This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in Brazil, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operations of nuclear power plants.
The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in Brazil.
1. COUNTRY ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. Energy Information
1.1.1. Energy Policy
At the end of the 1990s, the Brazilian energy sector faced deep changes, evolving two different fronts: (i) the privatization of state owned electric companies (nuclear generation and power transmission were not included); (ii) the restructuring of the electric sector as a whole (deregulation). The government has decided to focus the role of the state on policy-making and market regulation, phasing out its previous involvement as owner of the major economic agents.
In that context, the Federal Government created two agencies responsible for regulation and inspection of the electricity sector - Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) and the oil and gas sector - Brazilian Agency for Oil, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP).
As a consequence of the introduction of different private agents owning generation plants in the same river, it was necessary to create an organism that decides how much energy will be generated by each agent. With this responsibility, the private organism called Brazilian System Operator (ONS) was created.
As stated in the first article of law 9,478, the Brazilian energy policy is composed by 11 objectives, shown below.
Preserve the national interest.
Promote development, expand the labour market and enhance energy resources.
Protect the interests of consumers with regard to price, quality and availability of products.
Protect the environment and promote energy conservation.
Ensure the supply of petroleum products throughout the national territory, in accordance with the Constitution.
Increase the use of natural gas in economic bases.
Identify the most appropriate solutions for the supply of electricity in different regions of the country.
Use alternative energy sources, through the economic use of inputs available and applicable technologies.
Promote free competition.
Attract investment in energy production.
Increase the country competitiveness in the international market.
According to the studies of the 2021 Brazilian Energy Plan, Domestic Energy Supply – the energy required to boost the economy – reaches 399.5 million toe in 2024, corresponding to a 31% growth over 2014. This rate matches that predicted for the GDP, which corresponds to a 36% growth.
Renewable sources continue to increase their participation in the energy matrix, from 39.4% in 2014 to 45.2% in 2024. Bagasse, ethanol, wind, biodiesel and other renewables increase their participation in detriment of hydro and wood.
According to the Brazilian National Communication in COP-15 Greenhouse gas emissions related to energy usage shall not surpass 680 million tCO2 in 2020. The National 10 year energy Plan accommodates for this scenario.
1.1.2. Estimated Available Energy
Brazil has one of the largest hydroelectric potentials in the world. The hydro resources located in the north-east, south-east and south of the country have already been thoroughly surveyed. The hydroelectric potential of north and central west regions, which cover practically Brazil's Amazon area, are being tapped to partially meet both regional and national electric needs. Brazilian estimated energy reserves are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. ESTIMATED ENERGY RESERVES
|Estimated available energy sources|
|Unit||106 t||103 m3||103 m3||t U3O8||GW||-|
|Measured/Indicated/ Inventoried||25 742||2 572 700||471 148||177 500||110.38||-|
|Inferred/Estimated||6 535||2 477 130||388 689||131 870||25.7||-|
|Total||32 277||5 049 830||859 837||309 370||136.0||-|
|Oil Equivalent4 (103 toe)||7 027 666||2 289 703||467 850||1 254 681||83 082||-|
|Total amount in Exajoule (EJ)||294||96||20||53||4||-|
1 Considers recovery of 70% and heating value of 3,900 kcal/kg.
2 Based on capacity factor of 55%. The oil equivalent value refers to one year generation.
3 Only losses due to mining and beneficiation are considered. The plutonium reprocessing was not considered.
4 Calculated using only measured, indicated and inventoried reserves.
* Solid, Liquid: Million tons; Gas: Billion m3; Uranium: Metric tons; Hydro, Renewable: TW
Source: Energetic National Balance https://ben.epe.gov.br/downloads/Relatorio_Final_BEN_2015.pdf
1.1.3. Energy Statistics
Historically, the expansion of the energy sector represented a dynamic aspect in the process of industrialization and modernization of economic and social structures in Brazil. This expansion has provided the energy needed for this process and has stimulated the development of productive sectors. During the last decades, Brazilian development was mainly induced by the State's direct action. Table 2 shows the historical energy statistics.
Table 2. ENERGY STATISTICS
|Average annual growth rate (%)|
|1970||1980||1990||2000||2005||2014*||2000 to 2014|
|Net import (Import - Export)||19299||47651||36969||32323||40184||51383||3.4|
* Latest available data
** Energy consumption = Primary energy consumption + Net import (Import - Export) of secondary energy.
*** Solid fuels include coal, lignite
Source: Energetic National Balance https://ben.epe.gov.br/BENSeriesCompletas.aspx
1.2. The Electricity System
1.2.1. Electricity System and Decision Making Process
Up to early 1960's, the Brazilian electric utilities had no central co-ordination. Operation and planning activities were limited to independent utility requirements, resulting in isolated or poorly integrated systems. Rapid growth in industrialization led to an inter-regional integration, creating expansion opportunities for the electric companies outside their geographical areas. This integration gave rise to increased supply reliability and provided great benefits due to economy of scale.
In 1962, the federal government established a holding company, ELETROBRAS, with the objectives of organizing, coordinating and planning all activities of the sector at the national level. ELETROBRAS is attached to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. ELETROBRAS is an open corporation with shares negotiated in the domestic and overseas capital markets. At this time, it co-ordinates the whole electricity sector concerning technical, financial and administrative aspects. ELETROBRAS is the major shareholder of the federal companies and is a minor shareholder in the companies owned by Brazilian states. ELETROBRAS is also the main shareholder of ELETRONUCLEAR, the Brazilian nuclear utility.
