Commentary on the Argentine-Brazilian Nuclear Rapprochement: Morning Session, Part 2

Dr. Ariel Levite

I would now like to introduce the next two participants in today’s seminar, who will offer their comments on the same topic of this morning’s panel. First, we have Dr. Marco Marzo, who has been given the unfortunate task of talking twice today.

Dr. Marco Marzo is ABACC’s officer for planning and evaluation. He is from São Paulo in Brazil. He holds a Bachelor of Physics from University of São Paulo, an M.S.C. in Nuclear Engineering from University of São Paulo, and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from Karlsruhe University in Germany. He has worked extensively in the Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission from 1974 to 1992, and was a director of the safeguards division of that commission from 1983 to 1992, upon which time he took his current position. Dr. Marzo has participated in negotiations on the formation of ABACC, and the Quadripartite Agreement with the IAEA and has been a frequent visitor to the IAEA for the technical discussions there. Dr. Marzo, please?

Dr. Marco A. Marzo

Senior Planning and Evaluation Officer, ABACC

Good morning. First, I’d like to thank you for the invitation to this event. It’s a great pleasure and honor to be here to talk about Brazil and Argentina. This morning, I have been asked to make some comments on the presentations of Mr. Redick and Mr. Carasales. This is, I think, both an easy and a difficult job—easy, because the two speakers described the situation in Brazil and Argentina very well. But I think it is also difficult because in some respects I disagree with what has been said. I experienced the development of the relationship between Brazil and Argentina since 1987 from the inside, and, of course, I have a specific view from inside the problem.

My first comment is to clarify some background information on the differences between the nuclear programs in Brazil and Argentina. I will also try to give you an overview on the motivation of the bilateral relationship.

First, in Argentina, since the beginning of the Atomic Energy Commission, there was agreement among the scientists, experts and the political authorities to use the natural uranium fuel cycle. As far as I know, they never considered using low enriched uranium. And so, they constructed two heavy water nuclear power plants—one CANDU reactor in cooperation with Canada, and another heavy water reactor in cooperation with Germany. The total capacity of the two plants, I think, is about 1,000 MW.

In Brazil, the situation was quite different. In the late 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, there was a great debate over the type of fuel cycle to implement. The experts and scientific people defended the use of the natural uranium fuel cycle, while the political authorities favored low enriched uranium. The political authorities argued that LEU was more economical, while the technical people defended the argument of the national independence of the natural uranium fuel cycle.

The political authorities won the dispute, and Brazil at that time bought a 600 MW “turn-key” PWR from Westinghouse. This was the beginning of the commercial nuclear program in Brazil. The motivation of the nuclear program in Brazil was and is the need for the generation of electrical energy from nuclear energy. Today, the electrical energy generation in Brazil is more than 99% from hydroelectric power plants. Of course, this is not a very comfortable situation. We need to have a basis of thermal electric power.

Also, the capacity of the hydroelectric power plant in the southwest region, where almost 80% of our population lives in big cities, is almost exhausted. Brazil does have hydroelectric capacity in the Amazons, in the north, but the distance from the Amazons to the south is almost 4,000 km, and it is very expensive to bring this energy to the southwest.

Besides that, we have environmental problems with further hydroelectric power plant construction in the Amazons because it occupies a very large ground in this area. Also, the gross electrical consumption in Brazil in the 1970s grew about 12% per year. In the 1980s, we had a recession in Brazil, but the electrical energy consumed still increased an average of 8 % per year because of new consumers entering into the market. There is no question that Brazil needs nuclear energy for all of these reasons. The question is only whether or not that need should be filled now or ten or twenty years from now.

So Brazil started a nuclear program with low enriched uranium. But we had trouble getting technology from outside Brazil. For example, the first agreement we signed was a 1975 agreement with Germany. The original agreement called for the construction of a jet nozzle enrichment plant, a reprocessing plant (with a capacity of one ton per year), 8 PWRs, a conversion plant, and a fuel fabrication plant. But by the end of the 1970s we already knew that this agreement failed completely and totally. We had only from this agreement, at that time, an incomplete fuel fabrication plant, which was only at the third stage. That means we received the pellets and prepared the fuel for the PWR. Additionally, the U.S. adopted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act in 1978, which cut U.S.-supplied low enriched uranium to the Angra-1 nuclear power plant—Brazil’s only nuclear power plant. These problems gave much support to those who favored the development of the domestic nuclear program.

