According to an Associated Press article, Brazil may be “re-thinking its commitment to nonproliferation.”
As Iran faces international pressure over developing the raw material for nuclear weapons, Brazil is quietly preparing to open its own uranium enrichment center, capable of producing exactly the same fuel.
While Brazil is more cooperative than Iran on international inspections, some worry its new enrichment capability – which eventually will create more fuel than is needed for its two nuclear plants – suggests that South America’s biggest nation may be rethinking its commitment to nonproliferation.
While Brazil has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is planning to be able to produce more nuclear fuel than it will need, worrying some (If they do not plan on selling or sending enriched uranium to other countries, why make more than what is needed for the domestic nuclear plants?). Although most people regard Brazil’s nuclear energy program as peaceful, it’s enrichment program, secrecy and “reluctance to allow unlimited inspections” of its facilities has worried some.
“Brazil is beginning to be perceived as a country apparently wanting to re-evaluate its commitment to nonproliferation, and this is a big part of the problem,” said Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
The government-run Industrias Nucleares do Brasil S.A. has been conducting final tests at the enrichment plant, built on a former coffee plantation in Resende, 90 miles west of Rio de Janeiro. When it opens this year, Brazil will join the world’s nuclear elite.