Brazilian Nuclear History
Drawn from Brazilian and US government sources, this collection documents the evolution of the Brazilian nuclear program from the first proposal presented to the government in 1947, through the decision to establish a secret civilian-military program in 1978, until the end of the parallel military program in 1989. The documents are presented in collaboration with Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). (Image, Ernesto Geisel, Shigeaki Ueki, Paulo Nogueira Batista, at an exposition promoted by Nuclebrás in March 1977, Paulo Nogueira Batista Archive at FGV)
August 27, 1947
Minutes of the Tenth Session of the Brazilian National Security Council, Alvaro Alberto’s proposal to establish a Brazilian Atomic Energy Program
The minutes describe the internal discussion at the National Security Council of a proposal to establish a nuclear program sent from New York by Admiral Alvaro Alberto, who was representing Brazil at the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC). The Council approved the Admiral’s proposal and one of its members, Colonel Bernardino Corrêa de Matos Netto declared that "it is not convenient that Brazil relinquishes [nuclear energy], because it is necessary to prepare the ground for future generations."
August 30, 1956
Minutes of the Twentieth Session of the Brazilian National Security Council, Second Brazilian Nuclear Plan
At this meeting the National Security Council decided to reform the Brazilian nuclear sector by placing it under the direction of CNEN (National Nuclear Energy Commission). The CSN suggested young technicians and academics should be instructed abroad in order to stimulate the development of professionals in that field. One of the objectives of the nuclear policy was the production of nuclear fuel from domestically-sourced minerals. The Brazilian government criticized the monopoly on nuclear fuel by the big powers.
July 06, 1967
Argentina Naval Intelligence Service, 'Brazil: Prospects in the Field of Nuclear Energy'
This is an Intelligence Report regarding Brazil’s nuclear activities prepared by the Argentine Navy, which seeks to estimate Brazil’s nuclear intentions in the near future. It is mainly based on newspaper articles as well as declarations of Brazilian high-ranked scientists, diplomats and military officials.
October 04, 1967
Minutes of the Fortieth Session of the Brazilian National Security Council
Guidelines for the Brazilian nuclear policy in Costa e Silva’s government (1967-1969) and defines the diplomatic attitude of Brazil regarding the negotiations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). During the meeting of the National Security Council, participants agreed on the need to cooperate with another country to start a national nuclear program. On the NPT negotiations, the members of the National Security Council agreed to establish a condition to adhere to the Treaty: the defense of the right to develop peaceful nuclear explosions. Several ministers defended the possibility of using nuclear energy in the future for international security reasons.
December 05, 1967
Letter from the Director of Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) Uriel da Costa Ribeiro to the Director of the Argentinian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) Oscar A. Quihillalt
Ribeiro conveys the Brazilian interest in establishing a nuclear cooperation agreement with Argentina, expressed during the visit of the Brazilian mission to the inauguration of Ezeiza Atomic facility in Buenos Aires in 1967.
December 29, 1967
Letter, Director of the Argentinian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) to the Foreign Minister on Nuclear Cooperation with Brazil
The Director of the Argentinian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) writes to the Foreign Minister on a visit by a group of Brazilian officials and the details of a possible agreement for nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
Draft Argentinian-Brazilian Agreement in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
Draft of a nuclear cooperation agreement between Argentina and Brazil, very likely the same one given by Brazilian authorities to the Argentinian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) mission during the latter’s visit to Brazil in March 1968.
September 04, 1968
Aide Mémoire, 'Sale of 5 Tons of Uranium to Brazil'
A Brazilian diplomat to Argentina expresses an interest in acquiring five tons of uranium free from safeguards to Argentine authorities. CNEA and the foreign ministry of Argentina approved the request, taking into consideration the favorable diplomatic relations between the two countries at the moment.
December 20, 1968
National Atomic Energy Commission Report to the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Brazil’s Request for Uranium
This document reports on CNEA’s position on the exports of uranium to Brazil and reports that the operation will not produce any economic benefit. Nevertheless, it is favorable to the export as a token of Argentina’s good will in regard to nuclear cooperation with Brazil.