I personally think all of these factors contributed decisively to the motivation to implement a domestic nuclear program. Now, we heard the presentation of Mr. Redick, which was a brilliant presentation. But sometimes I have the feeling that the people on the outside think this is a very big nuclear program. In fact, it is modest.

I also get the feeling that, because the military was involved in the nuclear program, many outsiders conclude that it was only a question of pushing the button for Brazil to have a nuclear weapon. This was not the case. Why was the military so involved in the nuclear program? In Brazil, we have a saying that there are four very well established institutions: the Navy, the Army, the Air Force and the church. As this saying implies, the military is involved in every important development in Brazil. The best example is in the area of communications: all of the communications systems were developed by the military. The involvement of the military in nuclear programs is not unusual in this context.

Mr. Redick also forgot to talk about the internal problems in Brazil with nuclear energy. The Angra 1 experience—Angra 1 is our first PWR and the only one in operation, it is the Westinghouse power plant—has been terrible. This reactor has so many problems that the people in Brazil joke about it because the plant is shut down as frequently as it is in operation. And we have so many problems—in turbines, in steam generators, diesel—in all of the conventional parts of the facility. The only place where we didn’t have a problem was in the nuclear reactor itself.

Of course, for Brazil, this was a very expensive nuclear power plant, and without good results. The first reactor is like the first love—we never forget it. (laughter) After the first reactor was completed, all the people in Brazil said, “Oh, the Brazilian experts are stupid. They cannot work with nuclear energy.” If I go to a party in Brazil, and someone asks, “Where do you work?” sometimes I am afraid to say that I am a physicist and that I work on nuclear energy. That’s really the situation; I’m not exaggerating. Other internal problems came from Chernobyl in 1986, and the radiological accident in Goiana. Both of these events provoked a lot of public opinion and pressure against nuclear energy. I would say that this pressure was a very decisive factor in creating the new constitution of Brazil, which was signed in 1988. For the first time in Brazil, the constitution has an article saying, “the utilization of nuclear energy in Brazil shall be exclusively for peaceful purposes, and under approval of the Congress.” I think this was very important in reducing the military’s coordination of the domestic nuclear program. What were the military’s involvements? First, the Navy developed, in cooperation with the Nuclear Energy Commission, the centrifuge program. But I don’t agree fully with Mr. Redick, who said that the domestic parallel program was dominated by the military. Rather, I would say that the domestic program was always under the coordination of the Nuclear Energy Commission, a civilian agency. The Secretary of Strategic Affairs, who oversees the Nuclear Energy Commission, is also a civilian.

The Air Force tried to develop laser enrichment, but they practically stopped development on this program in 1988 or 1989. I had the opportunity to visit this facility in 1985 or 1986, and I returned again to the same facility last year. It is exactly the same; the project has practically been cancelled.

The Army constructed a natural uranium/graphite critical unit, which never went into operation. If you know this project, you can see that it is very modest.

Now I want to discuss the influences of all of these developments on the relationship between Brazil and Argentina. Principally, the two countries had the same problem regarding the transfer of technology from outside. Both of their nuclear energy programs also had very, very big budget problems. To overcome these problems, Brazil and Argentina entered into a kind of exchange. We had, in some aspects, some complementary situations. For instance, Argentina produced zircalloy, and Brazil did not. And Brazil produced other materials that Argentina was interested in. So we started a very specific exchange program. This was in my opinion, technically speaking, the first influence.

The second influence concerned the beginning of the formation of regional economic blocs in the late 1980s. For instance, for Brazil, the first trading partner was always the USA, the second partner was Germany, the third partner was Japan. I don’t think Argentina was in the top twenty partners of Brazil. And the same thing in Argentina. If you were in Brazil, you never heard any Argentinean music; the cultural exchange between the two countries was practically non-existent.

