MOSCOW – Russia and Brazil signed a memorandum of cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy on Tuesday, Russian media reported.
The signing of the agreement, which was carried out by the director general of Russia’s Rosatom atomic energy corporation, Sergei Kiriyenko, and the chairman of Brazil’s Nuclear Energy Commission, Odair Gonçalves, came during Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes’s visit to Moscow.
The pact calls for the development of uranium prospecting technology and the design of new reactors, as well as the design and construction of nuclear research reactors.
The agreement opens the way for the production of radioisotopes for use in agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the training of nuclear energy experts.
Russia and Brazil agreed to create a working group for atomic research and development projects.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva laid the foundation for the nuclear energy cooperation agreement during their meeting in Rio de Janeiro last November.
Until now, nuclear cooperation between Moscow and Brasilia had been governed by the inter-governmental agreement signed in 1994.
Brazil, a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory, has two atomic reactors with total generating capacity of 1,855 MW.
In May 2008, Brazil announced plans to move ahead with an ambitious nuclear program that includes power plants and an atomic submarine.
The South American nation wants to use its enormous proven uranium reserves, which rank as the sixth-largest in the world, as the foundation for its nuclear program, and the country also dominates the full uranium-enrichment process through state-owned INB.
The program would expand uranium enrichment, planning for new nuclear power plants and the number of professionals trained in nuclear medicine.
Lula, who met again with Medvedev last month in Moscow, where the two leaders discussed the global economic crisis before attending the first official summit of the BRIC group, whose members are Brazil, Russia, India and China, in Yekaterinburg, plans to visit Russia in the first half of 2010, Guimaraes said.
Bilateral trade, which reached $6.7 billion in 2008, fell about 40 percent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. EFE