Angra 1, the first Brazilian nuclear power plant, started operating in 1985 and Angra 2 started operating in 2001. In all, the energy generated by the two plants supplies a region with about 3 million people, equivalent to the populations of Belo Horizonte and of Victory together.
The advantages of nuclear energy are: its cheaper cost compared to thermoelectric plants and the absence of risks related to climate problems, as occurs with hydroelectric plants. “Nuclear plants generate energy all the time throughout the year and do not depend on natural factors. The water crisis showed in 2001 the importance of nuclear energy when Angra 2 came into operation, coincidentally at the end of 2000, early 2001. Now, at that moment, an entry of Angra 3 would be very positive for the management of the crisis”, said the president of Eletronuclear, Leonam Guimarães.
About 70% of the civil works at Angra 3 have been completed and 75% of the plant’s equipment has been purchased. They are stored in 37 warehouses. There are about 10 thousand items that permanently undergo a maintenance process. The expectation is that the resumption of construction of the plant will take place this year. According to Eletronuclear’s forecast, Angra 3 will start operating in 2026. It will generate enough energy to supply 4.5 million Brazilians, which represents 60% of the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro.
“The resumption of the work is in full swing. A bidding process for contracting the civil work has already been carried out. The expectation is to sign this contract in October. It is an important project that will generate up to 10 thousand direct jobs”, said the technical director of Eletronuclear, Ricardo Santos.
Works at the Angra 3 Plant – Maurício Almeida/ TV Brasil
wind and solar
In addition to resuming the construction of Angra 3, the federal government is also investing in other energy sources, such as wind and solar. According to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, the objective is to increase the diversification of the Brazilian energy matrix. Currently, 60% of the energy used in the country comes from hydroelectric plants. Bento Albuquerque believes that, by 2030, this dependency will be reduced to a maximum of 49%.
“We will also have more nuclear power plants coming on stream, which is very important, because it generates continuously and is clean energy. And also the growth of wind and photovoltaic energy generation. Technologies are also being developed to store energy generated during the day, for example, by solar energy or when it is windy, so that it can be used in times when there is no light and no wind and can maintain the system’s balance.” said the minister.
Wind energy is responsible for almost 11% of Brazilian consumption and should reach 13.6% in 2025. Solar energy represents 2% of the country’s energy matrix and should close this year at close to 3%. The professor of energy planning at the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute for Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Coppe/UFRJ), Marcos Freitas, defends the intensification of projects aimed at wind energy.
“With more than 20 gigs, wind energy is already showing itself as a reality. The Northeast started to become an energy exporter due to wind power and still has a very large potential that has not yet been used”.
New sources of energy generation are also being developed in the laboratories of the Itaipu hydroelectric plant. One of the projects is related to the production of biogas. A partnership signed with rural producers in western Paraná is making it possible to generate energy from animal waste.
At the Colombari farm, the waste of 5,000 pigs and 300 cattle is placed in biodigesters, equipment that resembles a large greenhouse. The material decomposes and 30 days later produces a gas that drives a generator that distributes the energy produced on the farm itself.
“The farm used about 2,000 liters of diesel before biogas. The new source, in addition to meeting our energy needs, reduced our environmental liabilities, improved the quality of the waste which, after digestion, becomes a product of great value for our pastures”, said rural producer Pedro Colombari.
The entire biogas project is accompanied by laboratory studies. Research has already shown that there are at least 250 sources that can be used to generate biogas. For the professor at Coppe/UFRJ Mauricio Tolmasquin, the diversification of the energy matrix is essential to guarantee the security of the sector.
“Over the last 20 years, there has already been great diversification with the reduction of the role of hydroelectric power and the increase in the role of wind power, sugarcane bagasse, solar energy, thermal plants have also grown. And this is important for security. [energética]. Now, it is important to continue with this diversification. Renewable sources can play an even greater role in the national electricity matrix”.
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