Westinghouse opens Latin American office

Westinghouse Electric Co. is making its Latin American ambitions official by opening an office in Rio de Janeiro — its first on the continent.

The Cranberry nuclear company has chosen Carlos Leipner to lead its newly created Electric do Brasil Ltda, with more staff to follow as needed.

From a base in Rio de Janiero, Westinghouse is hoping to capitalize on opportunities to build nuclear reactors in three Latin American countries where it currently services existing plants: Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

Westinghouse's technology was the basis for the first nuclear reactor built in Brazil. Angra unit 1 went online in 1982, followed by another unit in 2001 from a different nuclear manufacturer.

Last year, a Westinghouse competitor, the French company Areva, won the contract to complete a long-ago started unit 3 at Angra. That is expected to be finished next year. Areva has 570 employees in the country, according to its website.

Today, only 1 percent of Brazil's electricity comes from nuclear power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The majority comes from liquid fuels and hydropower.

The rapidly growing country has announced plans to explore building eight new nuclear reactors, which are expected to generate competition between Westinghouse, Areva and a Russian nuclear company.

Anya Litvak: alitvak@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1455

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