A large generation company, ITAIPU Binational, was founded in 1973 by Brazil and Paraguay to manage the ITAIPU hydropower plant of 12,600 MW capacity located at the border of both countries. The majority of the energy produced by ITAIPU is consumed in the Brazilian market and is transmitted from there by two different transmission systems: a direct current (600 kV) and a high voltage one high voltage AC (750 kV).
Institutional reforms and privatizations in the 90’s caused the ELETROBRAS to lose some of its functions and to have its profile changed. In this period, the company also started to operate, by legal and transitory order, in the distribution of electric power, through companies in the states of Alagoas, Piauí, Rondônia, Acre, Roraima and Amazonas.
During the 1990’s, the electric sector was deregulated. Many generation and distribution units were privatized, so that a great part of this sector was reformulated. State owned Eletrobras still has the subsidiares: Eletrobras Chesf, Eletrobras Furnas, Eletrobras Eletrosul, Eletrobras Eletronorte, Eletrobras CGTEE and Eletrobras Eletronuclear. Many of these firms have generation units and transmission lines.
In 2004, new regulation of the sector excluded Eletrobras from the National Privatization Program (PND).
The Eletrobras Group also distributes electric energy in the Brazilian states of Alagoas, Piauí, Rondônia, Acre, Roraima e Amazonas. Today, the electric distribution in the more industrialized states or those with great population is made by private firms. Finally, the Eletrobras Group owns the greatest research center in electric energy of the southern Hemisphere (Eletrobras Cepel), a strategic participation firm (Eletrobras Eletropar) and half of the capital of the bi-national firm Itaipu.
Presently, nationwide, Eletrobras has installed capacity of 41,621 MW, including 50% of the power of the Itaipu plant belonging to Brazil, and has 56,179 km of transmission lines in operation, in high and extra-high voltage.
The Eletrobras companies operate in an integrated way, with policies and guidelines defined by the High Council of Eletrobras System (Consise), consisting of the presidents of the companies, who meet on a regular basis. Eletrobras supports government strategic programs, such as the program that fosters alternative electric power sources (Proinfa), the National Program for Universal Access To and Use of Electric Power (Luz para Todos) and the National Program for Electric Power Conservation (Procel).
In 2012, companies owned by Brazilian states and private companies, along the companies of Eletrobras Group, were responsible for the electric generation, transportation and distribution in different regions, which satisfied all the Brazilian demand.
Today, 80% of these distribution companies, previously owned by Brazilian states are now owned by the private sector due to the privatization program. About 75% of the generating capacity in the country is still government owned.
Hydroelectric power plays a paramount role in the Brazilian electricity system. However, there has been an continuous increase in thermal power generation. This is due to the fact that most new hydroelectric plants have little or no reservoir capacity. In this context, the new energetic long range plan (PNE - 2030) is considering the possibility of using thermal base generation, including domestic sources, such as coal and nuclear. The nuclear power plant ANGRA 3 has been included in the middle range electricity plan and projected to be in operation early next decade.
1.2.2. Structure of Electric Power Sector
The reform of the Brazilian Electric Sector began in 1993 with the enactment of Law 8.631, which extinguished the equalization of the tariffs that were in effect and created supply contracts between generators and distributors, and which was enhanced by the enactment of Law 9.074, of 1995, that created the Independent Producer of Electric Power and the concept of Free Consumer.
In 1996, the Restructuring Project for the Brazilian Electric Sector was implemented (Project RE-SEB), coordinated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The paramount conclusions for the project were the need to implement the deverticalization of the electric power companies, that is, to split them up into the generation, transmission and distribution segments, to incentivize competition in the segments of generation and commercialization, and to keep the segments of distribution and transmission of electric power under regulation, considered to be natural monopolies under control of the State.
The need to create a regulating agency was identified (Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency - ANEEL), as well as to create an operator for the national electric system (National Operator of the Electric System - ONS), and an environment to accomplish electric power purchase and resale transactions - the Wholesale Market for Electric Power (MAE).
Concluded in August of 1998, the RE-SEB Project defined the conceptual and institutional frame of the model to be implemented for the Brazilian Electric Sector.
In 2001, the electric system underwent a serious supply crisis which culminated in a electric power rationing plan. This event generated a series of questionings about the course the electric sector was taking. Purporting to adapt the model being implemented, the Committee for the Revitalization of the Electric Sector Model was instituted in 2002, whose work resulted in an agglomerate of change proposals for the Brazilian electric sector.
During 2003 and 2004, the Federal Government set the foundations for a new model for the Brazilian Electric Sector, supported by Laws nos. 10.847 and 10.848, dated March 15, 2004, and by Decree no. 5.163, dated July 30, 2004.
In this sense, the changes introduced by Law 10.848/2004, have the following objectives: promote low tariffs, ensuring security of supply, and create a stable regulatory framework. The main instrument for low tariffs is the auction for procurement of power by distribution, with a lowest rate criterion. Security of supply is based on the following principles: all power distributors must hire 100% of its load, each power sales contract must have a physical ballast generation, so that there are no contracts without a corresponding physical capacity supply.
The efficient construction of new projects is made possible through the following measures: specific auctions for hiring new ventures for generation of energy; bilateral long-term contracts between the distribution and the winners of auctions, with guaranteed transfer of acquisition costs energy tariffs to final consumers, and preliminary environmental license of hydro candidates.
The creation of a stable regulatory framework requires a clear definition of roles and responsibilities of institutional actors. In particular, the model explains the strategic role of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, as the body representative of the Union, reinforces the functions of regulation, supervision and mediation of the ANEEL, and organizes the planning functions of expansion, operation and marketing.
