Brazil's New National Defense Strategy Calls for Strategic Nuclear Developments

On December 18, 2008, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (or "Lula") issued the nation's new National Defense Strategy (NDS) that had been in the making for over a year. The process for producing the NDS had been overseen by a Ministerial Committee established by presidential decree in 2007, which was chaired by Defense Minister Nelson Jobim and coordinated by the Minister of Strategic Affairs Mangabeira Unger. In its work, the Committee also consulted with the three branches of the armed forces and various civilian groups.[1] The NDS focuses on three overarching goals: reorganization of the armed forces, restructuring the Brazilian defense industry while promoting economic development; and revising the policies governing the composition of the armed forces, including revisiting the issue of compulsory military service.[2]

A key NDS tenet is that Brazil can only achieve national independence and international prominence through mastery of sensitive technologies in the strategic sectors of space, cybernetics, and nuclear affairs.[3] This essay examines Brazil's efforts to achieve that mastery of nuclear technologies, including the complete fuel cycle, and to build a nuclear submarine with French assistance. It also reviews Brazil's recent nuclear cooperation agreement with Argentina that initially may have more to do with creating a strategic partnership to improve regional stability and reassure the international community about both nations' nonproliferation commitment than with specific plans to develop a joint nuclear industry. The NDS makes it clear that Brazil views self-sufficiency in terms of nuclear power and nuclear fuel supply, as well as the deterrence value of a nuclear submarine, as central to its quest for a regional and international leadership role.

NDS Calls for Increased Civilian and Military Nuclear Activities

Brazil's National Defense Strategy portrays nuclear initiatives as a means to enhance Brazil's development, strengthen its defensive posture, and bolster its global standing. To capitalize on the potential strategic value of the nuclear sector, the NDS calls for Brazil to undertake the following initiatives:

  1. To further the nuclear-powered submarine program, conclude the complete nationalization and development of the fuel cycle (including gasification and enrichment) on an industrial scale;
  2. Ensure that the country has the technology for building reactors for its exclusive use;
  3. "Speed up the mapping, prospecting, and utilization of uranium deposits;"
  4. Develop the potential for designing and building nuclear thermoelectric power plants to be under national control, even if developed through partnerships with foreign states and companies; and
  5. "Increase the capacity to use nuclear energy within a broad spectrum of activities."[4]

While the NDS acknowledges Brazil's commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, it states that "Brazil will not subscribe to any additions to the Nuclear Weapon Nonproliferation Treaty, [sic] intended to broaden restrictions established by the Treaty without the nuclear powers having made any progress on the central premise of the Treaty: its [sic] own nuclear disarmament."[5] The text thus enshrines Brazil's decision not to sign the 1997 Model Additional Protocol, which would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) greater access to Brazil's nuclear infrastructure, in particular the naval uranium enrichment program.[6] The NDS also is consistent with Brazil's position that all nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) states, including Iran, have the right to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants.[7]

One news report noted that the NDS statement on the Additional Protocol "puts an end to the controversy unleashed years ago when the IAEA put veiled pressure on the Brazilian Government to sign the protocol, the purpose of which is to expand restrictions on the country and organize a system of "invasive inspections."[8] (In 2004 Brazilian officials successfully limited the IAEA's access to enrichment facilities at Resende.) However, another columnist said that the "ambiguous reference to the country's nuclear pretensions" was sure to attract the attention of foreign observers.[9] On January 8, 2009, after finally deciding to ratify the Additional Protocol, the United States urged Brazil to take the same step.[10]

Brazil and Argentina are the only members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that have not signed an Additional Protocol.[11] The NSG has been trying to reach consensus on proposed new export guidelines that would require recipients of sensitive nuclear material to sign the Additional Protocol, a move Brazil opposed at the January 15, 2009 NSG meeting. Its representative said that Brazil would not accept the guidelines if, in the view of participants, it were forced to put the nation's nuclear submarine program under IAEA safeguards. Nevertheless, Brazil reportedly has been in discussions with some NSG members regarding possible agreements that would include some provisions of the protocol.[12] Brazil might also be trying to keep open the option of importing nuclear technology from supplier states such as Argentina, France, and Russia, and it continues to rely on imported fuel for its two operating nuclear power plants.

The new defense plan outlines support for nuclear sector projects already underway in Brazil. In July 2007 the Brazilian government approved additional resources to finish construction of its third nuclear reactor Angra 3 in Rio de Janeiro, a small reactor to produce energy for submarine propulsion (LABGENE), and the Uranium Hexafluoride Plant (USEXA) to convert yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas at the Navy's Aramar Technological Center in Sao Paulo.[13] While Brazil has mastered many phases of the fuel cycle, it still cannot convert uranium ore into UF6 or enrich uranium on an industrial scale.[14] Brazil still depends on Canada's Cameco for conversion to UF6 and Europe's Urenco for uranium enrichment.

