Operating license for Brazil's 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant is suspended

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Operating license for Brazil's 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant is suspended

A federal court suspended the operating license for Brazil's 11.2 GW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant following allegations that the project's owners did not meet environmental requirements.

Federal Public Ministry (MPF) understands that the use of the plant without the completion of the sanitation requirements puts the population of Altamira at risk and ordered the suspension of the operation license of the plant, issued by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), until they are fully complied with obligations related to basic sanitation.

According to the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office:

"The filling of the reservoir without compliance with the sanitation condition, which should have been carried out three years ago, puts the population of Altamira at risk of disease due to the contamination of surface and deep water."

The operation of the plant had already been suspended by an injunction granted by the Federal Court in Pará until the basic sanitation of the city of Altamira / PA was completed, as it is one of the conditions of the project.

In the decision that was stated, the president of Federal Regional Court of the First Region (TRF1) understood that the Belo Monte shutdown would damage public order and economy, causing suspension of electric power supply, increase of energy tariffs and environmental damage by the use of thermoelectric plants.

The US$26 billion plant was originally scheduled to begin commercial operation in February 2015. Norte Energia now estimates the project will be in full operation in January 2019.

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