Brazil and Argentina Create Nuclear Miniclub to Enrich Uranium

Nuclear energy in Brazil Brazil and Argentina intend to establish a binational company for uranium enrichment. The negotiations for that should start in the next 120 days, according to a joint declaration signed  by presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Cristina Kirchner of Argentina.

"We will launch a joint satellite and develop a program of peaceful cooperation in the nuclear area, that will be an example to the world inflamed by the arms building temptation and by political and ideological intolerance", said Lula in a speech to the Argentine Senate.

Argentina and Brazil have two running nuclear plants each and they belong to the restricted club of nations that control the uranium enrichment technology to produce nuclear fuel.

During a press conference on February 22 Brazil's Foreign Relations minister, Celso Amorim, assured that the future cooperation will be only for peaceful purposes and for electricity generation.

"This is another demonstration to the world that our use of nuclear energy is exclusively peaceful and geared to produce electric power as well as other benefits linked to medicine, food preservation, etc," Amorim stated.

Without giving details, the Brazilian minister said he believes that, at the beginning, Brazil and Argentina will continue developing their own studies.

"The exact work project, the way things will be achieved will still be defined later," he added.

"I believe that initially,  as each country has its own technology and its own way to work to enrich uranium, we will have something more like a holding, a binational company, and each side will continue working on its own."

This month, Brazil's National Commission on Nuclear Energy (CNEN) ratified five authorizations granted last year by president Lula for initial operation of units that work on uranium extraction, concentration and enrichment.

The Brazilian Navy has been developing projects in the nuclear area since 1979 – one of the programs is the Fuel Cycle Project, which uses ultracentrifuges made in Brazil for the enrichment of uranium.

Brazil has one of the world's largest uranium reserves, with a potential estimated in 300 thousand tons, concentrated in the states of Bahia (areas of Lagoa Real and Caetité) and Ceará (Itatiaia region),  enough to supply all domestic needs with surplus left for export.

ABr

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