Angra's alarm system: A soldier on a moped

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(December 4, 1997) The emergency system at the Angra reactor in Brazil is not functioning properly. There are serious problems with the alarms sirens due to the poor technical condition of the system, so they not loud enough and it is very difficult or impossible to start them.

(482.4789) WISE Amsterdam -Angra's emergency system was installed ten years ago, after the reactor had in fact already been in operation for some years. Alarm sirens were installed in four towers near the nuclear complex, but they failed from the start. On instructions by the government, technicians carried out an investigation into the problem, and all shortcomings were drawn up and photographed.

The resulting report on that investigation seems to mainly consist of the simple information that the sound made by the alarm sirens (which are supposed to warn the people of Angro dos Reis in case of an accident) cannot be heard, at least in various places within a distance of 5 kilometers from the plant. As a result, because the emergency signal must be operated manually due to bad technical condition, the operators have developed the following system: if there is an emergency a soldier is sent on his moped from one tower to the other to switch on the emergency signals!

In order not to raise panic, the outcome of the investigation has been hidden for the public till November 30, when the journalist Tania Malheiros published it in Jornal de Brazil.

The government has admitted that the whole system has to be redone. According to the technicians, it will cost US$5 million to improve it. Angra-1 has been shut down since September because of fuel rod problems. The plant's operator plans to restart the reactor on December 6.

Source: Jornal de Brazil, 30 November 1997
Contact: Tania Malheiros, Rua Gago Coutinho, 39 -Apt. 601 Laranjeiras - Rio de Janeiro, CEP 22221-070-Brasil
Tel & Fax: +55-21-205 6372