The only thing that frequently happened, because of the money exchange problem, was that sometimes Brazil was very cheap for the Argentineans, and then a million Argentineans would come to the Brazilian beaches. And sometimes it was the opposite, and then a million Brazilians would go to Argentina on vacation. But, in general, the cultural and, of course, the economic relationship was very, very bad. The first condition to create the confidence necessary for a common market in the Southern Cone of Latin America was to resolve all the suspicions, mainly in the nuclear energy program. I don’t think this was the main reason for the success of the common market, but it was a milestone in its formation. And let me give you some numbers, to give you a feeling. In 1990, six years ago, the trade (imports plus exports) between Brazil and Argentina was $1 billion. In 1996, it is $10 billion. Today, Argentina is the second trading partner of Brazil, and Brazil is the first trading partner of Argentina. I think even from the cultural point of view, there is a very intense, deep (at least deeper than before) approximation between Brazil and Argentina. The nuclear rapprochement is a very important, but from an economic point of view, very small, part of the relationship between Brazil and Argentina.

I also disagree with the two speakers because they used the following phrase: “the decreasing role of the military.” At least in Brazil, I really don’t think there has been a decreasing role of the military. I think there was a change in the role of the military, but they remain very, very important in all political aspects of the situation in Brazil. But, of course, because of the large social problem in Brazil—you probably know that in Brazil we have a very large difference between the middle and upper classes and the poor—the military are now more professional. I think they finally understand that poverty in Brazil is the main challenge and risk for national sovereignty in the general political situation.

Finally, I think we should discuss not only the Brazil-Argentina safeguards model, and ABACC, but also the creation of a regional safeguards regime more generally, including its advantages and disadvantages, and a comparison between the regional safeguards regime and the international regime. I think the international community, represented mainly by the International Atomic Energy Agency, does not realize the importance of the regional safeguard system for nonproliferation.

I think we signed the Quadripartite Agreement because it was necessary to satisfy international concerns. Like many others, I also thought at the beginning that the international community would accept the Bilateral Agreement. But it was not enough: one interpretation was that before the Bilateral Agreement, we were enemies; afterwards, we became accomplices. I think the main reason for the international community’s view in this regard is that there is no established position on regional safeguards. What is the importance of the regional system for nonproliferation activity?

I would like to make two more clarifications. First, let me emphasize that Brazil signed and ratified the Tlatelolco Treaty a long time ago, but didn’t waive the clause that said that all countries in the region should sign and ratify the agreement. But I think there is a second clause to this treaty: that the nuclear powers should accept the agreement and sign it. I think in Brazil, and also in Argentina, there was doubt about the position of many nuclear powers, especially England, because there were some declarations against the Treaty.

During the period of the negotiation and implementation of the Bilateral Agreement, Argentina and Brazil started negotiations, together with Chile, aimed at proposing amendments to the Tlatelolco Treaty, so that the three countries could be able to fully adhere to the Treaty. After the acceptance of such amendments by OPANAL, and having fulfilled the legal requirements in both countries, the Tlatelolco Treaty came into force for Argentina and Brazil in January and May 1994, respectively.

Dr. Ariel Levite

Thank you Dr. Marzo.

The next speaker I would like to introduce this morning is David Albright. David is known to quite a few of us here, but let me nevertheless summarize briefly his accomplishments for those who have not had the chance to meet him. David is the President of ISIS, the Institute for Science and International Security, in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Department of Energy Openness Advisory Panel, which operates under the auspices of the Secretary of Energy. He’s also, interestingly enough, a member of the Health Advisory Panel appointed by the Governor of Colorado to look at some aspects pertaining to toxicological and radiological doses received by the population living around Rocky Flats. Before founding ISIS in 1993, David worked for the Federation of American Scientists for several years. He holds a Master’s degree in Physics and Mathematics from distinguished American universities. He’s published really extensively in numerous journals and other publications. He is, among other things, the co-author of the World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium, the new version of which is about to come out this year. And he also received an Olive Branch Award for his articles, together with Mark Hibbs on the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, which he monitors to this day. David is a cherished friend and colleague, and I invite him to address us.

