Cover Image
close this bookScience and Technology in the Transformation of the World (UNU, 1982, 496 p.)
close this folderSession IV: The control of space and power
close this folderNuclear energy in Latin America: The Brazilian case
close this folderLuiz Pinguelli Rosa
View the documentI. The Brazilian nuclear programme and the treaty with the federal Republic of Germany
View the documentII. Perspectives on nuclear energy in Brazil
View the documentIII. Nuclear energy and the prestige of national power
View the documentIV. The possibility of latin american nuclear co-operation
View the documentV. The position of brazil regarding nuclear proliferation
View the documentAppendices
View the documentReferences

IV. The possibility of latin american nuclear co-operation

In Latin America it would be more reasonable if some countries at a comparable industrial and economical stage, such as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico, united themselves to develop a nuclear programme, progressively including other countries as soon as they need this kind of energy.

A similar proposal of Latin American co-operation was recently made in a report of a study group formed by scientists of several countries, including European and North American, in the "Interciencia" symposium held in 1978. On the practical level, such a proposal will face the difficulties caused by the fact that the more advanced South American countries in the nuclear field - Argentina and Brazil - have adopted different technological lines. Brazil will use enriched uranium, and Argentina uses natural uranium. On the other hand, continental cooperation would bring the enormous advantage of eliminating the possibility of a senseless nuclear race with military implications. Moreover, this co-operation would permit a rational internationalization, at the South American level, of some steps of the nuclear industry, particularly the fuel cycle.

This attitude will also reinforce the Brazilian position of incorporating and dominating the fuel cycle, a point vigorously contested by the United States. The accord with West Germany is yet far from being irreversible, at least as far as the enrichment and reprocessing plants are concerned. It could be reversed, independently of Brazil, because of agreements between the United States and West Germany. Because it will take a long time before the technology can be effectively incorporated, the possibility that this incorporation may not take place is not unthinkable.

The United States, on the other hand, has proposed the internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle to avoid the proliferation of such technology and the dissemination of plutonium. This internationalization, under the hegemony of the countries already possessing nuclear technology, lacks trustworthiness because of the historical tradition of political and economical domination implicit in technological and industrial dependence. However, internationalization at a Latin American level could be feasible and could overcome the objections currently made by the North Americans in relation to the fuel cycle. It would also make valuable joint efforts possible, giving an adequate position to nuclear enterprises and strengthening the Latin American block in negotiations with the proprietors of the nuclear technology.