The Brazilian Power Sector
The New Model establishes a number of measures to be followed by the Agents, such as a requirement for distributors and free consumers to contract for their entire demands; a new methodology to calculate physical coverage of power sale contracts; a way of contracting for hydro and thermal energy so that a better balance between supply cost and safety is assured; a permanent supply safety monitoring structure to detect possible imbalances between supply and demand.
Distributors have to purchase electricity at the regulated contracting environment through least-price auctions, in order to minimize the acquisition costs of electricity to be passed on to the tariffs of captive consumers.
The New Model also includes social insertion initiatives, by promoting the universalization of access and use of electricity to those citizens who do not enjoy this benefit yet, as well as by ensuring subsidies to low income consumers so that they can bear the costs of their power bills. These initiatives are to be funded by the Energy Development Account (CDE).
1.2.3. Main Indicators
The Brazilian electric system’s main peculiarities are a large extension of transmission lines and a predominantly hydraulics electricity generation system. The consumer market is concentrated in the more industrialized region of the country, the Southeast (51.13%), but the South (17.8%) and the Northeast (17.0%) regions also have some participation. The North region is supplied mainly by small generating plants, the majority being thermoelectric (oil).
Tables 6 and 7 show the more relevant data concerning Brazilian electricity production and installed capacity. Electricity output in 2014 amounted to 590 TWh – 68.3% – originated from hydroelectric sources, 8.6 % from fossil fuelled plants and 2.6 % from nuclear plants.
Electricity consumption per capita increased from 2,116 kWh in 2010 to 2,335 kWh in 2014.
During the last decade, residential, rural and commercial electricity consumption has had a significant increase; however, the industrial segment experienced a much lower growth, mainly due to the use of more efficient technologies and rationalization measures imposed on the use of electricity.
Table 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION AND INSTALLED CAPACITY
|Average annual growth rate (%)|
|1974||1980||1990||2000||2005||2006||2014||2000 to 2014*|
|Capacity of electrical plants (MW)|
|- other renewable(2)||0||0||0||0||3932||4337||18791||19.0|
|Electricity production (GW.h)||2006-2014|
|- other renewable||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||20694||31525||6.2|
|- Total (1)||71699||139383||222820||348921||403031||419337||590479||5.0|
Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.
The available statistics include, by 2005, the installed capacity of biomass in thermal portion. (AAGR related to 2005-2014 - period)
* Latest available data
Source: Statistical Yearbook of Electric Power http://www.epe.gov.br/AnuarioEstatisticodeEnergiaEletrica/...
Table 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIO
|Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita)||29.3||39.3||41.9||44.4||49.0||63.4|
|Electricity consumption per capita (kW.h/capita)||478||1 139||1 713||2 251||2 374||3 092|
|Electricity production/Energy production (%)||7.9||18.0||17.8||19.6||17.3||18.6|
|Nuclear/Total electricity (%)||0||0||0.8||1.7||2.4||2.6|
|Ratio of external dependency (%) (1)||28.7||41.5||26.2||18.0||18.3||17.8|
(1) Net import / Total energy consumption.
* Latest available data
Source: Energetic National Balance https://ben.epe.gov.br/default.aspx (Table 5.1)
2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION
2.1. Historical Development and Current Nuclear Power Organizational Structure
In 1970, a decision was made to build Brazil's first nuclear power station through an international bid. The contract of a turn-key project for a 626 MW(e) PWR reactor (ANGRA 1) was awarded to Westinghouse Electric Corporation of the United States of America. ANGRA 1 construction started in 1971, and first criticality was achieved ten years later.
In 1975, in an effort to become self-sufficient in nuclear power generation, Brazil signed an agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany to build eight 1,300
MW(e) reactors (PWR Biblis B type) over a period of 15 years. Under this agreement, two of these units (ANGRA 2 and ANGRA 3) were scheduled for construction on the following year, with most of their components imported from Kraftwerk Union's (KWU) shops in Germany. According to this agreement, the rest of the plants were to contain 90% Brazilian-made components. The Brazil-Germany agreement created the Empresas Nucleares Brasileiras (NUCLEBRAS) as the Brazilian stated-owned nuclear holding company. Additionally, several subsidiaries (joint companies) were established to achieve nuclear technology transfer from Germany.
The Brazilian nuclear regulatory body is the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN), responsible for licensing nuclear power plants and nuclear facilities; performing regulatory activities; and training and organizing personnel, according to Law 4,118 of 1962. In the early 1980's, the Brazilian Navy started a nuclear propulsion program. The Navy's main activity has been the development of uranium enrichment by using the ultracentrifuge process. Success was achieved by the end of the decade, which has continued through the 1990's.
Due to several factors (especially financial problems) the Brazilian-German technology transfer program was forestalled. ANGRA 2 and ANGRA 3 construction was interrupted several times, resulting in further delay in the Brazilian nuclear program. Due to Brazil's foreign debt and high inflation, with added pressures from the privatization program and budget cuts, the Brazilian nuclear program was reorganized at the end of the 1980's.