Mr. David Albright

President, Institute for Science and International Security

Well, thank you very much for those kind words, mostly exaggerated. I’d like to first of all thank Ariel for encouraging us to come here. I think that it’s always been a very good experience. I’d also like to especially thank the Atomic Energy Commission and Soreq for hosting this event, and want to congratulate you for setting up the Shalheveth Freier Center, and wish you all the luck in that. We’d be very happy to help in any way we can. Before I begin, I’d like to make one advertisement. We just published an ISIS report on Russia’s nuclear supermarket, if I can be a little flip, and Kevin O’Neill, who I actually want to thank for doing a lot of the basic logistical work to pull this off from our side, wrote that report. It’s available outside. Ariel mentioned my work on Iraq, which unfortunately continues to this day, but I must say that one of the motivations for this report was a sort of flip remark made by a senior Iraqi official. He said that not a week goes by when someone doesn’t show up at an Iraqi mission somewhere in the world, and offer fissile material for sale. So I think that until the Russian problem is solved, we’re all going to have to worry.

One of the disadvantages of coming last is that most of what I wanted to say has been covered. But I would like to make a few comments about the role of key members of the Brazilian Physics Society and the Brazilian Association for the Progress of Science in changing Brazil’s nuclear policy, both directly and indirectly. By directly, I refer to physicists who, after years of being critics, joined the Collor administration as key nuclear advisors. I want to mention Jose Goldemberg in particular who became Collor’s Minister of Science and Technology. He was extremely influential in both trying to understand the extent of the parallel program and helping to bring it under control.

By indirectly influencing the process, I am referring to the role played by members of the Brazilian Physics Society as steadfast critics of the nuclear policy of the Brazilian government. This process started in the 1970s, during the military dictatorship. The main effect of this criticism was to shift public opinion or the political climate against nuclear weapons and nuclear explosives. An example of that is someone named Luis Pingelli, who’s a physicist at the University of Rio, and is one of the best examples of a long-time critic of the program.

The scientists’ role actually, as I mentioned, dates to the mid-1970s. It was spurred by the agreement between Germany and Brazil for the supply of eight light water reactors and a nuclear fuel cycle that Marco talked about. The physicists felt strongly that this was against the interests of Brazil. They tended to support a more indigenous program, a slower nuclear program. They were not anti-nuclear, they just felt that it should be done cheaper, more efficiently, and principally in an indigenous way. But the essential point is that during this period of the military dictatorship, which was quite harsh, the physicists and scientists were able to establish themselves as critics at a time, if you remember, when many points of view that were critical of the military government were repressed quite harshly. The scientists also managed to create fora at the annual meetings of the Brazilian Physics Society and the Association for the Advancement of Science meetings, where they could freely discuss nuclear issues. Consequently, the scientists became credible voices of opposition to government nuclear policies. Their criticism attracted strong support from the press and the public, some of which Marco alluded to when he goes to parties.

When the press reports in the mid-1980s started to reveal the parallel nuclear program, these same scientists sharply criticized this program. They felt that the uranium enrichment program, the centrifuge program, which was being conducted in secret, with illicit foreign procurement, run by the Navy and outside of any inspections or control by democratic institutions, was a nuclear weapons program. Their point of view was that the government wouldn’t have gone to that trouble if it wasn’t a nuclear weapons program. There was also a small plutonium separation program, which again elicited suspicions, and clearly these scientists did not know the motivation for this program. They weren’t inside the government at this time. They were speculating and trying to figure out what was going on, so some of their points were clearly wrong, but some were not. Their effort was strengthened when the press revealed what’s called the Cachimbo hole, which John Redick talked about earlier this morning. This reinforced the scientists’ concern that the parallel program was directed at producing nuclear weapons, particularly when the government went out of its way to deny that it was related to a nuclear explosive. The public heard many stories about it—it was to store nuclear waste; I heard one that this 200 meter deep hole was for ballistic missile testing. So all of these denials furthered the suspicions of these scientists.

