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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 6th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

As reported by Irith Jawetz from the Vienna Seminar., July 1, 2014.

Seminar: “Brazil’s Nuclear Kaleidoscope: An Evolving Identity.”

On Tuesday, July 1, 2014, The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)  hosted a seminar by Dr. Todzan Kassenova,  that had the above title. It was both – important and informative.

Dr. Kassenova is an Associate in the Nuclear Program at the Carnegie Endowment based in Washington DC.
She currently works on issues related to the role of emerging powers in the global nuclear order, weapons of mass destruction, non proliferation, nuclear security, and strategic trade management. She also serves on the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament matters.

Prior to joining the Carnegie Endowment, Dr. Kassenova worked as senior research associate at the  Center for International Trade and Security in Washington DC, as a postdoctoral fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and as an Adjunct  faculty member at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Previously she was a journalist and professor in her native Kazakhstan.

Today’s seminar focused on Dr. Kassenova’s recently published a research paper on this topic – on  which she worked for two years – it focuses on focusing on Brazil’s Nuclear program.

In order to do some justice to that very involved topic, we would just highlight a few points from that research study.
For the electronic copy of the report please visit CarnegieEndowment.org

An important point Dr. Kassenova stressed at the very beginning of her talk was that negative past experiences explain why Brazil seeks nuclear independence. Brazil tried first to obtain nuclear technology from abroad, i.e. France, Germany, the USA, prompting Brasilia to develop domestic capabilities.

Currently Brazil mines uranium, produces nuclear fuel, operates two nuclear power plants and is building a third.

The Brazilian navy is important in the nuclear field as well, it developed uranium conversion and enrichment technology, and since the 1970s has been working on a nuclear powered submarine.

The nuclear submarine program is essential in order to protect Brazil’s coast and offshore natural resources, and to stave off potential enemies from the sea. Brazil wants to bolster its international standing with that program.

Rivalry with Argentina was initially a drive of Brazil’s nuclear program. Today both countries work together in a bilateral nuclear safeguards regime to verify their nuclear activities are peaceful.

Brazil has not signed an IAEA Additional Protocol on nuclear safeguards  because it is reluctant to accept additional non proliferation obligations as long as nuclear weapon states do not achieve meaningful progress towards nuclear disarmament.

Brazil’s nuclear policy, especially its advanced nuclear fuel cycle and its nuclear powered submarine project generate attention internationally, but little is known about the domestic drives behind that program. Dr. Kassenova based her study on numerous conversations over two years with Brazilian policy experts, academics, former and current officials, and representatives of the nuclear industry.

For more information, please log on to Dr. Kassenova’s full report at: carnegieendowment.org/2014/03/12/brazil-s-nuclear-kaleidoscope-evolving-identity/h2rx.

 

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