January 4, 2010 in Nation/World

Mudslide toll reaches 75

Tales Azzoni Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Part of a mountainside is bare after a mudslide in Morro da Carioca, an area in the city of Angra dos Reis, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(Full-size photo)

SAO PAULO, Brazil – The mayor of a mudslide-devastated city on Sunday urged a precautionary shutdown of Brazil’s only nuclear power plants due to blocked highways while the death toll from flooding and slides rose to 75.

Angra dos Reis Mayor Tuca Jordao said that while the nuclear power plants are not damaged or threatened, mudslides that that have killed at least 44 people in his city alone have disrupted escape routes needed to cope with any emergency.

“We don’t want any risk,” said Jordao, whose municipality has about 120,000 people.

There was no immediate response from higher authorities, but officials of Brazil’s state-run nuclear energy company, Electronuclear, said a temporary closure of the plants would not seriously hurt the country’s power supply, according to Globo TV. On Saturday, before the mayor’s request, the company said a shutdown was not necessary.

Jordao said about 20 areas in Angra dos Reis was still at risk of mudslides and that some people were being evacuated.

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