Court of Audit Finds Chaos in Brazil’s Nuclear Installations

Brazil's nuclear plant Angra Published this weekend by Rio daily O Globo, a report by a Brazilian official organization criticized the lack of security at Brazil's nuclear installations, which range from electricity-generating plants to hospital equipment.

"The deficiencies signaled out by the Brazilian Court of Audit (which ensures proper management of federal public resources) go from a state of chaos in radioactive installations to the lack of enough adequately trained technicians supervising the power stations at Angra dos Reis, a seaside resort where two nuclear plants for generating electricity are located, the newspaper said.

The report obtained by the newspaper says that "of the 2,350 pieces of equipment (that use radioactive material) in the country, 1.269 of them representing 54% of the total function very irregularly and have no official authorization to operate."

The report also points out a notorious "lack of human resources" trained to work with nuclear material and "a deficient review of licenses," Augusto Sherman, a member of the Brazilian Court of Audit and author of the report, told O Globo.

Sherman said that the average age of technicians working in Brazil's nuclear sector is 52 and that close to 40% of them are almost ready to retire.

"The National Nuclear Energy Commission could collapse in a few years because of lack of personnel," the official said, adding that he believed "urgent precautions" must be taken for the sector to be adequately supervised because of the potential risk its operations entail.

Most electricity in Brazil is hydro generated, 78%, and nuclear power represents a mere 2%.



  • Show Comments (15)

  • forrest allen brown

    the fish is pulled to a screen and when it makes contact with a switch it is rotated up and out of the way
    and dumped off by high presure water . making plenty of fish food whitch will bring more fish a cycle that will never stop .
    and then the sharks and crabs and shrimp make for a good death soup .

    the dutch dont run as big of blades as they do in the US and brasil
    go north from abaline texas hundreds of wind mills in cotton fields

    the one i like was the one cousto esed for power on his boat just a single 24″ pipe with a blade runing vertical up the side

  • Craig B.

    Risk Assessment of Nuclear Energy (response to ch.c)
    The 30 people were killed instantly, including 28 from radiation exposure, and a further 209 on site were treated for acute radiation poisoning, is just the tip of the iceberg in risk assessmesnt of nuclear energy.

    The World Health Organization found that the fallout from the explosion was incredibly far-reaching. For a time, radiation levels in Scotland, over 1400 miles (about 2300 km) away, were 10,000 times the norm.
    Thousands of cancer deaths were a direct result of the accident.
    The accident cost the former Soviet Union more than three times the economical benefits accrued from the operation of every other Soviet nuclear power plant operated between 1954 and 1990.
    Also previously mentioned is the prediction “an accident at a US nuclear power plant could kill more people than were killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.”
    Also, there are an awful lot of crazy people in the world who should definetly not have access to A-bomb material. (Not that ANYONE should!). More nuclear plants of course increase the risk of this type of potential tragedy.
    You have to also address the environmental concerns and, most importantly, the problems posed by nuclear waste (all of which I have posted above).
    Ch.c’s points are myopic: they focus on one tree. They see the tree clearly. What they miss is the forest. The Brazilian Court of Audit report is a wake-up call to everyone.

  • Craig B.

    Saving birds for wind power (response to Forrest)
    The Dutch have come up with a solution which I have seen first hand. They put large screens around the blades of the wind turbine. Birds stay out, wind comes in.

  • Shelly1

    I am always skeptical of those people who say that Brazil can grow economically using alternative solutions. No country has done that, certainly the U.S. and Europe grew because of oil exploration. Coal, oil, and nuclear energy have all contributed to the economic boom in this country.

    You cannot grow a economy like the U.S. and be sustainable. Sustainability and the American model of economic growth are at odds here. The green agenda in this country has many facets. One, it is a good way to create jobs. Second, it is the “ethical” thing to do these days. Third, someone is going to make a lot of money with the green energy deals (good for them), but it amazes me how NGOs (I work for one) are quick to push for something they don’t have a full assessment of. For example, a friend of mine is involved in ocean energy production. He showed me a really neat way of getting tidal energy into the electrical grid. So, I asked “what happens to the fish that gets through this hole”. He answered, “oh, we’ll have a grid here”. So I said, “what happens to the fish once it is stuck to the grid”. No answer!

    You can grow sustainably, but at a slower pace. Certainly this is not what Brazil, China, and India wants.

    We have a one hundred pound gorilla in the room and it is called —human population growth. We cannot sustainably develop a country with the current human population trend. As we grow exponentially, the resources will diminish in opposite direction.

    Nuclear energy is not safe, not in the hands of any nation. The U.S. is the only nation that has used a nuclear weapon against another human being. By default, the U.S. should disarm. I don’t believe the U.K. or France should have nuclear subs, or did you forget about the recent “accident” where a U.K. and a French nuclear sub collided at deep sea?