In 1988, a new company, Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil SA (INB) replaced NUCLEBRAS and its subsidiaries, with limited authority. INB became responsible for rare earths, mining of nuclear minerals, and yellow cake and nuclear fuel production assuming FEC, NUCLEMON and CIPC activities. FEC, renamed as Nuclear Complex of Resende, was transformed in an INB Directorate. Both INB and NUCLEP, responsible for heavy equipment fabrication, became CNEN's subsidiaries. However, both companies, INB and NUCLEP, report directly to the Ministry of Science and Technology and are administratively independent from CNEN. Responsibility for the construction of nuclear power stations was transferred to the state-owned utility, FURNAS/ELETROBRAS, incorporating NUCON activities. NUCLEN was maintained responsible as nuclear power plant architect and engineer.In 1997, the architect engineering company NUCLEN, merged with the nuclear directorate of FURNAS, a utility responsible for the bulk supply of electricity for most developed region of Brazil. The new company, named ELETRONUCLEAR - ELETROBRAS Termonuclear S/A., is responsible for design, procurement & follow- up of Brazilian and foreign equipment's, management of construction, erection and commissioning of nuclear power plants and is the sole owner and operator of nuclear power plants in the country. Siemens sold its 25% holding in NUCLEN to ELETROBRAS when ELETRONUCLEAR was formed. NUCLEI and NUCLAM were disbanded.
2.1.2. Current Organizational Structure
The organizational structure of Brazil's nuclear sector and the relationships among different organizations are shown in Figure 1. The National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN), is the regulatory body, which reports to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT). ELETROBRAS, responsible for planning and coordinating all activities of the electrical sector at national level, is under the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The remaining organizations are discussed in the following sections.
FIG. 1. Organization Structure for Nuclear Energy Development in Brazil
2.2. Nuclear Power Plants: Status and Operations
2.2.1. Status and Performance of Nuclear Power Plants
Hydroelectric power plays a paramount role in the Brazilian electricity system while thermal power plants (conventional and nuclear) are lower contributors to national electricity supply.
The ANGRA 1 nuclear power plant located between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, has a net capacity of 626 MW(e). It started commercial operation in December 1984. During the period 1985-1989, the plant experienced two unscheduled outages due to problems on the main condenser and main electric generator.
Construction of ANGRA 2 nuclear power plant began in January, 1976, but due to financial problems the construction of the unit was slowed down and was halted several times. The economic recovery of the second half of the 90's led to the acceleration of the unit's construction. This reactor became critical on July 14, 2000. On July 21st, 2000, at 10:16 pm, ANGRA 2 was synchronized for the first time to the Brazilian interconnected electrical grid. ANGRA 2 trial operation (a test phase of continuous operation at a 100% power level) was successfully completed on December, 2000. In February, 2001 Angra 2 started commercial operation.
The third nuclear station (ANGRA 3), a 1,405 MW(e) PWR reactor, and similar to ANGRA 2, was acquired from Siemens/KWU together with ANGRA 2. ANGRA 3 has about 70 per cent of the design work completed and 70 per cent of the imported major equipment already manufactured and stored on site. The civil works and electro-mechanical assembly activities were postponed in 1991. ELETRONUCLEAR and several independent consulting firms developed technical and economic feasibility studies for ANGRA 3, which were submitted to government authorities. Finally, on July 1st 2010, the construction of ANGRA 3 was resumed with the first concrete pouring in the Reactor Building. So far 43% of the engineering work has been completed. It is expected that Angra 3 will be connected to the grid early of the next decade, by which time it will add 1405 MW to the Brazilian electrical output.
ANGRA 1, since December 1984, has operated at full capacity, on several occasions, when it was necessary. In March 1993, the plant experienced problems with some fuel rods. It resumed energy production in December 1994. From 1994 on, the performance of ANGRA 1 followed a more reliable path, reaching its generation record in 1999, 3,976.9 GWh, with an availability factor of 96%. However, due to the restriction to operate at a maximum of 80% capacity, to ensure the safe operation of its Steam Generators, ANGRA 1 had unsatisfactory performance until 2009, when the steam generators were replaced. Since then the plant has operated at a level of excellence, having broken its generation records, consequently, in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
In July, 2002, the National Electric Power Agency approved the new installed capacity value of 1,350 MW for ANGRA 2. ANGRA 1 and ANGRA 2 play an important role in the reliability of the southeast electric system (predominantly of hydro origin), assuring continuous electric power supply to the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, where local water resources are virtually exhausted and power supply depends on long transmission lines. In 2012, ANGRA 1 and ANGRA 2 generated 16,040,790.5 GWh, with load factors of 96.0 and 89.8%, respectively.
Table 5. STATUS OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).|
|Note: Table 7 is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.|
2.3. Future Development of Nuclear Power Sector
2.3.1. Nuclear Power Development Strategy
The governmental long term energy planning document calls for the increase in nuclear generation capacity of 4.000 MW by the year 2030. To meet this demand, Eletronuclear conducted a site selection process based on the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) methodology and has identified a few candidate areas for final governmental decision. In parallel, work is being done on technology qualification and also on the business model for the new plants, which will be built in partnership with private enterprises.
2.4. Organizations Involved in Construction of NPPs
Two companies related to nuclear power plant engineering and component supply are active in the nuclear sector: NUCLEP and ELETRONUCLEAR - ELETROBRAS Termonuclear S/A.
NUCLEP was established to design and fabricate heavy nuclear power plant components, especially those used in the reactor primary circuit. NUCLEP is specialized in fabrication of large components made from steel, nickel, and titanium alloys. It maintains modern quality control laboratories, outfitted with precision instruments, qualified and certified according to international standards, for mechanical, chemical and metallurgical testing. NUCLEP assembled the new Steam Generators for Angra 1.
ELETRONUCLEAR is responsible for design, procurement & follow-up of Brazilian and foreign equipment, management of construction, erection and commissioning of nuclear power plants and is the sole owner and operator of nuclear power plants in the country.
