Brazil has the world’s eighth largest uranium reserves, and enrichment would give Brazil nuclear fuel autonomy. In the 1950s, Brazil and the United States signed a nuclear cooperation agreement under the Atoms for Peace Program, and Brazil received two research reactors.
In 1971, Brazil bought its first power reactor, Angra 1, from Westinghouse Electric Corp. But wary of becoming too dependent on American technology and fuel, and also worried about Argentina’s nuclear development, Brazil looked for other deals.
In 1988, Brazil approved a new constitution, which stated that nuclear energy would be used only for peaceful purposes, and in 1991, Brazil and Argentina, pledging not to make atomic bombs, established a mutual inspection agency.
In 1997, Brazil finally signed the NPT and opened all its nuclear facilities, including the Aramar navy complex, to the IAEA. These developments helped convince many people inside and outside Brazil that the country has abandoned any nuclear weapons ambitions.
“I’m not worried about Brazil trying to get nuclear weapons,” U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last April in a radio interview before a visit to Brazil.
“What we have to do is to convince the world that Brazil is serious, that we follow the treaties, and that we have nothing to hide. Brazil should in no way go back on this.”