    Develop and developing countries should forgo nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Pakistan, a rogue nation, has nuclear weapons.

  • Shelly1

    I am all with you on this one. Brazil like the U.S. will need several alternative energy solutions. However, just because the Royal Society For The Protection of Birds states that windfarms are safe for birds in England, it doesn’t mean that they can be safe in America or in Brazil.

    1) First thing, many environmental impact assessment and statements ignored the impact of wind turbines on bird population. Some even ignored that these structures were being built directly on migratory bird routes and on grasslands. If you know anything about the state of bird population in the U.S. grassland birds are specialists rather than generalists, thus they are being impacted by habitat loss and modification more so than other birds.

    2) Scientists do not know the overall impact of wind turbines on bird population, but if you add habitat loss, climate change, and energy consumption into the equation, all contribute to the demise of bird species:

    [quote]The size of the annual body count À¢€” conservatively put at 4,700 birds À¢€” is unique to this sprawling, 50-square-mile site in the Diablo Mountains between San Francisco and the agricultural Central Valley because it spans an international migratory bird route regulated by the federal government. The low mountains are home to the world’s highest density of nesting golden eagles.
    Scientists don’t know whether the kills reduce overall bird populations but worry that turbines, added to other factors, could tip a species into decline. “They didn’t realize it at the time, but it was just a really bad place to build a wind farm,” says Grainger Hunt, an ecologist with the Peregrine Fund who has studied eagles at Altamont.[/quote]

    3) I have been lucky during my undergraduate and graduate studies and have had top Smithsonian scientists teach our conservation biology classes. My natural law and resources policy professor not only was a lawyer and an expert in natural resources law and policy, but also an avid birder and a director of one of Audubon chapters in this country. We read many accounts of thousand of bird-strikes. The problem with bats is actually worse, the noise confuses them and many bats fly straight into the turbines. The consensus in the U.S. isn’t the same as it is in the U.K.

    4) More on birds and energy production in the U.S.

    [quote]WASHINGTON – As the Obama administration pursues more homegrown energy sources, a new government report faults energy production of all types À¢€” wind, ethanol and mountaintop coal mining À¢€” for contributing to steep drops in bird populations.
    The first-of-its-kind government report chronicles a four-decade decline in many of the country’s bird populations and provides many reasons for it, from suburban sprawl to the spread of exotic species to global warming.
    In almost every case, energy production is also playing a role.

    5) c) [b][quote]No wind turbine design completely eliminates mortality of birds or other wildlife, including bats.[/quote][/b]

    Since bird population is considerably down, a holistic approach should be taken to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. I believe habitat loss along with wind energy and climate change have to part of the equation and you cannot say that “climate change is the most pressing issue”. Ecosystem resilience studies have shown that in a health habitat, climate change species may well adapt to the changes. Resilience is the vital to the well being of all living things and human beings aren’t taking ecology into consideration.

    For those of you not familiar with the term ecosystem resilience, think about a how a health body deals with diseases:

  • forrest allen brown

    brasil . build but does not maintain
    CB I did not say build nuke power plants .
    but until you get the powers at be to put the jeni back into the bottle
    you have to make them safe but like most in 3 world countries that have nukes .
    the son of the brother of the president gets the job , like lula was given a degree in nuclar enegry
    at some dog and pony show in brasil .

    you are talking UK not al gore USA and barba boxer , nancy polise to here them say the wind mills kill more
    birds than duck hunters

    they have to be made safe , and kept up .
    the US has not built a nuke plant for 20 years now as they have been judeg non coast eficitive

  • ch.c.

    Hmmmmmm “30 people were killed instantly, including 28 from radiation exposure, and a further 209 on site were treated for acute radiation poisoning. ”
    May one say then that airplanes crashes killing as many people PER CRASH and severaL times…PER YEAR….. are far more frequent, dangerous AND RISKY than nuclear reactors ?????????????????

    Short memory on Brazil Amazon and Congonhas crashes… around a 1 year time window ?????????
    Wellllll….obviously the Amazon plane crash was due to the U.S. pilots and for Congonhas crash initially Brazil accused Airbus plane
    deficiency !

    Or is it not proven that cars accidents are …at least 1000 times…more frequent, risky and dangerous…..than nuclear reactors ?????

    Just think about it…if you can !

    I must conclude that your own analysis and conclusion is definitely….LAUGHABLE !

    This said, when someone doesnt spend the needed money in maintenance costs and security in airplanes or air security, or in nuclear power plants, the risks are obviously DEMULTIPLIED !!!!!!!

    Ohhhh using your own risks parameters and analysis, motorbikes, and trains should also be banned. NO DOUBT AND PROVEN !

    Right ?