In Brazil, the nuclear energy program has always been entwined with the armed forces, particularly the Navy, which designed and developed the centrifuges used to enrich power plant fuel as part of its efforts to produce fuel for a nuclear submarine.[15] The Navy's nuclear program at Aramar, which started in 1979, was delayed because of budgetary cuts and restrictive export policies by countries with the requisite nuclear technology. According to Captain Winderson Scholze, Aramar's chief of operations, because some countries resisted selling equipment, "the country had to develop its own technology," which "delayed and increased the cost of the program."[16] The Navy expects to finish USEXA in 2010 and start producing enough UF6 for its needs (about 40 tons).[17] Both the LABGENE and USEXA facilities are covered by safeguards agreements monitored by the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC).[18] Like the Additional Protocol, these safeguards were established by the Quadripartite Agreement between Brazil, Argentina, ABACC, and the IAEA, and allow for unannounced inspections of civilian nuclear facilities with IAEA oversight.[19] However, the Additional Protocol would allow the IAEA to inspect a broader range of sites, including those not directly related to nuclear materials, an option not provided under the Quadripartite Agreement.

While the Navy pursues a UF6 conversion capability, Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) has been installing centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Resende, Rio de Janeiro in an effort to meet the fuel requirements for all of the nation's current and future nuclear reactors. As of September 2008, between 400 and 500 centrifuges have already been installed, and INB expects to be able to meet the needs of Brazil's three current and planned power plants by 2014. These centrifuges were developed by the Navy at Aramar and provided to INB on a "black-box" basis so INB does not have access to the centrifuge technology.[20] In addition to completing Angra 3, Brazil plans to start construction of four additional nuclear reactors in 2012 at a cost of R$10 billion (approximately$ 3.5 billion) per unit. Each reactor will produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity and construction is expected to finish in 5 years. To secure financing, the government intends to propose legislation to allow the private sector participation of up to 49 percent.[21]

While the NDS states that Brazil seeks to complete the fuel cycle and build reactors "for the exclusive use of Brazil," Brazilian military and civilian officials have suggested that being able to produce power plant fuel would allow Brazil to take full advantage of its huge uranium reserves both to meet its own needs and to export.[22] Notably, the NDS calls for Brazil to increase prospecting of uranium mines; Brazil currently has the sixth largest uranium reserves in the world, with known reserves amounting to 500,000 tons. INB and Mineral Resources and Prospecting Company, however, have discovered new reserves with estimated deposits of 800,000 tons.[23] Thus, Brazil might be contemplating becoming a top exporter of uranium and enriched uranium for reactor fuel. Media reports have noted that while Brazil would not transfer its sensitive enrichment technology, it has contemplated nuclear cooperation, including uranium prospecting with India, Russia, China, and Argentina.[24] Consistent with the NDS's call for Brazil to pursue thermoelectric power plants in cooperation with other states, Brazil is also negotiating to join an international consortium established by the IAEA in the 1980s, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), exploring the generation of electricity by nuclear fusion.[25] In order to become a partner, Brazil must sign a cooperation agreement with the European Atomic Energy Community and reportedly pay almost $1 billion (which Brazil hopes to do by providing niobium, a mineral used to line the new reactors). As of February 20, Brazil had not signed the agreement, and Odair Dias Gonçalves, President of the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) refuted reports about the $1 billion payment as misinformation.[26]

Why a Nuclear Submarine?

The NDS also reiterates Brazil's long-time quest for an indigenously produced nuclear submarine. The NDS states that Brazil will "develop its capacity to design and manufacture both conventional and nuclear submarines and will speed up investments and partnerships in order to complete the nuclear submarine program. It will also develop domestic capability to design and manufacture missiles to arm the submarines."[27] On September 24, 2008, after years of equivocating about whether it had a program, the Brazilian Navy made the nuclear submarine program official by creating the General Coordination Program for the Development of a Nuclear-Powered Submarine (COGESN) led by Admiral Jose Accioly Fragelli. COGESN's mission is to manage the project and construction of the nuclear submarine, the shipyard, and the submarine base.[28]

Brazil's determination to build a nuclear submarine has intensified given new found oil fields that Brazil seeks to protect. In November 2007, Petrobras, Brazil's state-run energy company announced the discovery of five to eight billion barrels of oil beneath the ocean floor; since then analysts estimate that 33 billion barrels of oil, enough to make Brazil one of the largest oil producers in the world, lie below a thick layer of salt in Brazil's territorial waters.[29] Brazilian military officials and politicians have argued repeatedly that a nuclear submarine is necessary to protect these oil reserves, particularly as the world's supply of oil is diminishing.[30] Recently, news that the United States had reactivated its Fourth Fleet by sending it into the region near the oil finds was greeted with apprehension by Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, who said that "the U.S. may act outside Brazilian territorial waters. Here they do not enter."[31] President Lula also expressed concern about the Fourth Fleet traveling so near the "pre-salt" oil finds, and his complaints to the Bush administration resulted in the U.S. military taking diplomatic steps to assure countries in the region of the fleet's humanitarian focus.[32]

Brazil views nuclear submarines both as a deterrent and as a way to project diplomatic power. In an interview with A Tarde, Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Julio Saboya claimed that a nuclear submarine could pave the way for Brazil to obtain a permanent seat at the Security Council: "Those who have nuclear submarines sit on the United Nations Security Council. All permanent members have the technology, which none of them give up. We have to develop our own."[33]

