June 18, 1979
Notice No. 135/79 from the General Secretariat of the Brazilian National Security Council
This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
AVISO [Notice] no. 185/79
Brasília, June 18 1979
I have the honor to address Your Excellency with regard to the conclusion of the activities of the Working Group (GT) set up in this General Secretariat by presidential directive, in order to “organize the participation of IEA in the development of the technology of industrial production of UF6”
As Your Excellency will recall, the GT was set up in the light of the contents of Exposição de Motivos no. 008, SECRET, dated March 12 1979, elaborated jointly by Itamaraty, the Ministry of Mines and Energy and this General Secretariat.
In conveying to Your Excellency, for information to Itamaraty, a copy of the report of the Working Group, I am glad to stress and express my gratitude for the efficient participation of Counselor Marcelo Didier, who represented your Ministry as Observer.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurances of high esteem and consideration.
(Signed) General Danilo Venturini
Minister of State, General Secretary of the National Security Council.
To His Excellency
Ambassador Ramiro Elysio Saraiva Guerreiro
Minister of External Relations
1 – Introduction
- Upon approving Exposição de Motivos no. 008/79, dated March 12 1979, jointly signed by the Ministers of External Relations, Mines and Energy and the Secretary General of the National Security Council, His Excellency the President of the Republic ordered, among other measures, the setting up of a Working Group (GT) to “organize the participation of the IEA in the development of the technology of the industrial production of UF6”.
- The above mentioned document established the following guidelines:
“to set the basic lines of a special project to be coordinated by the Federal Government and to be carried out in a short delay”;
“to plan the allocation of resources for the relevant activities”;
“to establish the basis for Nuclebrás to supply the necessary raw materials and to absorb the resulting production of UF6”.
- The Working Group was installed on May 16 1979, at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the National Security Council.
2 – Participants:
Ministry of Mines and Energy
Dr. Dario José Gonçalves Gomes
Secretariat of Planning of the Presidency of the Republic
Prof. Oscar Sala
Government of the State of São Paulo and Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research
Dr. Pedro Bento de Camargo
Prof. Rômulo Pieroni
Dr. Alcídio Abraão
Dr. Hernani Augusto de Amorim
National Nuclear Energy Commission:
Dr. Rex Nazaré Alves
Dr. Hélcio Modesto da Costa
Dr. Ivano Marchiesi
Empresas Nucleares Brasileiras – Nuclebrás
Dr. John Milne Albuquerque Forman
Dr. Sebastião Carlos Valadão
General Secretariat of the National Security Council
Lt.Col. Glycério Vieira Proença Junior
C.F. Luís Eduardo Silva Cerqueira
The Ministry of External Relations, represented by Counselor Marcelo Didier, by invitation of the Coordination of the GT, followed the development of the work.
The GT met on a full time basis on May 16, 17, 22 and 29 and June 5, 11 and 12.
All meetings took place in the premises of the General Secretariat of the National Security Council
4 . Resulting documents
The results of the work of the GT are reported in the annexed document, where two alternatives, namely “Integrated Project” and “Autonomous Project” are presented and examined.
5. General Commentary
Despite the fact that two alternatives with specific conception and characteristics were examined as a method of work, a growing trend toward a convergence of viewpoints on several topics examined was observed during the activities of the GT.
So, for instance, at the end of the work of the GT, considering the eventual adoption of the Autonomous Project, Nuclebrás presented, as collaboration, the formulation of a plan regarding its participation in said Project, in the light of the contents of respective Paragraph III-1 “Global Concept of the Project”. That formulation is presented below:
1) To build at IPEN a pilot plant (UP-II) with appropriate capacity, duly supported, with flexibility for operation and for the testing of equipment and materials, independently from safeguards. The contract of services from IPEN will ensure the integration of the plant in the industrial programs of Nuclebrás.
2) IPEN will conduct independent programs, with a view to the development of new technologies of UF6 and subsidiary technologies, such programs being de-linked from those of Nuclebrás. The results of these programs, as they become viable, will be acquired by Nuclebrás for use in future plants.
3) IPEN may participate in the development of subsidiary technology, to the extent of its capability and interest, by request of Nuclebrás in the case of UF6 and by other interested parties in the case of the parallel fluoride industry.
4) The Project Nuclebrás/UP UK will have a normal development as foreseen in the contractual chronograms”.
The GT closed its activities on June 12 1979.
The results achieved by the Group will be conveyed through the SG/CSN to be examined by the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Chief of the Planning Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic.
IV – ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
Through the agreed method of vote, the Working Group arrived at the following conclusions:
- Integrated Project
- Lesser cost in cruzeiros
- generates negative reflexes in the national scientific milieu;
- opens the way for the application of IAEA safeguards on the activities underway at IPEN;
- makes possible the rise of technological dependence for certain inputs, necessary to the operational continuity; and
- renders more difficult the use of technology in parallel fluoride industries beyond the nuclear market.
- Autonomous project
- Increases the political-economic bargaining power;
- Maximizes the use, in the long run, of scientific, technological and financial resources available in the country;
- Favors the use of technology in the development of full national capacity in materials, components, systems and instruments for similar technologies in the nuclear field;
- Renders more difficult the imposition of technical specifications by foreigners, which might restrict the participation of the national industry;
- Permits the autonomous and independent development of safeguards on alternative processes of isotopic enrichment;
- Favors the eventual sale of technology by Brazil to other countries.
In 1978 the National Security Council identified the most important shortcoming of nuclear cooperation with Germany: the non-transfer of technology for the production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6). The lack of this crucial phase for the production of nuclear fuel led Brazil to decide to develop this method by national means, in view of the unwillingness of France and Great Britain to export said technology without a full scope of safeguards. The document reports how the government decided to create an autonomous nuclear project with regard to cooperation with Germany and free from the international safeguards regime. Coordinated by CNEN and implemented by the Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research (IPEN), this project represented the first phase of the “parallel” nuclear program whose objective was the autonomous mastery of the nuclear cycle.
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