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BRAZILIAN NUCLEAR POWER: THINK ABOUT IT ONCE AGAIN!

A reflection on my visit to the Brazilian nuclear power plants in Angra dos Reis.

By Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas

Is it possible that you change your view about whether nuclear power is a good solution to the increasing demand of energy in a world so eager to keep its high levels of development without causing much damage to the environment? I have to confess that, until I visited Angra dos Reis nuclear power plants, I had never viewed the generation of electricity in nuclear power plants as something really positive. And why was that? Although I was only eleven at the time of the accident in Chernobyl, it is still fresh in my mind the terrible images of the aftermath caused by the explosion of the nuclear reactor in Ukraine. How could one forget the scary footages of ghost towns and deserted villages within a huge perimeter surrounding the area of the catastrophe? Televised debates and documentaries on the disastrous effects of the radioactive leak on the environment were also very frequent at that time. As a result, everybody feared contamination by the consumption of livestock and crops somehow exposed to the radioactive cloud that hovered over Europe. It was really hard to have a good opinion of nuclear power in such a terrifying context.

Times have changed, and any issue is always to be analyzed from multiple perspectives. Is it still worth thinking about having more nuclear power plants built? I would say yes. Of course, it would be much better if we could generate enough clean energy to meet the demands of superpowers and developing countries. However, clean energy still has some way to go in terms of technology before it is ready to satiate at viable costs the voracious appetite of rapidly growing economies.

Global warming has also imposed that the projects to generate energy should be less harmful to the environment. It is no longer environmentally sustainable to keep coal power plants running. The huge amounts of CO2 that they dump into the atmosphere have been one of the main contributing factors of climate change. In addition, the waste spewed by such plants pollutes the air with particles of coal and other poisoning substances. Although they seems to be cheaper to built and run in the beginning, coal power plants cause severe damage to public health and the development of other economic activities in the vicinities of the area where they operate.

In Brazil many antagonists of nuclear power declare that our country does not need projects like the one in Angra dos Reis because we can count on the hydroelectric power provided by the innumerable plateau rivers within our territory. It is undeniable that most of the power available in Brazil is generated this way. But one cannot forget that hydroelectric power plants are not dependable in times of draught and the necessary investment to construct one of them is not easy to get in countries where scarcity of resources is a constant reality. The best sites where a hydroelectric plant can be built are generally far from the consuming centers and imply the creation of an extensive power line system.  Moreover, the construction of their dams usually floods large areas of tropical forests and arable land causing the death of animals and the displacement of people.

 But what are the advantages of nuclear power when compared to all other methods of generating electricity? After visiting Angra, you can learn that its pros are not to be looked over. The first thing is that the construction on nuclear power plant requires much less investment than a hydroelectric one. It occupies a very small area. Besides, it can be built anywhere, provided that there is water around to cool the reactors. The fuel necessary to generate energy is uranium and the power originated from the nuclear fission of its atoms produces an incredible amount of energy. As you have a massive concentration of power in very small quantities of uranium, the costs to produce energy decrease drastically.

Nuclear power plants certainly boast quite attractive advantages over other ways of having energy generated, but they also have their cons. Nevertheless, the downside of nuclear power can be very easily handled with strict safety measure and well trained personnel. The first concern that people may have when they think about nuclear energy is the possibility of accidents like the one in Chernobyl in 1986. It is nearly impossible that such a thing should occur in Angra dos Reis because the nuclear plants there operate with a system of the redundancies. The protective structure that involves the reactors is a good example of that. They are covered with successive layers of different materials such as concrete and steel. The outer layers are always on stand-by if the inner ones fail to contain a radioactive leak for example. The principle of redundancy is applied to all the processes in the power plants. Levels of radioactivity are carefully monitored and safety is something taken very seriously in all the areas of the plant.

Perhaps the most controversial point in the operation of a nuclear power plant is what to with nuclear wastes. So far the best solution to this problem has been the construction of deposits deep underground. That significantly raises the price of the project of nuclear power plant and must be considered at the initial stages of the project. Nevertheless, there has been a meaningful breakthrough in the technology of recycling uranium. In a near future, nuclear waste will be a less inconvenient problem in the production of electricity in nuclear power plants.

Another positive point in the Angra dos Reis nuclear power plants is the emphasis on the training of personnel. It takes at least four years before an employee gets the credentials that will allow him to work in the power plant control room. Prior to that phase, they are prepared in an internationally renowned training center where simulators replicate situations that they are to face in the control room of the actual power plants. In one of the residential villages for the plant workers, there is a center for environmental studies where biologists and chemists do researches on the impact of the plant activities on the environment.

Nuclear power is a relatively cheap way of generating electricity and there are other strategic developments associated to it. The manufacturing of other technological gadgets somehow related to nuclear fission are extremely important to the progress of science in Brazil. Besides, the manipulation of nuclear technology applied to the military field is undoubtedly of extremely important to our national security. If you are still skeptical about the importance of nuclear energy to the economic and scientific growth of our country, I recommend that you should visit our nuclear power plants in Angra dos Reis and reconsider your position.

