Brazil is one of three Latin American countries with nuclear power. It also suffers from violent crime. Now a heavily armed gang has brought the two together
Fears over the security of Brazil’s two nuclear power plants have been raised after a heavily armed gang raided a secure workers’ condominium just a kilometre away and blew up two cash machines.
About 10 men held security guards hostage at around 3am on Monday, robbed guests at a party in a private club then escaped in a waiting speedboat from the Praia Brava condominium for workers at the Angra 1 and 2 nuclear reactors, run by state company Eletronuclear.
It was the second incident in a month: on 9 December, thieves exploded an ATM in the Mambucaba Condominium, another security-controlled workers’ village 15km away from the plants, near Angra dos Reis on the Rio de Janeiro state coastline.
Local politicians have called for military protection for the area.
“It is an unbelievable situation,” said Thimoteo de Sá, a city councillor in Angra dos Reis, the nearest town 44 kilometres away. “This should be protected by the army at least – we are talking about a nuclear plant.”
Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are the only three Latin American countries with functioning nuclear power plants.
Brazil is believed to have had a nuclear weapons programme, though it is unclear if it ever actually developed a weapon, and it renounced the ambitions in 1990. Brazil still mines its own uranium and is building a nuclear-powered submarine with French help.
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