2.5. Organizations Involved in Operation of NPPs
ELETRONUCLEAR is the only utility responsible for construction and operation of Brazilian nuclear power plants ANGRA 1 and 2. The ANGRA site has a PWR/ANGRA 2 simulator in operation since 1985, and in 2015 a simulator for ANGRA 1 was inaugurated. The Angra 2 simulators have provided operator-training services for utilities from countries such as Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Argentina, which operate nuclear power plants supplied by KWU.
During 2012, Eletronuclear finished the Periodic Safety Review (PSR), in compliance with condition No. 20 Authorization Operation Permanent (AOP) of Angra 2 issued by CNEN Resolution No. 106 of 14 June, 2011. This work was conducted from August 2011 to October 2012, by a multidisciplinary team of Eletronuclear. Based on the results of the PSR, Angra 2 has operated in a safe manner during the last 10 years, without any safety issue of great relevance. The few deficiencies found as well as the set of opportunities for improvement identified, should be integrated into the continuous improvement program through Plant Action Plans, prioritized as to their relevance to safety.
2.6. Organizations Involved in Decommissioning of NPPs
The Brazilian NPPs are fully operational. Decommissioning standard was issued in 2012 and correlated activities are in planning stage. Funds for these activities are being consolidated.
2.7. Fuel Cycle Including Waste Management
Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil S.A. INB, a state company which has succeed NUCLEBRAS, has as its main goal the implementation of industrial units related to nuclear fuel cycle for NPPs. Nowadays, in Brazil, there are industrial units for: uranium mining and milling, isotopic enrichment, reconversion, pellet production and fuel element assembly. The mineral exploration program carried out in the last decades resulted in the discovery of new deposits that projected Brazil to be the seventh geological resource in the world, responsible for 11% of that total. It should be taken into account that only 50% of favourable areas of the Brazilian territory have been prospected.
Mining and milling
Systematic prospecting and exploration of radioactive minerals in Brazil began in 1952. The exploration was accelerated by the availability of funds for this purpose from 1970 onwards. There was active exploration and many occurrences were identified through the use of geological, geophysical and geochemical surveys, and related research. From 1974 to 1991, the total amount spent in uranium exploration was equivalent to US$ 150 million. With changes in nuclear policies and, consequently, uranium requirements, investments fell sharply. Since 1991, uranium prospecting was limited to the surroundings of the Caetité production plant.
Brazilian uranium resources occur in a number of geological environments and, consequently, belong to several deposit types; Some of them hosted in near surface. In addition to known resources, there is a high potential for further discovery of economic uranium deposits.
Brazil has been producing uranium since 1982. Between 1982 and 1995 the cumulative uranium production was 1,030 tU from the Poços de Caldas Unit and 3120 tU from the Caetité Unit, the only commercial plant currently in operation. Since March 2000, Brazilian short term uranium concentrate production capability has been 340 tU/year.
Expansion of milling capacity of Caetité to 670 tU/year has been studied. After the planned expansion of Caetité, INB will concentrate on the development of Santa Quiteria deposits. However, since uranium will be a coproduct of phosphate, the feasibility of the project depends mainly on the phosphate market. Direct employment in Brazilian uranium industry is rising. Losses caused by closure of the Poços de Caldas Unit were offset by increases associated with the beginning of operation and planned expansion of the Caetité Unit.
Uranium production in Brazil is only for domestic use. All uranium concentrate produced is shipped to other countries for conversion and enrichment and then returned to Brazil for fuel fabrication.
Brief information on main uranium sites is given below:
Poços de Caldas Site
Lagoa Real Site (Caetité Unit)
Santa Quiteria Site
The Poços de Caldas Site is located at one of the biggest alkaline intrusions in the world. Discovered in 1948, this deposit was developed into an open pit mine. Poços de Caldas Unit started production in 1982 with a design capacity of 425 tU/year.
Since the exploration of the uranium deposit was no longer economically feasible, the Poços de Caldas Unit ceased operations in 1995. After two years of standing by, it was finally shut down in 1997. The closure planning and rehabilitation actions are still under development.
The closure of Poços de Caldas Unit in 1997 brought to an end the exploitation of a low grade ore deposit, which produced vast amounts of waste rock. Studies for proper decommissioning are being conducted by INB. The operational costs of collecting, pumping, and treating acid drainage were estimated to be US$ 610,000 per year. With the end of the mine exploitation, INB in the first half of last decade used the industrial facilities for other projects such as monazite chemical processing and rare earth production. The project was aborted some years after due to market reasons.
Caetité is currently the only operating uranium site in Brazil. The deposits were discovered in 1977 and its known resources were estimated to be 85,000 tU in the below US$ 80/KgU cost category, averaging 0.30% U3O8. There are 35 occurrences detected, 12 of which were considered uranium ore deposits. Cachoeira deposits are mined by open pit methods. Surface acid heap leaching methods are used. The plant has a design capacity to produce 400 t/year of uranium concentrate (which is enough to meet the needs of both Angra 1 and Angra 2 nuclear power plants) and there are plans for expansion.
Mining activities, decommissioning planning, and area rehabilitation are done simultaneously. Monitoring programs are implemented to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements. As part of the regulatory licensing process, INB has done an independent hydrogeological assessment of the local aquifer.
Feasibility studies and basic project for Caetité Unit expansion have been carried out. The expansion will increase annual production capacity, which will double current production levels. The cost of expansion is estimated to be US$ 90.0 million.