    😀 😉 😀 😉 😀 😉 😀 😉

  • DU 48

    original link correction-and worse to come in Santa Catarina-30-10-5 metre environment code!

    With imminent chaos sponsored by sleepwalking politicians,who needs nuclear energy…

  • Craig B.

    Nuclear Energy in Brazil – Expensive,dangerous and unnecessary.
    For those who can read Portuguese, may I suggest the following link to an article by Jose Eli
    da Veiga FEA-USP.…rcha-a-re/

  • Craig B.

    Natural energy alterernatives to nuclear nonsense (response to Forrest Brown)
    There are many alternative energy sources that are sustainable and do not pose the accident risks inherent in nuclear energy production. These sources include:

    Bioenergy: biomass, such as plant matter and animal waste, can yield power, heat, steam, and fuel.
    Geothermal: renewable heat energy can be harnessed from deep within the earth.
    Solar: the sunˢ۪s energy can be captured and used to produce heat and electricity. (the beach beauties in Leblon are already doing it).
    Hydrogen: if produced by renewable sources, it can power fuel cells to convert chemical energy directly into electricity, with useful heat and water as the only byproducts.
    Tidal: using the movement of the ocean to power turbines and generate electricity. How long is Brazil’s coast?
    Many more sustainable resources could be found and current resources improved if better technology were available and if the government and utilities actively promoted their development. Brazil can launch satellites into space; it can find new sustainable technologies.

    Wind: turbines turning in the air convert kinetic energy in the wind into electricity. (Put that minuano to good use!). As far as the risk to birds from the wind blades, that is not a problem. The Royal Society ForThe Protection of Birds states in their leaflet, Wind Farms and Birds: “Climate change is the most significant, long-term threat to biodiversity worldwide. To help tackle this threat, the RSPB strongly supports moves to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy demand and supply more of our energy needs from renewable sources, including wind power, provided they do not harm birds or their habitats.”

    They went on to say that: “In the UK, we have not so far witnessed any major adverse effects on birds associated with wind farms.”

    Friends of the Earth commented: “There is no conclusive evidence that wind turbines present more of a danger to birds than other structures, such as pylons or roads, when properly sited.”

  • forrest allen brown

    until you come up with cold fusion
    nuclear is the only way to make the type of power needed
    as coal , natural gas ,oil are getting to high to use .

    and daming rivers or current genators have the tree hugers up in arms .

    like the wind systems in brasil ,the US , all over the world the people are
    wanting them stoped as it kills some birds .

    the world as a hole needs to have nuclear cops to maintain them and the people and countries that have them
    should have to pass test on the safe opration

  • Craig B.

    Not Unknown! Not Uneducated! Read the Court of Audit Report!! (response to Jay Glenn)
    Do you think the proponents of nuclear energy plants in the US and Russia thought the safeguards used in those plants (which resulted in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island disasters) were any less safe than what you believe France’s current technology to be? The chair of the investigation into the Three Mile Island disaster, John Kemeny, said: “The plants are safe; it’s the people who aren’t. The report from the Brazilian Court of Audit shows that Brazil has neither safe plants nor safe people!

    The bottom line: Can anyone guarantee the safety of these enormously poisonous nuclear wastes for 10,000 years? Think about it.

    Your infatuation with the French nuclear technology is unwarranted. It is not true that France’s nuclear energy record is unblemished:
    In July 2008, 18,000 litres (4,755 Gallons) of Uranium solution containing natural uranium were accidentally released from Tricastin Nuclear Power Center. Testing found elevated uranium levels in the nearby GaffiÀƒ¨re and Lauzon rivers. The liquid that escaped to the ground contained about 75kg of unenriched uranium which is toxic as a heavy metal while possessing only slight radioactivity. French authorities have banned the use of water from the GaffiÀƒ¨re and Lauzon for drinking and watering of crops. Swimming, water sports and fishing were also banned. This incident has been classified as Level 1 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Again in July 2008, approximately 100 employees of were exposed to radioactive particles that escaped from a pipe in a reactor that had been shut down. Just level 1 incidents, but proof that the French technology is not fool-proof.

    We both want Brazil to be able to meet its energy needs as the nation enjoys abundant economic growth. But not all that glitters is gold. I am not a Luddite. Brazil must be sagacious and do the right thing at this critical juncture. Brazil is perhaps the nation most blessed by Mother Nature. Woo her properly and she will give (“Plantando da'”!). But splitting the atom is a rude poke in her ribs. And, as i said before, nuclear energy is folly for ANY nation.