This public debate, which from our point of view the scientists were essentially winning, did, I think, play an important role in creating the constitutional article that Marco quoted. The scientists were looking for commitments from the government that would forbid nuclear weapons being made in Brazil, and would put the nuclear programs under the control of the Congress. They felt that as long as their programs were independent, it was unclear what they would do.

The Brazilian Physics Society proposed an article for the 1988 Constitution, which would state that “Brazilian participation is forbidden in projects leading to the development of nuclear weapons.” Their proposal was actually turned down for the condition that “all nuclear activity in the national territory will only be admitted for peaceful purposes and upon approval in Congress.” So they had to settle on a compromise that nevertheless was quite significant in changing the political climate in Brazil and in creating a public opinion that favored stepping aside from nuclear weapons and bringing nuclear programs under more control.

One of the problems after the military left power was that Brazil was left with very weak democratic institutions. And so, parallel to these nuclear questions, the Brazilian Congress was having to learn what it means to be a Congress. A main part of their work, therefore, was to create the basic institutions that are part of democracies, to effectively administer budgets of the executive branch and oversee programs. So there was a strong commitment in the Congress to try to take on the nuclear program. Moreover, these actions helped to set the stage for the Collor government, which came to power in 1989. Collor selected Jose Goldemberg as the Minister of Science and Technology, as I mentioned.

One of the first things that Collor was confronted with was secret reports about the Solimões bomb project, a fifteen year old project that was aimed at developing a nuclear explosive. I think Marco expressed quite clearly that this program was fairly diffuse; it was not making very good progress and it was unclear who was in control of it. What Goldemberg found when he was charged with going out and visiting all these sites and talking to these people, was a program where decision-making wasn’t done clearly. The military leaders at the top might not know what underlings were doing. In fact, in some cases, Goldemberg found that they didn’t want to know, that there was autonomy for some of the lower military leaders to do things that the leadership at the top would simply ignore. So part of the confusion about what’s happened in Brazil is about the very nature of how that program was created and run.

People like Goldemberg believe that the Cachimbo hole was a nuclear test site, but Brazil did not have enough fissile material at that point to conduct a test. The Navy was probably the furthest along in producing fissile material, but probably was not the one most strongly motivated to build a nuclear explosive. The Army, which had probably the weakest program, in Goldemberg’s mind probably had the strongest motivation to make nuclear weapons. He has said on numerous occasions that he feels that if the program had continued, then it would have been the Army that made nuclear explosives. That was really the Army’s reason for getting into nuclear activities, in this case a plutonium production reactor. Yet what they had was a very simple program. Marco talked about a subcritical facility of some natural uranium bars, but they had to actually stick in a neutron source to fission uranium. They were designing a 20 MW thermal gas graphite reactor, which they hoped would produce enough plutonium for roughly one bomb a year, but it was several years from fruition.

One of the main issues for Collor domestically was that he wanted control over this program. An event happened that actually allowed him to exercise a great deal of control, and at the same time to show the international community that he was committed to stopping this program. There were press reports coming out that activity at the Cachimbo hole was continuing. He claimed that he didn’t know anything about it. So, whether that was true or not, I don’t know, but he seized the opportunity to make a dramatic trip to Cachimbo hole with military leaders and to symbolically close it. He threw some dirt in—I don’t know if they even covered it with a cap. However, it did send a signal to the military that times had changed, and that these programs had to be put under proper democratic controls. They weren’t all stopped: the Army’s program was scaled back; it was told it could build a two megawatt thermal reactor. The enrichment program was slowed down, but it continues to this day, and will probably expand over the next several years. Goldemberg was never successful in finding where nuclear weapons design work was really done. The Air Force seems to have been put in charge of that, and there’s been allusions to that by members of the Air Force, but in terms of what they actually did or how far they got, Goldemberg and others were unable to find out.