Discovered in 1976, Itataia deposits account for almost 50% of the total known low cost resources. After signing a partnership agreement with a Brazilian fertilizer producer, the project applied for construction license in 2012, expected to be granted in 2016. The operation is scheduled for 2018 and the nominal uranium production capacity 1200 tU per year of conversion
As part of the Brazilian Navy nuclear propulsion programme, a UF6 pilot plant with a nominal production capacity of 40 tU/year is under construction at the Navy Research Institute (CTMSP), located in Iperó (100 Km from São Paulo INB is planning on having a commercial plant next decade. A feasibility study is under way.
As part of its nuclear propulsion program, the Brazilian Navy installed in Iperó (100 km from Sao Paulo) a demonstration enrichment centrifuge pilot plant. Subsequently, the Brazilian Government decided to start an industrial plant in Resende, Rio de Janeiro, using the technology developed by the Navy. The first cascade was inaugurated in May 2006 and the complete set of cascades is intended to be in operation in five years, in order to partially meet the ANGRA 1 and ANGRA 2 needs.
In December 2008, the second cascade of the first module of the industrial plant began operation. The operation of the third and fourth cascades, completing the first module, began in June, 2010. The construction of the second module of the industrial plant, with a new set of cascades, began in 2011.
The enrichment facility in operation has an installed capacity that accounts for 12% of the fuel used in the two power plants. Whereas full capacity in the enrichment process at national level has not yet been achieved, the goal of the Nuclear Industries of Brazil (INB) continues to be achieving self sufficiency, as is already the case in the subsequent phases of the nuclear fuel cycle.
A future increase of the capacity will depend on technical evaluations and financial resources availability.
The Nuclear Fuel Factory (FCN) is located at Resende, state of Rio de Janeiro, comprising three units, i.e. UO2 powder reconversion, pellet manufacturing and nuclear fuel assembly. The annual capacity for each plant is 160 metric tons for UO2 powder, 120 tons for pelletizing units and 240 tons for fuel manufacturing. The reconversion and pelletizing units started commercial operation in 2000, while the assembly plant has been in operation since 1982. The FCN plant also produces components for nuclear fuel, such as top and bottom nozzles, for its own needs and for export. The fuel engineering capacity for supporting the activities of INB has been developed and culminated in the design of a new advanced fuel for Angra 1 reactor, in a joint program with KNFC Korea and Westinghouse USA.
Spent Nuclear Fuel and Reprocessing
The technical solution regarding reprocessing or disposal of spent fuel has not been found in Brazil. The solution may take some time, until international consensus is reached. Meanwhile, Brazil continues to monitor the international situation. Currently, there is no decision about final storage of the spent fuel assemblies.
The current Brazilian policy for spent fuel management is the storage at the reactor site. A compact storage rack was installed in ANGRA 1, in 2002, with a capacity of 1,252 fuel assemblies, increasing the storage capacity of the onsite reactor basin. Similarly, the Angra 2 spent fuel pool may store 1092 fuel assemblies.
Considering that the internal spent fuel pools have a limited storage capacity and the final decision about destination in Brazil will take some time, ELETRONUCLEAR has started to design a complementary storage unit on site, called UFC.
There are no facilities or studies on reprocessing in the country. Irradiated fuel is not considered nuclear waste.
Currently, there is no decision about final storage of high level waste.
2.8. Research and Development
2.8.1. R&D Organizations
In Brazil, all nuclear R&D activities are developed by government institutions. They are carried out mainly by CNEN's six R&D Institutes, which are under the Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation, and by military technology institutes, which are under the Ministry of Defense. These ministries are responsible for the establishment of the country nuclear R&D policies and strategies, as well as for the provision of the necessary budget and financing mechanisms to make the corresponding R&D projects feasible.
Six nuclear research centers have been established for carrying out R&D in nuclear sciences, and engineering. Research reactors, accelerators and several R&D laboratories, including pilot plant facilities, were progressively set up in these centers. These research centers belong to the Directorate of Research and Development (DPD) of the CNEN and are listed below:
IPEN (São Paulo/SP) - Institute for Energy and Nuclear Research
Research Reactors: 2 (one 5 MW/pool type and one 100 W reactor/pool type), Cyclotron Radioisotopes Production (99mTc; 131I; 123I; 18F, etc.)
Research on fuel cycle and materials; reactor technology; safety; fundamentals; radiation and radioisotope applications; biotechnology; environmental and waste technologies.
IEN (Rio de Janeiro/RJ) - Institute for Nuclear Engineering Research.
Reactor: 1 (100 kW, ARGONAUTA) Cyclotron Radioisotopes production (123I, 18F, etc.). Research on instrumentation, control and man machine interfaces; chemistry and materials; safety; reactor technology.
CDTN (Belo Horizonte/MG) - Centre for Nuclear Technology Development Research
Reactor: 1 (250 kW, TRIGA). Research on mining; reactor technology; materials, safety; chemistry; environmental and waste technologies.
IRD (Rio de Janeiro/RJ) - Institute for Radiation Protection and Dosimetry Research on radiation protection and safety; environmental technology; metrology; medical physics.
CRCN-NE (Recife/PE) - Nuclear Sciences Regional Centre.
R&D on radiation protection, dosimetry, metrology and reactors technology.
Nuclear Sciences Regional Centre of the Centre-west
R&D on underground water and environmental technologies.
Brazil has an ongoing project to build a Multipurpose Research Reactor (RMB). With a maximum power of 30 MW and powered by uranium silicate enriched up to 20%, it has a neutron flux of over 2x1014 neutrons/cm2·s. Upon completion of its conceptual project, the reactor’s site was chosen and environmental impact assessments were already been conducted.
