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Brazil

From the 1970s to 1990s, Brazil’s nuclear energy and missile programs raised several concerns with the international community.  Brazil refused to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT) until 1997, and its nuclear program was initially based on an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment facility.  In 1975, the Brazilian military launched a covert nuclear weapons program called the “Parallel Program,” which produced two nuclear weapons.  The Parallel Program was exposed to the public in 1988 and shut down in 1990.  It was later revealed that Brazil secretly sold eight tons of uranium to Iraq in 1981. 

The easing of the Argentine-Brazilian nuclear rivalry in the 1980s and 1990s allowed for greater transparency regarding the Brazilian nuclear program.  The Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) of 1990 and other bilateral agreements established a safeguards system to verify the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in both countries. 

In spring 2004, Brazil faced criticism over its conduct with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when it didn’t allow for full IAEA access to its uranium enrichment facility.  The IAEA had raised the concern that Brazil may have acquired nuclear materials through the A. Q. Khan network.  Moreover, the Brazilian government announced a plan to expand its enrichment activities for domestic use and sale to other countries.  At the same time, Brazil maintained that its nuclear program only serves peaceful purposes.  The dispute was resolved in November 2004 when Brazil allowed for unhindered IAEA inspections of its uranium enrichment site.  

 


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