The serious contingency suffered by Japan as a result of the earthquake and tsunami and provoked a chaos at Fukushima nuclear power plant, located 373 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, revived the worldwide reflection on the safe in the use of such energy. Powers like the U.S. and France have come in their defence, mainly because these two countries have almost the exclusive sellers in this kind of nuclear technologies. Its main spokesmen have minimized the accident in Japan and evaluate it as an isolated event without any major mishaps.
Latin America, has a relatively recent history in the use of this technology. Commercially, only 6 nuclear reactors are operating for this purpose: two in Argentina (Buenos Aires Atucha I and Embalse in Córdoba), two in Brazil (Angra dos Reis) and two in Mexico (Laguna Verde I and II in Veracruz), being Argentina, the Latin American country who has the oldest reactors in the region. Atucha I began producing electricity in 1974 and Reservoir in 1983, which contributes in the generation of 6% of the country’s electricity. Still, since 2006, Argentina is running a nuclear expansion with a budget of $ 3.5bn, which includes building a second reactor in Atucha called Atucha II. Their expectation is to achieve the increase of its capacity by 150%.
Brazil also has been raised a similar expansion, and it plans to build five new reactors over the next 15 years, with estimated increase their capacity by over 400%, increasing the nuclear contribution to the energy matrix of a 3% to 10% in 2025. In Mexico, the 5% of electricity is generated by nuclear energy. Since 2007, it has been developing a plan to increase the capacity of Laguna Verde by 20%. They consider acquire eight new reactors by 2025.
Still, we already knew the ads by the governments of Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, about the interest of creating nuclear energy programs. For these countries, alternative energies are still in the background.
The Japan nuclear crisis definitely shocked the public opinion in the subregion. And the installation of nuclear plants for electricity production in Latin America no longer looks like an avant-garde idea, developmental or strategic. It lost his “angel”, the “boom” that supposedly connoted a great idea. The accusations from environmentalists did not wait. Alerts were maximized before initial claims to develop or further develop this type of energy.
We call from this space, to the pro-nuclear governments open the debate with transparency and interest-free underground, tell themselves the truth, the good and the bad of alternative energy vs nuclear energy. From our side (the environmentalists), the will is unanimous to defend life energies to the energy of death.
By Lenin Cardozo