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December 20, 1968

National Atomic Energy Commission Report to the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Brazil’s Request for Uranium

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)



Buenos Aires, 20 December 1968





I have the honour to contact Your Excellency to inform you and request your instructions with respect to the following negotiations started by Brazil before this NATIONAL COMMISSION, to acquire in Argentina a small portion of uranium:


In the last month of September, Mr. Carlos Antonio BETTANCOURT BUENO, First Secretary of the Embassy of Brazil, visited this House and informed his country’s interest in purchasing five tons of uranium, without safeguards and with great discretion.


Given the informal character of the consultation, no decisions were made but it was responded to Mr. BETTANCOURT BUENO that the request would be considered with great disposition and in the spirit of collaboration that characterises the relationship between the countries.


However, we began in this institution an analysis of the actual possibilities in that  respect. Likewise, the opinion of the Director of Politics at the Foreign Ministry was consulted, who estimated that in the current situation and given the spirit of good will under which our relations with Brazil have been developing, agreement should be sought always and as long as it did not imply greater efforts.


At a recent date, a note from Mr. President of the NUCLEAR ENERGY COMMISSION of Brazil, Professor Uriel da COSTA RIBEIRO was received, in which it confirms and officialises the above mentioned request; note to which we have delayed responses until we know your instructions, Minister.


In order to provide Your Excellency the elements for your decision which are in the domain of this NATIONAL COMMISSION, I must make you aware of the conclusions from the analysis of the possibilities conducted:


Technical aspects: this NATIONAL COMMISSION is able to provide the requested uranium. Due to its scarce volume, that provision would not significantly affect our regular production programme nor affect its stock.


Economic aspects: the negotiation would not yield in practice any benefit. On the contrary, from an operational point of view one may expect more inconveniences than advantages. It is estimated, however, that other types of considerations should prevail to evaluate our interests in this operation.


Legal aspects: according to what was established in the decree 1307/68, the NATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION is authorised to export up to 100 tons of non-concentrated uranium in the course of the next 3 years, starting on January 1st 1968. That is, also in this aspect there would be no problems in exporting the 5 tons requests by Brazil.


Finally, I should point out to you, Mr. Minister, that in the framework of the relations between the two atomic energy commissions, we find it convenient to satisfy the requests made as one more expression of our will to cooperate.


I salute Y.E. with my greatest consideration,





Head of Planning Department





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.

Document Information


Critical Oral History Conference on the Argentine-Brazilian Nuclear Cooperation, Rio de Janeiro, March 2012.


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