Brazil Agreement with France for Submarines

To further its goals, Brazil signed a defense cooperation agreement with France in January 29, 2008, and an agreement on submarines on December 23, 2008. The two countries signed more detailed contracts covering the submarine and other military acquisitions and technology transfer programs on September 3, 2009.[34] The agreements call for the parties to form a strategic partnership to build four conventional Scorpène submarines and the hull of a fifth submarine to be equipped with nuclear propulsion provided by Brazil (the "SNBR submarine"). Perhaps to try to preempt nuclear proliferation concerns, the submarine agreement notes that the parties will "meet their international obligations and commitments" and that Brazil "will be the authority for the design of the SNBR submarine."[35] The contract stresses that the nuclear parts of the SNBR are outside the scope of the agreement, specifically, "...the Brazilian party will not receive assistance from the French party for the design, construction and putting into operation of the on-board nuclear reactor, the installations in the nuclear reactor compartment, and the equipment and facilities whose functions are primarily concerned with the reactor's operation or nuclear safety."[36] The nuclear reactor will be provided by the Brazilian Navy's Aramar Technological Center in São Paulo; it is not clear if the reactor fuel, most likely enriched to between 7 percent and 10 percent uranium-235, will be provided by Aramar or a new dedicated centrifuge facility.[37]

Under the Quadripartite Agreement, Brazil's use of nuclear fuel for submarines falls into a "Special Procedures" category. If the fuel is to be used for nuclear propulsion, Brazil must inform the IAEA through ABACC and identify "to the extent possible, the period or circumstances during which the special procedures shall be applied." Brazil must also make clear "that during the period of application of the special procedures the nuclear material will not be used for the production of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." As soon as the nuclear fuel is removed from the submarine, Quadripartite Agreement safeguards will apply again.[38] According to NuclearFuel analyst Mark Hibbs, Brazil, the IAEA, and ABACC have begun preparing for negotiations on "a verification regime for the production and utilization of low-enriched fuels for Brazil's navy...."[39] One of Hibbs' sources discussed a proposal that anticipates that the submarine fuel would be enriched in a dedicated facility subject to ABACC and IAEA safeguards. However, before being transferred to the Navy to use in the reactor core, the fuel would be withdrawn from safeguards; routine safeguards would again apply to the irradiated fuel once the reactor is defueled.[40]

As part of its agreement with France, Brazil promises not to export or transfer any of technology and equipment supplied by France without prior agreement of the French government.[41] The submarine agreement will remain in effect until three years "after the first static dive of the first SNBR submarine" but no longer than 25 years. Reports estimate that the value of the submarine deal is € 6.7 billion ($8.4 billion),[42] a figure Defense Minister Jobim dismissed as "speculation."[43]

Under the agreement, the parties will form joint ventures to construct a both new shipyard and a naval base for nuclear submarines to be located on the Bay of Sepetiba in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, a region close to the industrial centers of Rio and Sao Paulo and the nuclear plants Angra 1 and 2 in addition to the port of Itaguaí. The Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported that a joint venture between Brazilian construction firm Norberto Odebrecht and France's DCNS(Direction des Constructions Navales Services) will be responsible for the construction of the five submarines. According to DCNS Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Poimbœuf, DCNS will be the prime contractor for the construction of the conventional submarines[44] and will provide assistance to Odebrecht for the construction of the shipyard and the naval base. DCNS expects the first submarine to be operational in 2015. It will also provide assistance to the Brazilian Navy for the design of the non-nuclear part of the nuclear submarine.[45] Brazilian Navy Commander Júlio Soares de Moura Neto, however, estimates more optimistically that the first conventional submarine will be ready in 2014, and the other submarines will be built every two years from that date at a cost of $600 million per unit. The nuclear submarine is expected to be ready in 2020 at a cost of $1.5 billion.[46]

Brazil signed the deal with France after a long evaluation process of both French and Russian submarines by Navy and Defense Ministry officials. In January 2008, a Brazilian delegation headed by Defense Minister Jobim visited France and Russia looking for partners.[47] According to Jobim, given that technology transfer and indigenous development of the nuclear sector are prime objectives of the new NDS,[48] what tilted the balance in favor of the agreement with France was Paris's readiness to transfer submarine design technology. Another major advantage of the French deal is that the Scorpène, although a conventional submarine, evolved from a nuclear submarine ("Rubis/Amethyste") and employs the same systems (sensors, combat system, weapons, control system, etc) used in French nuclear submarines.[49] (On December 18, 2008, Folha De Sao Paulo reported that the French government had tried to include the sale of a Suffren class nuclear submarine in the deal, but that President Lula rejected it because of the high cost, reportedly $1.5 billion to $2.8 billion; the Brazil Defense Ministry denied the issue had been discussed.[50])

The choice of the Scorpène was not without controversy. Brazilian Navy officers said that the Chilean Navy's experience with the Scorpène revealed that it is expensive to maintain and complex and affordable replacement parts are difficult to find. Also, the Navy's report found that the Scorpène's construction material is inferior to that of submarines Brazil acquired from Germany.[51] Still, the Navy chose the French submarine because of France's willingness to transfer technology for both conventional and nuclear submarines.