It’s been covered many times this morning how Collor really did believe that it was time to defuse the nuclear competition between Argentina and Brazil. He was willing to work with Argentina to try to make all these changes come about.

Let me just close with a few statements about the goals of the scientists. I think throughout the 1980s, their motivation really was to see the creation of an open democratic system with public scrutiny. In practice, that meant that the system would constantly weigh the priorities of the military against other pressing social priorities. They wanted to create a situation where the military would have greater difficulty siphoning off scarce public funds into programs that they felt had little utility to the country as a whole. I think that happened because, after 20 years of military rule in Brazil, the civilian officials, the public, and finally the military, were tired of a system run by a military dictatorship that was very inefficient and wasteful and that clearly was not going to lead to the development of Brazil.

Let me end with one final note. I mentioned Luis Pingelli Rosa earlier in this talk, as a long-standing critic of the nuclear program. I mentioned him because he became the nuclear advisor to Lula Da Silva of the Democratic Workers’ Party, who actually lost to Collor in the run-off in 1989. So, in a sense, from our perspective, this issue was covered by both candidates. No matter who won the presidency in 1989, we saw that the nuclear policies of the Brazilian Government were going to change dramatically, and those changes would be accompanied by an interfacing with the international nonproliferation system. In addition, I think Pingelli believed, or at least in his writings felt, that he could see the day when Brazil would finally join the Nonproliferation Treaty. That would be a major step for the Brazilian physicists because traditionally they have opposed the NPT, and most continue to do so to this day. It’s just seen as too discriminatory. This issue of discrimination, with the nuclear weapons states basically continuing with their nuclear weapons programs, is too much of an obstacle to overcome. But in any case, I think there was beginning to be some rethinking about that.

After Lula’s loss, Pingelli then went on to join the Congressional commission that independently investigated all of these nuclear sites in 1990. They generated a report assessing the nuclear weapons program as it existed when it was shut down in 1990, which is publicly available.

Questions and Discussion

Q: Dr. Ariel Levite: Thank you, David. In opening the floor to questions, let me preempt, and ask if the two of you could tell us how the intimacy of the cooperation between the nuclear communities became part of the equation in confidence-building, before there was actually any arms control to speak of ?

Second, the differences between ABACC safeguards and IAEA safeguards will be covered in the afternoon, but if you want to try to address it now, by all means please do so. I also wanted to see if David would care to comment on the impact of the safety concerns, caused by the Chernobyl accident and the radiological accident at Goiana. To what extent did these events change the public’s attitude against the nuclear lobby?

Marzo: Okay, about the scientific exchange, I personally think scientific exchanges were very important contributions to confidence-building between Brazil and Argentina because the approximation process between Brazil and Argentina started, as Mr. Redick and Mr. Carasales explained, with these types of visits. And, I personally took part in the first visit of Brazilian scientists to the gaseous diffusion enrichment plant in Argentina in 1987. Our nation’s president, Sarney, visited Argentina, which was more a political visit. But one week later, three of us went to Argentina. At that time, I thought, “Okay, this will be a protocol visit. We will ask questions and the people will ‘blah blah blah blah’ and will never answer the questions.” But to my surprise, we went to the enrichment plant and all of our many questions were answered.

More importantly, we learned to know the people who are working with safeguards, the people who are working with enrichment, with reprocessing. This started systematic visits from experts from one country to the other country. I can remember in 1988, we started to discuss the mutual inspection regime, and the position of Brazil was to increase the technical cooperation and the scientific exchange. And I know the Argentineans pushed more for the mutual inspection regime.

But during this period, from 1987 until 1990, confidence increased between Brazil and Argentina very much, just with these visits. Besides that, we started cooperation in specific fields of nuclear energy. For instance, we had technical cooperation in research reactor development, in nuclear material development, and in safeguards technology.

The nuclear communities in Brazil and Argentina are very small. It is not like in a very developed country. We don’t have a thousand doctors, or a thousand experts in enrichment, or in reprocessing. We have a few people in Brazil, a few people in Argentina. If these people know the other people, if they worked together on a common project, or if they exchange ideas, they exchange development, I think this is an important component for nonproliferation. And I think it was an essential part up until now in the regional system in Argentina and Brazil.