The RMB aims to provide the country with a science, technology and innovation infrastructure of fundamental importance to the nuclear sector. The project comprises a 30 MW research reactor as well as several associated facilities and laboratories to perform the following functions: radioisotope production, with emphasis to the molybdenum 99 (Mo-99); irradiation tests of nuclear fuels and materials; and scientific research using neutron beams. The reactor’s site has been chosen to be at São Paulo state, and environmental impact assessments have been conducted. Local Approval and Preliminary Environmental License have been issued to RMB by the corresponding nuclear and environmental regulators. Basic engineering design has been concluded and detailed engineering design is to be contracted in early 2016, in cooperation with Argentina.
2.8.2. Development of Advanced and New Generation Nuclear Reactor Systems
Brazil actively participated on the Generation IV International Forum from its beginning until the conclusion of the road map. From that point on, the country became a non-active member.
Brazil has been involved in the IAEA INPRO Project, being a member of the Steering Committee and is presently performing two assessment studies based on the INPRO methodology. The country is also taking part on the IRIS (International Reactor Innovative and Secure) program, a consortium aiming at the development of a small-to-medium power (335 MWe) integral type pressurized water reactor. The CNEN's R&D institutes are participating in specific design activities and some matching researches.
2.8.3. International Co-operation and Initiatives
Brazil is an active member at the International community for promoting the peaceful uses of the nuclear technology. Its role is either as recipient as well as donor. Under de sponsorship of the IAEA roughly 100 trainees come to Brazil annually for fellowship, training courses and scientific visit programmes and 50 nationals go abroad for the same purpose.
In the Latin America and Caribbean region the main fields of cooperation are human health and food safety. Special attention is given to cooperation in radiation protection once Brazil has one of the best infrastructures in the region and is setting up a medical facility for acute radiation syndrome treatment in cooperation with France and IAEA. Brazil is also cooperating with Portuguese speaking countries in Africa to raise their radiation protection profile and training regulators to increase safety in the use of ionizing radiation in those countries.
In the region, Brazil shares NPP with two other countries Argentina and Mexico, although the technological base of the three programmes are different (HWR in Argentina, PWR in Brazil and BWR in Mexico) cooperation in emergency planning and preparedness and safety culture are in place. Trough the IAEA technical cooperation programme Brazil participates also in the activities related to NPP newcomers or those countries that are planning to increase the existing fleet.
Technical cooperation with: European Union, Gesellschaft für Anlagen-und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) and FORO Iberoamericano, on operational on regulatory issues, including probabilistic safety assessment, digital I&C, new fuels, emergency preparedness, severe accidents management, long term operation, Fukushima peer review, regulatory competences in nuclear area, was stablished
The Appendix 1 presents the list of international multilateral and bilateral agreements signed by Brazil.
2.9. Human Resources Development
The human resources development program for the Brazilian nuclear sector aims to meet the needs of human resources for the sector. A few universities offer graduation, specialization and post-graduation courses in the nuclear area and these activities complement the specialization and post-graduation courses offered by technical-scientific units of the DPD/CNEN. The demand for this type of education and training basically depends on the level of implementation of the Brazilian nuclear program and expansion of the use of nuclear techniques in industry, health and agriculture.
Presently, the human resources of CNEN are about 2500 persons, mostly working on nuclear R&D activities. More than 1000 professionals hold jobs on the power generation and fuel cycle nuclear industries (Eletronuclear and INB). R&D staff of the CNEN is composed of high qualified personnel, with half of them holding a university degree and from these about 20% are Ph.D. and 20% are M.Sc.
The main concern in the area of human resources is related to the aging of experts. Efforts in knowledge management and capacity building area are being developed to face the current scenario. The hiring of new staff has also occurred, albeit in moderate way.
2.10. Stakeholder Involvement
The planning basis for on- and off-site emergency preparedness in case of an accident with radiological consequences in the Angra Nuclear Power Station is based on the Emergency Planning Zone concept.
The Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) encompasses the area within a circle with radius of 15 km centered at the Angra1 nuclear power plant. This EPZ is further subdivided in 4 smaller zones with borders at approximately 3, 5, 10 and 15 km from the power plants.
The On-site Emergency Plan covers the area of property of ELETRONUCLEAR, and comprises the first zone (EPZ-1.5 up to ~1.5 km from the power plants). For these areas, the planning as well as all actions and protection countermeasures for control and mitigation of the consequences of a nuclear accident are under ELETRONUCLEAR responsibility.
Brazil has established an extensive structure for emergency preparedness under the Brazilian Nuclear Protection System (SIPRON). In November 21st 2012 the Brazilian President sanctioned the law 12.731 that revokes the law that created the system on October 7th 1980 and institutes the new structure of SIPRON.
The Brazilian Nuclear Protection System is now organized as follows:
A central organization – that is the Institutional Security Cabinet of the
Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil;
Three nuclear emergency response centers, and
Four collegiate bodies.
Both the nuclear response centers and the collegiate bodies include organizations at the federal, state and city levels involved with nuclear emergency preparedness and nuclear security activities as well as those involved with public safety and civil defense.
3. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS
3.1. Regulatory Frameworks
3.1.1. Regulatory Authority(s)
The governmental organization responsible for the licensing of nuclear power plants (NPPs) and other nuclear installations in Brazil is the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN). CNEN, created in 1956, comprises three functionally independent directorates, whose responsibilities are:
Directorate of Radiation Protection and Safety (DRS): Radiation protection, safety, control and conduction of the licensing of nuclear power plants and other nuclear and radiation installations, safeguards and normalization.