While the Navy benefits from the boost in national interest and resources for its submarine program, the Brazilian economy benefits from the added jobs. More than 30 Brazilian companies are already involved in submarine-related deals, which will contribute more than 36,000 products, including complex systems. The Navy estimates that construction and maintenance of the submarine bases will create more than 2,000 direct jobs and 6,000 indirect jobs.[52] As one newspaper commentator stated in connection with the sub deal, "Brazil will gain twice: with the defense equipment itself and with the strengthening of the national defense industry."[53] However, some of the most sensitive and sophisticated systems like sonar, periscopes, torpedo tubes, steel for the hull, and the steam turbine for the nuclear submarine will be developed and supplied by France.[54] The Navy will also purchase the Black Shark torpedo and the SMM-39 anti-ship missile. Thus, despite what it considers an advance, Brazil will continue to depend on foreign technology.

In addition to fulfilling technological, military, and development goals set by the NDS, the submarine cooperation agreement with France advances Brazil's strategic and political goals. In December, President Lula stated that the agreement represents a step towards providing Brazil with the means to protect the Amazon region and the oil reserves on the country's continental shelf and to project military power in the region and around the world.[55] Later Minister of Defense Jobim noted that the new agreement, along with the South American Defense Council established on December 16,[56] recognized that "Brazil is playing a new and more significant role on the international stage and needs to strengthen its defense system with a deterrent strategy guaranteeing peace and security."[57] The partnership also adds weight to Brazil's bid for a permanent seat at the U.N. Security Council, a goal supported by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his December 2008 visit Praising Brazil for its vital role in global decisions taken in the midst of the financial crisis, President Sarkozy said, "I think we need Brazil as a permanent member of the Security Council."[58] Although Russia did not win the submarine deal, it is still exploring nuclear cooperation with Brazil and has also mentioned it as a possible permanent member of the UN Security Council.[59] Defense analysts have also noted the importance of the submarine deal to Brazil's political and strategic profile. For example, according to Geraldo Cavagnari at the University of Campinas Center for Strategic Studies, the most significant change in Brazil's military power will come from the nuclear submarine and "if Brazil wants a seat [at the U.N. Security Council] it will have to be recognized as a military power."[60]

Brazil's Nuclear Cooperation with Argentina

The NDS calls for the use of strategic partnerships in sensitive industries such as space, cybernetics, and the nuclear sector to bolster regional stability. While Brazil's nuclear cooperation agreement with Argentina was signed in February 2008, prior to President Lula's approval of the NDS, the ongoing negotiation process furthers some NDS goals. On February 22, 2008, Brazil and Argentina agreed to establish a bilateral commission of experts — the Binational Committee for Nuclear Energy (COBEN) — to prepare a plan for nuclear cooperation, including a joint nuclear reactor project and creation of a bi-national company to produce enriched uranium on an industrial scale.[61] Initial reports about the new commission, based on an interview with Defense Minister Jobim, stated that the cooperation would include a nuclear submarine with Argentina providing the compact nuclear reactor and Brazil the nuclear fuel and submarine hull.[62] The Defense Ministry and Navy, however, soon denied this story.[63]

On March 3, COBEN met in Vienna, and on September 6, it presented a plan to Presidents Lula and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner for expanding the scope of the bi-national company to include production of radiopharmaceuticals as well as agricultural and health projects. It also included a promise that there would be no transfer of Brazilian centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment.[64] While the Committee still considered uranium enrichment an area for cooperation, the Brazilian Navy, which developed the centrifuges used in Brazil's enrichment program, announced that it did not want to participate for fear of revealing its proprietary centrifuge technology.[65] Navy Commander Admiral Júlio Soares Moura Neto reaffirmed that uranium enrichment is a sensitive issue and that "there will be no transfer of technology in the agreement between Brazil and Argentina."[66] The Navy's refusal to participate in the joint programs raises questions about what kind of cooperation on enrichment is possible or practical.

Both Argentina and Brazil have their own enrichment plants using different technologies that are considered essential to their respective nuclear programs. Argentina's Pilcaniyeu enrichment plant uses gaseous diffusion technology, and beginning in 2010, it is expected to be able to meet the needs of Argentina's two operational reactors (Embalse and Atucha 1) and one under construction (Atucha 2). Brazil, on the other hand, uses centrifuge technology to enrich uranium to 3%-4% at its Resende plant in Rio de Janeiro and expects to be self sufficient in 2014. Brazilian officials told NuclearFuel that although Brazil does not believe that the Pilcaniyeu plant will be commercially competitive, it understands that it is a strategic component of Argentina's nuclear program.[67] According to physicist Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, director of the Coordination Board of Postgraduate Programs in Engineering at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and former president of Eletrobras, Argentina would not have immediate use for the Brazilian uranium enriched at 3% because its reactors use slightly enriched uranium at 1%.[68]

