of Rio de Janeiro, can still meet its latest production schedule as work is expected to resume “shortly.”

Construction was halted in September 2015, due to the non-payment of suppliers amid allegations of fraudulent procurement contracts. The overinflated costs and a bribery scheme in Angra 3 were revealed by the Lava Jato corruption investigation — which began with the state-owned oil company Petrobras and involves Brazil’s largest contractors and highest-ranking politicians.

“The work is halted due to a number of factors: the Lava Jato, lack of funding – which can’t be solved -, etc,” said Figueiredo. “We still target 2020 as a reasonable date [for the plant to be commissioned].”

The executive believes that to resume construction of the 1,405-megawatt (MW) facility, three issues must be solved. The first is to end the internal investigation regarding the alleged corruption scheme involving Angra 3 contracts – which should be concluded shortly, according to the executive.

Second is to set a new budget for the electromechanic assembly of the nuclear power plant, which Deloitte has been tasked to help with.

The last point is to cancel contracts that incite suspicion of fraud, and to conduct a new tender process. “We’re canceling these contracts. Then, we will go back to the banks [to re-negotiate the funding of the project],” he said.

Originally planned to come online in 2018, the Areva reactor, along with the other two Brazilian operating plants (Angra 1 and Angra 2) will generate 50% of Rio de Janeiro’s energy consumption. Some 67% of Angra 3’s construction is complete, according to Eletronuclear’s website.