Brazil’s Angra III nuclear power plant has been granted a construction license by the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission, regulators said.
Authorization to break ground on the project was given Monday to state-owned Eletrobrás Eletronuclear, which is in charge of the project and can now begin construction immediately.
Construction of Brazil’s third nuclear power plant is expected to take 66 months, the official Agência Brasil reported. Angra III is being built in Angra dos Reis, a city on the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.
Two other nuclear reactors, which were started in the 1970s and took more than two decades to complete, are already in operation at the site.
Angra II, which has the capacity to generate 1,350 MW of electricity, has been operating since 1999, but construction of the plant started in 1975, following the inauguration of neighboring Angra I, which has a generating capacity of 657 MW.
Angra III, which will have a generating capacity of 1,405 MW, will create 9,000 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs during the construction phase.
The nuclear power plant is expected to cost some US$ 4.94 billion and will employ about 500 people once it is completed.
Regulators had previously approved site preparation and the construction of administrative offices at the power complex.
The Angra III license cost US$ 20 million and took four years to obtain. The next phase in the Angra III project involves obtaining a license to transport nuclear material, with issuance expected in 2014, when the power plant is expected to be in the final stage of construction.
The Brazilian government, under a plan crafted by the Energy and Mines Ministry, is studying the construction of up to four 1,000 MW nuclear power plants that would enter service gradually, with completion of the project by 2030.
Brazil wants to use its enormous proven uranium reserves, which rank as the sixth-largest in the world, as the foundation for its nuclear program and the country also dominates the full uranium-enrichment process through state-owned INB.
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