March 28, 1969
A Joint Communiqué about West German Minister Gerhard Stoltenberger's Visit to Brazil
This Joint Communiqué provides details about conversations between West German Minister, Doctor Gerhard Stoltenberger, and members of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their plans for the General Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. The framework of the agreement included topics of research such as nuclear energy, space and aeronautical research, oceanography, scientific documentation and electronic data processing.
April 02, 1969
Telegram to the President of Brazil on the Draft of the General Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology between Brazil and West Germany
A Telegram/Cable sent by the Minister of External Relations, José de Magalhães, to the President of the Republic of Brazil, regarding the draft of the General Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology between Brazil and West Germany.
May 02, 1969
Brief Study of Draft of the General Agreement on Science and Technology between Brazil and West Germany
This document is an evaluation of the General Agreement on Science and Technology between Brazil and West Germany. It provides the guidelines of the Brazilian Nuclear Policy, which stimulated the continuation of programs, contacts and agreements in the nuclear field. Moreover, the document reveals that the Brazilian government understood that it needed the cooperation of foreign partners, like West Germany, in order to advance its nuclear program.
December 15, 1969
Letter from the Director of the National Atomic Energy Commission Oscar A. Quihillalt to Argentine Foreign Minister Juan B. Martin
Quihillalt suggests to the new Argentine foreign minister, Juan B. Martin, the formalization of the nuclear relationship with Brazil through the signature of a memorandum of understanding.
January 21, 1971
Brazil's National Security Council Approves the Special Agreement between CNPq and the Nuclear Research Center of Jülich
This document was written to the President of Brazil, confirming the Naitonal Security Council's approval of the Special Agreement between CNPq and the Nuclear Rewsearch Center of Jülich.
April 19, 1971
Memorandum, Ambassador Paulo Nogueira Batista, Information for the President of Brazil, 'Enrichment of Uranium'
A secret report addressed to Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Gibson Barbosa by Amb. Paulo Nogueira Batista (Brazilian Embassy, Bonn) describing alternatives for the establishment of comprehensive, long-term nuclear agreements between Brazil and a “country to be defined.” The report suggests that given the trends in uranium production in the US and Europe, Brazil needed to either associate itself with France to purchase gas diffusion technology or develop, together with Germany, ultracentrifugation or jet nozzle technologies. The notion was that “countries that decide to develop their own enrichment capacity will not only occupy a privileged competitive position but also will become part of an oligopoly with obvious political implications.” Nogueira Batista was worried, however, that Germany might not be able to offer Brazil centrifugation technology under existing obligations.
May 12, 1971
Telegram, Brazilian Embassy in Bonn, 'Relations Brazil/FGR. Visit of Minister Walter Scheel.'
Communiqué from Amb. Paulo Nogueira Batista (Brazilian Embassy, Bonn) to Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Gibson Barbosa. The communiqué reports the conversation between Batista and the Vice-chancellor of West Germany, Walter Scheel (who became president in 1974), during his visit to Brazil. Recalling the existing agreement between CNEN and Jüllich Center for Nuclear Research, Nogueiras Batista mentioned Brazil’s intention to establish an ambitious international project in the realm of nuclear cooperation, which “visibly impressed the vice chancellor” (p.151). The communiqué ends with Nogueira Batista’s handwritten notes and questions concerning the capacity of the proposed plant and the possibility of a French-Brazilian-German venture.
October 19, 1971
Brief Study of Scientific Agreement on Nuclear Research between CNPq and the Nuclear Research Center of Jülich
A document issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this special agreement sought to deepen the scientific and technological cooperation between the two nations. This document differed from the Scientific and Technological Agreement previously celebrated in that the CNPq-KFA agreement was more specific, as it indicated which areas would be explored. It was signed directly with a center of nuclear research, clearly demonstrating Brazilian interest in the nuclear field.
February 16, 1972
Note from the Director of Argentinian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) on a Possible Agreement with Brazil
The director of CNEA, the Argentine National Atomic Energy Commission, summaries past unsuccessful attempts to organize an agreement with Brazil for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy research.