Brazil to export enriched uranium

21 June 2016

Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) is to export its first enriched uranium under a contract signed with Argentine state company Combustibles Nuclear Argentinos SA (Conuar). The agreement will see the export of four tonnes of uranium dioxide powder for use in the first fuel load for the Carem modular reactor.

The contract was announced on 20 June by INB president João Carlos Tupinambá at the opening of the Latin American section of the of the American Nuclear Society's annual symposium in Rio de Janeiro.

The uranium will be shipped in three batches with enrichment levels of 1.9%, 2.6% and 3.1% uranium-235. Authorization from Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be required before the shipments can take place.

Tupinambá said that the agreement was a milestone in Brazil-Argentina relations and consolidated INB's - and Brazil's - presence in the international enrichment sector. The uranium dioxide powder was also manufactured at Resende, he said.

The export contract would not affect the supply of fuel from INB for Brazil's two operating nuclear reactors at Angra dos Reis, Tupinambá said. INB said that the six centrifuge cascades currently in operation at Resende provide about 40% of the enriched uranium needs of Angra 1. When the first phase of the plant is completed, with three further cascades in operation, it will be able to supply 100% of Angra 1's and 20% of Angra 2's enriched uranium.

INB uses centrifuge technology developed by the Brazilian navy's technological centre (Centro Tecnológico da Marinha em São Paulo, CTMSP) in partnership with the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission's institute for energy and nuclear research (Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares, IPEN). The Resende site is also home to INB's nuclear fuel fabrication plant.

Argentina's National Atomic Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, CNEA) began construction of the Carem-25 prototype reactor at the Atucha site in 2014. Conuar is a CNEA subsidiary.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News