I will address your second question, about the differences between ABACC and the IAEA this afternoon. But I think this is the main difference, because we can many times have more access to information, to other facilities and places through the knowledge and the friendship that has developed between the people. Such access is very, very difficult to get in the international regime. I think the most important difference between the international safeguards system and the regional safeguards system is exactly this approach.

Albright: On the question you asked me about the role of the scientists and these other questions, like safety and health, they certainly were involved. The Goiana accident that Marco mentioned was a watershed event for the scientists, when a medical source containing radioactive cesium was taken and broken open in a village of Brazil and four people died from direct radiation effects. Children were playing with it, it was like a sparkling powder to them, and there was widespread contamination. One of the images on TV was bare-footed workers cleaning up the site, and so I think that for the scientists and the physicists, there was a feeling that Brazil had a long way to go on safety issues, and that it was a critical area to get involved in.

On reactor safety, I think they’ve always been involved in issues around the safety of the Angra 1 reactor, and then the safety of the construction of Angra 2 and 3, when there were concerns about siting. And Angra 1 is a joke in Brazil. In English I think it’s called “the firefly,” because it’s on and off so much that it’s like the firefly. So it’s a very easy target to attack if you’re trying to discredit nuclear power. I don’t think that was the motivation of the scientists, I think that their main concern with the West German deal was the sheer cost of it, and that a full public assessment of Brazil’s true energy needs and how they should be met had not been conducted.

Q: Dr. Ariel Levite: Dr. Redick and Ambassador Carasales, would either of you like to add something? Dr. Marzo? Marzo: I’d like to make an additional comment regarding the NPT. Argentina has signed and ratified the NPT and Brazil has not. I would comment on Brazil’s position. Many people in Brazil now feel that the country is under two comprehensive safeguard agreements: bilateral and international. Together, these agreements in many aspects go further than the commitment of the NPT. Many people also say, “Now we have all the disadvantages of signing the NPT, but we don’t have any advantages to accepting comprehensive safeguards.” But I think up to now the ethical position is to consider the treaty discriminatory. Really, from the practical point of view, there has been no difference. Brazil wants to pressure the nuclear powers to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

Q: Dr. Ariel Levite: How was the change in domestic nuclear policy related to the export policies of nuclear technology? What came first ? How much of the rapprochement was actually a response to external pressure?

Carasales: Well, okay, first I would like to comment on the positions of Argentina and Brazil regarding the NPT. As Marco has mentioned, Argentina has joined the NPT and Brazil has not. But the funny thing is that both countries had the same reasoning, but reached opposite conclusions. The reasoning goes like this: from the point of view of Argentina, we have joined bilateral agreements with Brazil and signed Tlatelolco, which goes in some ways beyond the NPT. And we have signed the full scope safeguards agreement with the Agency, so all these things put together create a situation in which Argentina has undertaken stronger commitments than those embodied in the NPT. So, the conclusion was, if we already have the commitments, why not join the NPT? It doesn’t cost us anything, and we will get the good housekeeping seal of approval that the NPT means.

The reasoning in Brazil was similar, but the conclusion was the opposite. We had the commitments, so why did they ask us also to join the NPT? So we will continue with our policy that we had followed for a number of years.

I could add my personal view, that Brazil sooner or later will join the NPT. Maybe Marco won’t agree with me, but I think in the long run Brazil will have no choice because now there are only, from the nuclear point of view, four important countries outside the NPT. One you know very well, the others are India and Pakistan, and the fourth is Brazil. Now, India and Pakistan have security problems that explain their attitude regarding the NPT, but that is not the case with Brazil. So I have no doubt that in the next months or even years many countries will put pressure on Brazil to join the NPT, like, “Why aren’t you doing that? It doesn’t cost you anything, you know.” And the ethical problem that joining the discriminatory treaty that Marco mentioned does not weigh very much in political affairs. So my feeling is that, in the long run, Brazil will join the NPT even if it doesn’t like it very much.