  • forrest allen brown

    and yet the US goes after Iran and north Keora for building or trying to build nukes for power and bombs


    does that make you think the US political system beleives brasil
    can never build a bomb ??????

    or sence they are a some what democratic socity we should not bother
    ourselves with them



    1.Chernobyl was a CARBON PILE REACTOR, one of twelve in the world.
    No country but the former Soviet Union used them. ( Cheep and easy to Build)
    Is Brazil like that?
    2The 28 Killed instantly were killed by the explosion of commercial and industrial infrastructure not radiation.
    3The 209 with acute radiation poisoning was from not having the appropriate radiation protection gear to fight the fires. IS Brazil like that?
    4Three Mile Island happened because poorly trained personnel over road the computers, the same computers that would have shut down the plant before and exposure would have happened. ( ITS CALLED A SCRAM)
    5 Three Mile Island released XE133 Gas, yes it did. NOAA Released ten times that amount every Wednesday from a research center in Georgia. ( to track the Jet Stream)
    6Nuclear waste is being stored safely by a glass encapsulation process and stored in France; it heats 12,000 homes carbon free. For how many hundred of thousands of years?
    7Nuclear waste decays to nothing but ignorance lives on for generations. We once thought the Earth was flat, the Sun revolved around the Earth, and witches should be burned at the stake.
    8Transporting Nuclear waste can be done safely itˢ۪s done every day. Moving C 17, F 9, I 53, Hg 80 are all dangerous and have caused more deaths than nuclear waste.

    BY the way I was at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. My facts are first hand!

  • Craig B.

    Nuclear Folly
    Nuclear energy in any country is folly. The dangers are too great and Brazil should adopt a saner approach to its energy needs. It has the creativity to find “um jeitinho” instead of the poisonous path of nuclear energy. Please read:

    Risk of Accident
    On April 26, 1986 the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl power plant (in the former U.S.S.R., present-day Ukraine) exploded, causing the worst nuclear accident ever.
    30 people were killed instantly, including 28 from radiation exposure, and a further 209 on site were treated for acute radiation poisoning.
    The World Health Organization found that the fallout from the explosion was incredibly far-reaching. For a time, radiation levels in Scotland, over 1400 miles (about 2300 km) away, were 10,000 times the norm.
    Thousands of cancer deaths were a direct result of the accident.
    The accident cost the former Soviet Union more than three times the economical benefits accrued from the operation of every other Soviet nuclear power plant operated between 1954 and 1990.
    In March of 1979 equipment failures and human error contributed to an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the worst such accident in U.S. history. Consequences of the incident include radiation contamination of surrounding areas, increased cases of thyroid cancer, and plant mutations.
    According to the US House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, “Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences (CRAC2) for US Nuclear Power PlantsÀ¢€Â (1982, 1997), an accident at a US nuclear power plant could kill more people than were killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

    Environmental Degradation
    All the steps in the complex process of creating nuclear energy entail environmental hazards.
    The mining of uranium, as well as its refining and enrichment, and the production of plutonium produce radioactive isotopes that contaminate the surrounding area, including the groundwater, air, land, plants, and equipment. As a result, humans and the entire ecosystem are adversely and profoundly affected.
    Some of these radioactive isotopes are extraordinarily long-lived, remaining toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Presently, we are only beginning to observe and experience the consequences of producing nuclear energy

    Nuclear Waste
    Nuclear waste is produced in many different ways. There are wastes produced in the reactor core, wastes created as a result of radioactive contamination, and wastes produced as a byproduct of uranium mining, refining, and enrichment. The vast majority of radiation in nuclear waste is given off from spent fuel rods.
    A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive until it naturally decays.
    The rate of decay of a radioactive isotope is called its half-life, the time in which half the initial amount of atoms present takes to decay. The half-life of Plutonium-239, one particularly lethal component of nuclear waste, is 24,000 years.
    The hazardous life of a radioactive element (the length of time that must elapse before the material is considered safe) is at least 10 half-lives. Therefore, Plutonium-239 will remain hazardous for at least 240,000 years.
    There is a current proposal to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
    The plan is for Yucca Mountain to hold all of the high level nuclear waste ever produced from every nuclear power plant in the US. However, that would completely fill up the site and not account for future waste.
    Transporting the wastes by truck and rail would be extremely dangerous.
    Repository sites in Australia, Argentina, China, southern Africa, and Russia have also been considered.
    Though some countries reprocess nuclear waste (in essence, preparing it to send through the cycle again to create more energy), this process is banned in the U.S. due to increased proliferation risks, as the reprocessed materials can also be used for making bombs. Reprocessing is also not a solution because it just creates additional nuclear waste.
    The best action would be to cease producing nuclear energy (and waste), to leave the existing waste where it is, and to immobilize it. There are a few different methods of waste immobilization. In the vitrification process, waste is combined with glass-forming materials and melted. Once the materials solidify, the waste is trapped inside and can’t easily be released.

    Brazil can be successful on a more natural path.

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