Given the practical difficulties of designating areas for nuclear cooperation, the two countries may be more interested in the political and strategic impact of the partnership than in sharing technologies. On the political side, their partnership could give greater credibility to the peaceful purposes of the Brazilian nuclear program. In 1991, Brazil and Argentina both forsook military uses of nuclear power and formed ABACC, a unique regional arrangement to monitor nuclear facilities to ensure they are being used solely for peaceful purposes.[69] In light of the new nuclear joint venture, ABAAC is working to improve its administrative and technical activities for enforcing compliance with nonproliferation and safeguards requirements. In his speech to the 52nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, ABAAC Secretary General Antonio Abel Oliveira stated: "The political decision to reactivate their respective nuclear programs for peaceful purposes and to develop joint ventures, not only fosters expectations of growth for the entire nuclear production chain of both countries, but also opens opportunities and broadens the responsibilities of ABACC. In this context, ABACC's experience in constructing a common safeguards system will be very useful in implementing this new joint venture between Brazil and Argentina, taking into account that ABACC is the first bi-national organization, completely operational, created between both countries."[70]

Thus the nuclear cooperation agreement and reinvigoration of ABACC can be seen as efforts to assure the international community that enrichment and nuclear submarine programs will not lead to nuclear weapons proliferation. According to Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, "countries that have military programs don't have joint projects for a nuclear bomb."[71] Moreover, an alliance with Argentina could "allow Brazil to project a regional and global leadership."[72] The joint venture might also give the countries a commercial as well as political advantage. Considering that Brazil estimates that between 12 and 15 nuclear plants will be in operation in South America by 2030, Alfredo Tranjan Filho, INB's president, believes that "working with Argentina only serves to strengthen the Brazilian position.... If we manage to establish with Argentina a structure for producing enriched uranium, we will get ahead of our competitors."[73] Some commentators have suggested that the partnership might also give Argentina and Brazil more credibility in their bid to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) as nuclear fuel suppliers.[74] While it is too early to tell how the joint venture will further the NDS goal of developing strategic nuclear technologies, it has already increased Brazil's status as a regional leader and encouraged regional stability through a strategic partnership. Not all coverage of the joint venture, however, has been positive; various environmental non-governmental organizations from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, and Uruguay have criticized the nuclear cooperation deal, calling it a "megalomaniac plan to install 12 to 15 nuclear power in South America until 2030" and spreading nuclear proliferation throughout Latin America.[75]


In its National Defense Strategy, its submarine deal with France, and its joint venture with Argentina, Brazil has tried to preempt concerns that its enrichment and nuclear submarine activities will lead to nuclear weapons proliferation. Brazilian officials are no doubt aware of the parallels between Brazil's enrichment activities and those of Iran, and eager to distance Brazil by emphasizing the peaceful and transparent nature of its planned activities. Nevertheless, Brazil's pursuit of a complete nuclear fuel cycle, its plans to enrich fuel for submarine propulsion, and its refusal to sign an Additional Protocol do raise proliferation concerns. Currently, Brazil's civilian and naval nuclear facilities are covered by safeguards under the Quadripartite Agreement, but as the first NPT non-nuclear weapon state to build a nuclear submarine, it will be sailing into uncharted waters.[76] Once the nuclear fuel enters the military submarine facility, it will most likely be beyond the reach of safeguard agreements and IAEA and ABACC inspectors. Moreover, the proliferation of nuclear submarines creates an increased risk of accidents with attendant loss of life and environmental damage as demonstrated by a recent spate of nuclear sub accidents involving Russian, British and French vessels. The NDS also confirms Brazilian officials' belief that nuclear weapons and/or a nuclear submarine are necessary to be taken seriously in international fora. Notably, the NDS stated that Brazil would not agree to any additional NPT restrictions until the nuclear weapons states make more progress toward nuclear disarmament. Brazil's NDS indicates that nuclear weapons states need to work harder to dispel the perception that nuclear military activities, with their potential for weapons proliferation, are required to be considered a world leader.