 



Escrito por Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas às 19h58
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O RIO E A NINFA

No começo só são pingos e gotas.
Será que terei força?
E pelo abismo a resvalar
Recebo afluências sem parar.
Sinto que meu destino será sempre assim:
Um murmúrio de correntezas sem fim.
Na rocha escavo paciente um leito majestoso
Para dar vazão ao meu jorro caudaloso.
Com a pureza cristalina de um Serafim,
Revelo transparente tudo que há em mim.
Para que no espelho de minhas águas mais tranqüilas
Vejas refletida a tua formosura proibida.
Queres sob minhas cachoeiras te banhar
Toda emoldurada pela bela mata ciliar?
Prometo que vou para sempre te celebrar
Com as cores de um arco-íris sem par.
Ao beberes de mim, não mais estarás a sós.
Ficarão em ti meus segredos da nascente à foz.
Que fique então registrado este momento como fasto
Ao minhas águas te encontrarem em seu curso rio abaixo.

By Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas



Escrito por Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas às 19h52
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FOLHA SECA AO VENTO

Pobre folha seca!
Extinguiu-se a seiva que lhe dava o viço,
Murchou a linda flor que vizinha a ela brotou,
E nada lhe restou senão um galho retorcido.
Envolviam-na ébria com sua doce fragrância
Frutos que agora podres jazem a distância.
Gorjeavam junto a ela de prazer orvalhada aves canoras
Que para o calor do verão partiram em revoada
Gozo a invadia ao toque do sol e para ele deleitosa se abria.
Mas negras nuvens hoje o encobrem privando-a de sua alegria.

Não quero mais dela sentir dó, nem a encontrar chorando a sós.
Será que ela não sente o insistente roçar do vento?
Com ela quer fazer amor embalando-a em seus mil braços no ar suspensa.
Tomara que não tenha medo de lançar-se ao vazio!
Que caia e se deixa levar rodopiando sem parar.
Mas ela logo verá que o vento vadio e fugaz
Para longe a arrastará, e ao desaparecer,
No ermo a abandonará.
Sei que isso não mais lhe importa.
Ela apenas quer, antes de desaparecer,
Esquecer que já estava morta.

By  Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas



Escrito por Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas às 20h27
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OCASO INSANO

 

À meia-luz do crepúsculo,
O desejo irrealizado reboa no meu peito trespassado,
Lacerando sem piedade o silêncio da normalidade.
E na tormenta de minhas memórias,
O eu estilhaçado busca em vão a sua história.
Mas só há dor na recordação,
Causando a contração da insanidade em gestação.
Em desespero, nas trevas do medo,
Resta-me apenas o segredo
Que me conduzirá ao degredo
E ao eterno desterro de mim mesmo.


By Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas



Escrito por Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas às 12h06
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MULHER DE MIL DUALIDADES

 

Cessa em ti a contenda dos opostos
Para surgir a mais perfeita simetria de harmoniosas dicotomias.
A negra mecha desalinhada a acariciar a alvura de tua tez desejada
(Celestial combinação que convida à tentação),
As delicadas formas de tua elegante esguiez revestindo a amazona de inabalável altivez,
A faceirice de menina urbana que oculta teus encantos de mulher cigana.
Só tu sabes ser pragmática sem que te furtes às contradições do espírito
Ou aos mistérios que te excitam a alma.
Será este teu sorriso enigmático a fachada do intricado labirinto
Em cujo centro se encontra teu ambíguo coração?
Não respondas, senão muitos ali se aventurarão para sua eterna perdição.

By Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas



Escrito por C. H. V. B. às 05h00
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UM DESERTO EM MIM

Ausenta-te de ti mesmo e experimenta não mais retornar.
Nas tuas andanças sem rumo, evita, a todo custo, te reencontrar.
Deixa que outros em ti habitem, mesmo que deles nunca tenhas ouvido falar.
Não vês que, dos pedaços de teus desejos, formaste um mosaico de teus medos?
De tuas entranhas arranca o futuro abortado e rasga as memórias de fatos que sequer hão se passado.
Ah! Bem sei que anseias ficar parado!
Mas a permanência já te é insuportável.
Viraste bérbere a vagar por ermos intemporais,
Solitário astro errante que incandesce a sua trajetória fulgurante no éter do grande mistério,
Na escuridão do próprio ser.
És quasar de mensagens e anseios inescrutáveis.
Gritaste, uivaste, berraste.
E ninguém te ouviu.
Nada de ti restara, senão o coração, que parou,
E a alma, que expulsa ainda pulsa.


By Carlos Henrique Vilas Boas
 



Escrito por Carlos Henrique S. Vilas Boas às 17h54
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