Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Brazil Returns To Nuke Program

By Cernig

Just as the IAEA is warning that it could go broke before September, here comes another new expense for the underfunded agency. Brazil is to reopen it's nuclear programs after a 20 year gap.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday said Brazil would revive its nuclear program after a 20-year hiatus, releasing funds to complete a nuclear submarine and the country's third atomic power plant.

Construction of the submarine and nuclear plant were stopped 20 years ago.

"If money was lacking, it won't be lacking now," Lula said on visiting the Brazilian Navy's Technological Center in Sao Paulo.

"I've made a commitment to provide the necessary funds so we can complete that project," the president told reporters at the center, referring to the submarine.

He said finishing the nuclear submarine would cost an estimated 68 million dollars and take eight years.

"And who knows, with a little more (money), we may build it sooner, because its running late," Lula said.

The president also confirmed that construction would resume for the Angra III nuclear plant in Rio de Janeiro state, after the National Committee on Energy Policy approved the project two weeks ago.

"We will complete Angra III, and if necessary, we'll go on to build more (nuclear plants) because it is clean energy and now proven to be safe," Lula said.

"Nuclear energy has been tested and approved in Brazil. It is safe and we have the technology. So why not go for it?" Lula added.
Brazil isn't exactly Iran - which is a regime I'm seriously uncomfortable about, despite the number of posts I've written against the neocon hype of the Iranian program in furtherance of their real motive of war with the Mullahs on any pretext at all. Brazil is a nation I would consider a responsible actor but governments and plans can change. The submarine is the worrying bit. I'm having difficulty thinking of a nation which has nuke-powered subs but no intention to put nuke-tipped missiles in some of them. Nuclear subs are about force projection and so are nuclear missiles - the two fit together very well. If coastal defense is all that's needed, modern deisel-electric boats are quieter and cheaper.

With stuff like this going on, it continues to boggle the mind that the IAEA has an annual budget for fighting nuclear fires worldwide roughly equivalent to the gross of Shrek 2 in its first two weeks.

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