[1] For background on the NDS, see Sarah Diehl and Eduardo Fujii, "Brazil's Pursuit of a Nuclear Submarine Raises Proliferation Concerns," WMD Insights, March 2008.
[2] "Estratégia Nacional de Defesa,"Brazilian Ministry of Defense, December 17, 2008,
[3] Ibid., p. 4.
[4] Ibid. p. 25.
[5] Ibid.
[6] The Additional Protocol (INFCIRC 540) shifts the focus of safeguards from "detecting diversion" to "establishing the absence of non-declared" nuclear materials and activities by expanding the IAEA's legal authority under INFCIRC 153 to include granting inspectors access to any location in the country not directly involved with the nuclear program including research. There is a debate over whether the IAEA already has legal authority to implement any type of inspection it considers necessary under INFCIRC 153, but according to Matthew Bunn, "in practice the document created an environment in which inspectors were politically constrained to checking the declared information about declared material at agreed points of declared sites, and were strongly discouraged from inquiring into activities elsewhere at the declared sites or at other, undeclared sites." (Matthew Bunn, "International Safeguards: Summarizing 'Traditional' and 'New' Measures," MIT OpenCourseWare,
[7] "Brazil Wants UNSC to Drop Iran Nuclear Case," PressTV, November 3, 2008,; Daniel Lima, "Diálogo é o Caminho Para Resolver Questão Nuclear do Irã, Diz Celso Amorim" [Dialog Is the Way to Resolve the Iranian Nuclear Issue, Says Celso Amorim], Agência Brasil, November 2, 2008, Brazil, while publicly defending Iran's rights to enrich uranium, has joined the U.N. sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. (Marcela Rebelo e Julio Cruz Neto, "Brasil Adere às Sanções da ONU Contra o Programa Nuclear Iraniano" [Brazil Joins the UN Sanctions Against Iran's Nuclear Program], Agência Brasil, February 22, 2007,
[8] Hugo Marques, "O novo plano de defesa do Brasil," [Brazil's New Strategic Defense Plan], Istoe, November 5, 2008,
[9] Igor Gielow, "Brazil Columnist Critiques New Defense Strategy," Folha de São Paulo, December 19, 2008, OSC document LAP20081219032004.
[10] Igor Gielow, "EUA Cobram que Brasil Aceite Maior Fiscalização de Seu Programa Nuclear" [The U.S. Urges Brazil to Accept Stronger Inspections of Its Nuclear Program], Folha de São Paulo, January 9, 2009,
[11] Irma Arguello, "Brazil And Argentina's Nuclear Cooperation," Carnegie Endowment Proliferation Analysis, January 8, 2009,
[12] Mark Hibbs, "NSG States Engaging Brazil on Additional Protocol, ENR," NuclearFuel, Volume 33, Number 22, November 3, 2008, p. 5-6.
[13] Sarah Diehl and Eduardo Fujii, "Brazil Embraces Nuclear Energy with Decisions to Complete Nuclear Power Plant, Expand Uranium Enrichment, Fund Navy Nuclear R&D Activities, WMD Insights, September 2007,; Sarah Diehl and Eduardo Fujii, "Brazil's Pursuit of a Nuclear Submarine Raises Proliferation Concerns," WMD Insights, March 2008, For background on the USEXA project, see, "Brazilian Navy Explains Importance of Usexa Project," Parcerias Estrategicas, June 30, 2005, OSC document LAP20080923357004.
[14] Open Source Center, "Brazil Resumes Delayed Nuclear Projects," December 9, 2008.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Alex Rodrigues, "Corte de Investimentos Atrasou o Programa Nuclear da Marinha" [Investment Cuts Delayed the Navy's Nuclear Program], Agência Brasil, August 31, 2008,
[17] Alex Rodrigues, "Marinha Espera Concluir Usina Para Produzir Combustível Nuclear em 2010" [Brazilian Navy Expects to Complete Plant for Producing Nuclear Fuel in 2010], Agência Brasil, August 29, 2008,
[18] Between November 2007 and February 2008, ABACC in coordination with the IAEA conducted 11 provisional inspections and 5 unannounced inspections in 16 facilities in Brazil. (Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC),
[19] Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC),
[20] Mark Hibbs, "Brazil Could Expand Resende Plant to 1 Million SWU/year by 2030," NuclearFuel, Volume 33, Number 22, November 3, 2008, p. 4-5.
[21] Cristiano Romero, Daniel Rittner and Sérgio Leo, "Governadores do NE Querem Usina Nuclear" [North East Governors Want Nuclear Plant], Valor Econômico, January 15, 2009,
[22] "Brazilian Navy Explains Importance of Usexa Project," Parcerias Estrategicas, June 30, 2005, OSC document LAP20080923357004.
[23] Open Source Center, "Brazil Resumes Delayed Nuclear Projects," pp. 7-8.
[24] Ibid., p.6.
[25] "Brazil Goes for Full Participation in Consortium Promoting Technology of Future," Agência Estado, September 13, 2008, OSC document LAP20080913052013. Partners in ITER include the United States, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Korea, and the European Union.
[26] Odair Dias Gonçalves, "Fusão Nuclear: Resposta de um Nucleopata" [Nuclear Fusion: Response From a 'Nucleopath'], Folha de São Paulo, February 12, 2008,
[27] National Defense Plan, Ministry of Defense, December 17, 2008,
[28] "Marinha Ativa Coordenadoria do Programa de Submarino com Propulsão Nuclear" [Brazilian Navy Creates Agency to Coordinate the Nuclear Submarine Program], Brazilian Navy press release, September 26, 2008,
