RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao announced Friday Brazil plans to build 50 to 60 nuclear power plants in half a century, with each having capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
"The general idea is to build one plant per year," he said during a visit to the construction site of Brazil's third nuclear power plant, Angra 3.
The ambitious plan, a priority for the administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has yet to be approved by Brazil's National Council of Energy Policy, he added.
The construction of Angra 3 started in 1984, but was halted for21 years. The decision to resume the project and expand the nuclear program was welcomed by Brazil's industrial sector as a way to prevent an energy crisis in future decades, but environmentalists warned of the problem of the residues storage.
Angra 1 and Angra 2, both located in the southeastern state of Rio De Janeiro, currently have a combined installed capacity of 2,000 megawatts.
Besides the three plants, four others, two in northeastern Brazil and two in the southeastern part, are due to start operation by 2020.
It is said Brazil's environment ministry will not allow Angra 3to start operation until the residues problem is resolved.
According to Lobao, the construction of Angra 3 is due to be resumed in April 2009 and will take almost five years to complete, at a cost of 7 billion reais (3.7 billion U.S. dollars).