The other question relates to the export policy. When you consider the changes in Argentine policy over the last ten years, the evolution is really amazing. Around the early to mid-1980s, Argentina was completely isolated from the international nonproliferation regime. We were not part of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, we were outside the NPT, we were outside Tlatelolco, and we did not have a full scope safeguards agreement. Well, maybe a clarification is called for. In our nuclear development, we had installations built with foreign assistance, and installations that we developed indigenously. For those built with international assistance, we had safeguards agreements. But we did not accept them in indigenously developed installations, and we rejected any attempt to convince us to sign a full scope safeguards agreement. There was also a practical consideration. If you want to buy something from Germany or some other supplier, usually they were very reluctant to agree to the sale. But, not being a party to a full scope safeguards agreement, we could offer something in exchange. That is, we told the suppliers, “If you sell us this technology, we will put it under safeguards.” That argument was sometimes convincing because otherwise we would threaten to develop that technology indigenously. It would take more time, possibly cost us more, but we would get it in the end. But if you have full scope safeguards agreements already in force, you cannot offer that incentive to the suppliers. Perhaps that explains why we never signed a full scope safeguards agreement until the one signed with the Agency in December 1991.

Coming back to the development of Argentine nuclear policy, we saw that little by little, step by step, we developed a nuclear relationship with Brazil bilaterally, and then we had to expand our arrangement to include joining the international nonproliferation regime. And one of the conditions to really join that international nonproliferation regime is to have a very strict nuclear export policy, in order to prevent other countries, potential proliferators, from using the supplies that we could provide for non-peaceful purposes. I think that as a consequence of us joining, little by little, the international nonproliferation regime, it became timely to establish a severe and strict control regime regarding your exports, and that is what we did around 1992, if I remember correctly. As I said before, we were first admitted as observers to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, and then we become members, full members, and now we have become the chairman.

Albright: One of the reasons that people have argued with Brazil for joining the NPT is that there is, in various preparatory meetings and review conferences, an on-going debate about how you go to zero nuclear weapons in the world. And the debate is essentially focussed on the United States and Russia. But it’s actually turned out to be quite a lively debate, and it’s actually exerting real pressure on the United States and Russia to make progress. An example of that would be that the United States had many reasons to stop its nuclear testing program. But it didn’t have compelling reasons as a government to unite and say, “We want a comprehensive test ban treaty.” The one argument that won the day, in a sense, was that, if you negotiate a treaty, it will make the non-weapons states like Argentina, Mexico, happier, they’ll be more likely to support the nonproliferation regime, and less likely to give the United States trouble at these extension conferences. They’ll vote to extend the treaty indefinitely, and then cause less trouble in future review conferences. So there is a political mechanism that’s being formed around the NPT. I think Argentina realized that, and wanted to participate in it.

Q: Dr. Ariel Levite: Dr. Redick, did you want to say something?

Redick: A few seconds on Brazil. I would agree with Mr. Marzo that the importance of Brazil coming into the NPT is far more symbolic than substantive. My own view is that Cardozo has left the door open for Brazil to come into the NPT; but he is highly sensitive that there is a great deal of opposition in the Brazilian Congress. I believe that Brazil will eventually come into the NPT, perhaps in context with its entry into the UN Security Council as a permanent member. I see a deal there perhaps.

Q (from the audience): Does the IAEA’s “Program 93+2” have any importance in Brazil, with respect to the question of acceding to the NPT?

Marzo: Well, let me explain. I am not representing the Brazilian Government, but I will try to answer. I think there is really no relationship between the 93+2 activities in Brazil and the Brazilian position with the NPT. Brazil has accepted Part I of Program 93+2, and has some concerns from the legal point of view with Part II. But also on Part I, there are several technical questions that Brazil would like to understand and to better clarify before the Agency implemented these activities. But as far as I know, there is no relationship between 93+2 and the NPT. In principle, Brazil accepted Part I, and I assume Brazil will negotiate with the Agency on a case-by-case basis the implementation of Part I.