[29] In late 2007, Brazil discovered large oil reserves in the thick salt layer more than 7 km under the sea and possibly extending beyond the 200 nautical miles of the Brazilian Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ). Called "Amazonia Azul" (Blue Amazon), the Brazilian territorial waters include the so called "pre-salt" layer with oil reserves estimated at 33 billion barrels. Since 2004, Brazil has had a pending request with the United Nation to expand its EEZ by almost 1 million square kilometers by extending its jurisdictional waters from 200 to 350 nautical miles.
[30] Diehl and Fujii, "Brazil's Pursuit of a Nuclear Submarine Raises Proliferation Concerns."
[31] Isabel Clemente, "O Petróleo no Mar Sem Dono" [The Oil in the Ownerless Sea], Época Magazine, July 25, 2008,
[32] Sergio Leo, "Navios Americanos Preocupam Lula e Chávez" [American Fleet Are Source for Concern for Lula and Chavez], Valor Econômico, July 2, 2008,; Alexandre Rodrigues, "Marinha Mede Potencial de Reação" [Brazilian Navy Weighs Reaction], O Estado de São Paulo, September 22, 2008, Rear-Admiral James Stavridis, commander of the U.S. Southern Command visited countries in the region followed by the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon and the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Clifford Sobel, denied that the new oil discoveries were the reason for the activation of the fleet. (Sergio Davila, "Sob Polêmica, EUA Reativam Sua 4ª Frota na América Latina" [Under Controversy, the U.S. Reactivates the 4th Fleet in Latin America], Folha de São Paulo, July 13, 2008,
[33] "Xando Pereira, "Precisamos de um Sivam Que Funcione no Mar" [We Need a Sivam (Amazonia Vigilance System) That Works at the Sea], A Tarde, September 4, 2008,
[34] "Brazilian Submarines: DCNS Passes Major Milestone Towards One of Group's Biggest Contracts Ever," DCNS web site, September 7, 2009,; "Acordo Entre o Governo da República Federativa do Brasil e o Governo da República Francesa na Area de Submarinos" [Agreement Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of France in the Area of Submarines], Brazilian Defense Ministry on the DEFESA@NET web site, December 23, 2008,
[35] "Acordo Entre o Governo da República Federativa do Brasil e o Governo da República Francesa na Area de Submarinos," DEFESA@NET web site, December 23, 2008, Article 2.
[36] Ibid., Article 2.4.
[37] Mark Hibbs, "Brazil, Verification Agencies Aim for Naval Fuel Safeguards Negotiations," NuclearFuel, March 9, 2009, pp. 6-8.
[38] "Agreement Between the Republic of Argentina, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards," ABACC,
[39] Hibbs, "Brazil, Verification Agencies Aim for Naval Fuel Safeguards Negotiations," p. 6.
[40] Ibid., p.7.
[41] "Acordo Entre o Governo da República Federativa do Brasil e o Governo da República Francesa na Area de Submarinos," DEFESA@NET, December 23, 2008.
[42] Alain Ruello, "Paris Va Signer une Importante Vente d'Armes Avec Brasilia" [Paris to Sign Major Arms Sales to Brasilia], Les Echos, December 23, 2008,
[43] "Jobim Diz que 8,6 bi de Euros Para Submarinos é 'Especulação'," [€8.6 billion For Submarines is 'Speculation'', Says Jobim], Folha Online, December 12, 2008, The value specified by the article Jobim is responding to is actually €6.7 billion for the submarines.
[44] The four diesel-electric Scorpène submarines will be less than 75 meters in overall length, have a surface displacement of 2 tons, hold a 30-40-person crew, deploy the latest generation torpedoes, and might be equipped with anti-ship missiles. The first submarine will be partially built in Cherbourg, France while the others will have the hull manufactured and assembled in Brazil. Wilson Tosta, "Odebrecht Ajudará a Construir Submarinos" [Odebrecht Will Help Build Submarines], O Estado de S. Paulo on DEFESA@NET, January 21, 2009,
[45] "DCNS Wins a Major Success in Brazil," DCNS web site, accessed on January 27, 2008,
[46] Vladimir Platonow, "Nova Base de Submarinos Será na Baía de Sepetiba, Confirma Comandante da Marinha" [New Submarine Base Will be on the Bay of Sepetiba, Confirms Navy commander], Agência Brasil, September 26, 2008,
[47] Diehl and Fujii, "Brazil's Pursuit of a Nuclear Submarine Raises Proliferation Concerns."
[48] Pedro Soares, "Acordo com França Prevê Construção de Cinco Submarinos e 50 Helicópteros no Brasil" [Agreement with France Plans to Build Five Submarines and 50 Helicopters in Brazil], Folha de São Paulo, December 22, 2008,
[49] "Submarino Scorpene: A Posição da Marinha" [Scorpene Submarine: Position of the Navy], DEFESA@Net, December 22, 2008,
[50] Samy Adghirni and Claudio Dantas Sequeira, "Brazil: France Reportedly Attempts to Sell Nuclear Submarine," Folha de São Paulo, December 18, 2008, OSC document LAP20081218357002.
[51] Maia Menezes, "Brazil's Choice of French Technology for Submarines Generates Controversy," O Globo, December 16, 2008, OSC document LAP2008121657002.
[52] "Marinha do Brazil Assina Contrato de Submarinos" [Brazilian Navy Signs Contract for Submarines], Brazilian Defense Ministry,
[53] Marco Aurelio Reis, "Brazil: Navy Counting on France, Funds, to Keep Nuclear Submarine on Track," O Dia, October 20, 2008, OSC document LAP20081020357006.
[54] Sequeira, "Navy Needs 8.5 Billion Reais to Build the Five Submarines."
[55] Denise Chrispim Marin, "Lula vê Brasil como potência militar após acordos com França" [Lula Sees Brazil as a Military Power after Agreements with France], Estado de São Paulo, December 24, 2008,
