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Why is Brazil enriching uranium?


  • Cabrera-Palmer, Belkis
  • Rothwell, Geoffrey


In Brazil construction began in 1971 on Angra 1, a 626Â MW Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR). It was completed in 1984. Later, Angra 2 (a Kraftwerk Union PWR) achieved commercial operation in 2000. Brazil is considering the construction of seven nuclear power plants over the next 15 years. In preparation for this nuclear industry expansion, Brazil is building a uranium enrichment facility to provide nuclear fuel for Angra 1 and 2 starting in 2010 at Resende in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and collated with nuclear fuel fabrication facilities. This paper investigates whether the Resende Enrichment Facility will be able to provide uranium enrichment services at a cost lower than the international market price. We find that while Brazil is unlikely to be internationally competitive in the enrichment market, the Resende Enrichment Facility completes the front end of Brazil's nuclear fuel cycle. This assures uninterrupted nuclear fuel to its currently operating light water reactors, while providing the option of expanding capacity, lowering cost, and competing in the international nuclear fuel market after 2020.

Suggested Citation

  • Cabrera-Palmer, Belkis & Rothwell, Geoffrey, 2008. "Why is Brazil enriching uranium?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 2570-2577, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:7:p:2570-2577

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Geoffrey Rothwell, 2004. "Cost Contingency as the Standard Deviation of the Cost Estimate for Cost Engineering," Discussion Papers 04-005, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roh, Seungkook & Kim, Wonjoon, 2014. "How can Korea secure uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing rights?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 195-198.
    2. Lucena, André F.P. & Clarke, Leon & Schaeffer, Roberto & Szklo, Alexandre & Rochedo, Pedro R.R. & Nogueira, Larissa P.P. & Daenzer, Kathryn & Gurgel, Angelo & Kitous, Alban & Kober, Tom, 2016. "Climate policy scenarios in Brazil: A multi-model comparison for energy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 564-574.
    3. Hultman, Nathan E. & Malone, Elizabeth L. & Runci, Paul & Carlock, Gregory & Anderson, Kate L., 2012. "Factors in low-carbon energy transformations: Comparing nuclear and bioenergy in Brazil, Sweden, and the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 131-146.
    4. Pottmaier, D. & Melo, C.R. & Sartor, M.N. & Kuester, S. & Amadio, T.M. & Fernandes, C.A.H. & Marinha, D. & Alarcon, O.E., 2013. "The Brazilian energy matrix: From a materials science and engineering perspective," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 678-691.
    5. repec:eee:enepol:v:115:y:2018:i:c:p:470-485 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kessides, Ioannis N., 2010. "Nuclear power: Understanding the economic risks and uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 3849-3864, August.
    7. Soria, Rafael & Lucena, André F.P. & Tomaschek, Jan & Fichter, Tobias & Haasz, Thomas & Szklo, Alexandre & Schaeffer, Roberto & Rochedo, Pedro & Fahl, Ulrich & Kern, Jürgen, 2016. "Modelling concentrated solar power (CSP) in the Brazilian energy system: A soft-linked model coupling approach," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 116(P1), pages 265-280.

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