Directorate of Research and Development (DPD): fuel cycle and materials; reactor technology; radiation utilization and radioisotopes application in health, industry, agriculture and environment; radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals production; instrumentation & control and man-machine interface; nuclear safety; nuclear physics and chemistry, etc.;
Directorate of Institutional Management (DGI): human resources, administration and information management, financial reporting and control;
In August, 1962, with the enactment of Law No. 4,118, a National Policy on Nuclear Energy was established with the Government monopoly of nuclear materials and nuclear minerals.
3.1.2. Licensing Process
In the early 1970's, due to the needs of the Brazilian Nuclear Power Program, nuclear safety standards started to be used. An extensive set of rules and standards, as listed under section 3.2, regulate the nuclear activities in Brazil. CNEN regulatory staff amounts to more than 300 qualified professionals. The regulatory process involves the issuance of licenses or authorizations as listed below:
Nuclear Material Utilization Authorization;
Initial Operation Authorization;
Permanent Operation Authorization;
Authorization for Decommissioning and
Withdrawal of Regulatory Control
Standards CNEN-NE-1.04 and CNEN-NE-9.01 establish the requirements for the licensing process of nuclear installations. The Initial Operation Authorization is issued after safety analysis approval and for a limited period of time to complete the initial tests and to evaluate the preliminary operational experience. The Permanent Operation Authorization is limited to 40 years. A Periodic Safety Reassessment is conducted every ten years of operation, when the conditions of authorization can be modified or extended. A program of inspections and audits is implemented and regular meetings with operators are held.
During the operational phase of nuclear facilities, periodic safety reports are required. Regulatory safety evaluation is conducted by CNEN through the review of the licensee's reports as well as through periodic inspections. On-site resident inspectors are assigned for permanent supervision of operational safety.
In January, 1999, a law establishing fees and taxes for license and operating authorization was approved by the National Congress and signed by the President of Brazil (Law 9.765/99). It establishes the fees for all phases of the licensing process as well as annual fees for operating units. These fees are directed to a special account to be used by CNEN in its licensing and inspection activities.
In 1981, the Environmental Policy Law was promulgated and, from 1983 to 1989, CNEN was also responsible for conducting the environmental licensing of nuclear installations. In 1989, the Brazilian Institute of Environment (IBAMA) was created and designated to conduct the environmental licensing of all installations, including nuclear facilities. CNEN is the co-authority on radiation aspects related to environmental licensing of nuclear facilities. This co-authority role means that a CNEN assessment has to be considered in the final decision by IBAMA.
Concerning public communication, CNEN listens to public concerns and makes available information and standards through the internet, distributes printed material, responds to e-mails and participates in professional association exhibits, meetings and events. CNEN is permanently open for interviews with the media. CNEN has an internet channel open for all kind of questions made by the population. It also participates in public hearings and meetings whenever invited. Public representatives, such as parliamentarians and officers of the Public Prosecutor's Office, receive timely and factual answers to all questions.
3.2. Main National Laws and Regulations
The Brazilian National Congress approves the legislation related to nuclear activities. CNEN's regulations and standards are based on IAEA standards, commonly used by many nations. The main laws and standards used in Brazil are:
Law No. 4,118: National Policy on Nuclear Energy, 1962.
Law No. 6,189: CNEN's Set-up as Regulatory and Licensing Federal Authority, 1974.
Law No. 2,464: Nuclear Sector Reorganization, 1988.
Law No. 7,781: Revision of Law No. 6,189, 1989.
Law No. 9,765: Licensing, control and inspection tax for nuclear and radioactive materials and utilities, 1999
CNEN's main national standards are available at www.cnen.gov.br. Among these standards, the following can be mentioned:
CNEN-NE-1.01: Licensing of Nuclear Reactors Operators;
CNEN-NE-1.04: Licensing of Nuclear Installations;
CNEN-NE-1.13: Licensing of Uranium and Thorium Mining and Milling Facilities;
CNEN-NE-1.14: Operating Reports of Nuclear Power Plants;
CNEN-NN-1.16: Quality Assurance for Nuclear Power Plants;
CNEN-NE-1.25: In-service Inspections in Nuclear Power Plants;
CNEN-NN-1.26: Safety in Operation of Nuclear Power Plants;
CNEN-NE-1.27: Quality Assurance in Acquisition, Designing and Manufacturing of Fuel Elements
CNEN-NN-1.28: Qualification of Independent Technical Supervisory Organization;
CNEN.NE-2.01: Physical Protection of Operational Units of Nuclear Installations;
CNEN-NN-2.02: Nuclear Material Control and Safeguards;
CNEN-NE-2.03: Fire Protection in Nuclear Power Plants;
CNEN-NE-2.04: Fire Protection in Fuel Cycle Nuclear Installations;
CNEN-NE-3.01: Basic Guidelines for Radiological Protection;
CNEN-NE-3.02: Radiation Protection Services;
CNEN-NE-5.02: Transport Storage and Handling of Nuclear Fuels;
CNEN-NN-7.01: Certification of Qualification of Radiation Protection Officers;
CNEN-NN-8.02: Licensing of Waste Repository for Low and Medium Radioactivity Levels;
CNEN-NE-9.01: Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants;
APPENDIX 1: INTERNATIONAL, MULTILATERAL AND BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
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APPENDIX 2: MAIN ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTIONS AND COMPANIES INVOLVED IN NUCLEAR POWER RELATED ACTIVITIES
Name of report coordinator
Ricardo Fraga Gutterres
Institution – Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear (National Nuclear Energy Commission)