[56] The South American Defense Council was established on December 16, 2008 by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to promote military cooperation among the nations in the region, integrate the defense industrial base, and reduce conflict and mistrust among member countries. It includes all South American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela. (José Pacheco Maia Filho, "Unasul aprova criação de Conselho de Defesa" [Unasur Creates the South American Defense Council], Jornal do Brasil, December 17, 2008,
[57] "Brazil's Defense Ministry Celebrates 10 Years with New Agenda," Brasilia Ministerio da Defesa, January 2, 2009, OSC document LAP20090129357009.
[58] Stuart Grudgings, "Sarkozy Apóia Presença do Brasil no Conselho de Segurança" [Sarkozy Supports Brazil's Seat in the Security Council], Reuters, December 22, 2008,
[59] "Brazilian FM: Brazil Ready to Expand Technological Cooperation With Russia, Including on Peaceful Nuclear Energy," Interfax, May 16, 2008,
[60] Wilson Tosta, "Analistas Veem Maior Poderio Militar" [Analysts See Greater Military Power], Estado de São Paulo, January 26, 2009,
[61] Eleonora Gosman, "Argentina y Brasil Producirán Juntos Uranio Enriquecido" [Argentina and Brazil to Jointly Produce Enriched Uranium], Clarin, February 23, 2008,; Mylena Fiori, "Brasil e Argentina Vão Negociar Constituição de Empresa Para Enriquecimento de Urânio" [Brazil and Argentina to Negotiate Creation of Company for Uranium Enrichment], Agência Brasil, February 22, 2008,
[62] Eleonora Gosman, "Argentina y Brasil Acordaron Fabricar un Submarino Atómico" [Argentina and Brazil Agree to Build a Nuclear Submarine], Clarin, February 24, 2008
[63] "Submarino Nuclear do Brasil Terá Reator da Marinha Brasileira" [Brazilian Nuclear Submarine Will Have Brazilian Navy Reactor], Ministry of Defense, February 25, 2008,
[64] Denise Chrispim Marin, "Projeto de Binacional Nuclear Está Pronto. Mas Sem a Marinha" [Binational Nuclear Project is Ready, but Without the Navy], O Estado de São Paulo, August 24, 2008,
[65] Denise Chrispim Marin, "Brazil, Argentina Move Forward in Nuclear Cooperation," O Estado de São Paulo, August 24, 2008, OSC document LAP20080825357002.
[66] "Marinha Descarta Repassar Tecnologia Nuclear" [Navy Rules Out Transfer of Nuclear Technology], Agência Estado, September 28, 2008,
[67] Mark Hibbs, "Argentina, Brazil Negotiating Future Enrichment Joint Venture," NuclearFuel, Volume 33, Number 20, October 6, 2008, p. 6-7.
[68] Rafael Garcia, "Physicist Says Argentina Not to Benefit from Brazilian Enriched Uranium," Folha de São Paulo, February 23, 2009, OSC document LAP20080223055010. Embalse uses uranium enriched to 0.85%. (Hibbs, "Argentina, Brazil Negotiating Future Enrichment Joint Venture"). Atucha 1, which was originally designed to use natural uranium has been modified to use slightly enriched uranium. ("La Central Nuclear Atucha I Opera Con un Núcleo de Uranio Levemente Enriquecido (ULE)" [Atucha I Operates with Slightly Enriched Uranium], Argentine National Atomic Energy Commission, Argentine sources told NuclearFuel, however, that Argentine uranium enriched to 1% could be further enriched at the Brazilian enrichment plant and supply fuel for the Brazilian reactors and pending negotiations with Canada, a new CANDU-6 reactor that Argentina wants to build at Embalse. (Hibbs, "Argentina, Brazil Negotiating Future Enrichment Joint Venture.") However as CANDU-6 reactors use either natural or slightly enriched uranium, it is not clear how they would use more highly enriched Brazilian fuel. (CANDU 6, AECL,
[69] James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, "ABACC," Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations, Nuclear Threat Initiative,
[70] Antonio Abel Oliveira, "Speech at the 52nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency," ABAAC, September 2008,
[71] Clovis Rossi, "Brazil e Argentina Assinam Pacto de Cooperação Nuclear" [Brazil and Argentina Sign Nuclear Cooperation Agreement], Folha de São Paulo, February 23, 2008,
[72] Arguello, "Brazil and Argentina's Nuclear Cooperation."
[73] Denise Chrispim Marin, "Projeto de Binacional Nuclear Está Pronto. Mas Sem a Marinha" [Binational Nuclear Project is Ready, but Without the Navy], Estado de São Paulo, August 24, 2008,
[74] Hibbs, "Argentina, Brazil Negotiating Future Enrichment Joint Venture."
[75] "Ongs Lançam Nota de Repúdio à Nuclearização da América do Sul" [ NGOS Reject the Nuclearization of Latin America], ISA, Instituto Socioambiental, September 9, 2008,
[76] India is building an indigenously designed nuclear sub, and has leased a nuclear sub from Russia, but it is a non-NPT nuclear weapon state. For concerns raised by India's sub program so Anya Loukianova, "Following Fatal Disaster Russia Still Considering Submarine's Lease to India," WMD Insights, February 2009,

October 30, 2009

In this 2009 article, Sarah Diehl and Eduardo Fuji discuss Brazil's efforts to gain capabilities in all areas of the nuclear fuel cycle and its pursuit of a nuclear submarine.

Sarah Diehl

Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Eduardo Fujii

Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.