Nuclear Energy | Wilson Center

Nuclear Energy

From the Peaceful Atom to the Peaceful Explosion

NPIHP Working Paper #3. Jayita Sarkar explores technological collaboration between the French and Indian Atomic Energy Commissions, using new archival documents to expose how shared opposition to U.S. information censorship and the desire to preserve foreign policy independence fostered nuclear collaboration between the two nations. 

Key Findings

France and India negotiated the first ever nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA) in reactor technology in 1951, prior to President Eisenhower’s 1953 “Atoms for Peace” proposal.

Resolving the Dilemma of Nuclear Mistrust: From Foz do Iguacu to the Constitution of ABACC (1985-1991)

Nuclear relations between Argentina and Brazil immediately after re-democratization were not simple. Both countries still kept open the possibility of developing peaceful nuclear devices and had sensitive components of their respective programs outside the international safeguards regime, which presented a dilemma to be resolved in order to advance in other areas of the bilateral relationship. 

Brazil's 1975 Nuclear Agreement with West Germany

Brazil’s earliest attempts to master the nuclear fuel cycle date back to 1953-1954, when Admiral Álvaro Alberto da Motta e Silva purchased centrifuges for uranium enrichment purposes from the University of Göttingen. Although the equipment was not delivered because it was seized and detained by order of the United States, Brazil’s goal of obtaining the technology to master the entire nuclear fuel-cycle continued to be pursued intermittently over the following decades.

New Research Updates on Brazil-China and Brazil-Argentina Nuclear Relations

NPIHP, along with Fundacao Getulio Vargas, is pleased to announce two new Research Updates on Brazilian nuclear history.

Brazilian Nuclear Cooperation with the People's Republic of China

In the early 1980s, Brazilian nuclear activities were facing stark challenges. The 1975 Brazil-West German nuclear cooperation agreement had inspired strong opposition from the US and elsewhere. The landmark agreement provided for reactor construction and the transfer of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities that would give Brazil mastery of the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Officials in Washington viewed the agreement as a major proliferation risk.

The Brazilian Proposal to Renounce Peaceful Nuclear Explosions and the Argentine Response (1983-1985)

In early 1980's, Argentina and Brazil—both ruled by military dictatorships—were making significant advances in nuclear technology while undergoing radical domestic political transformations, which ultimately led to democratization in both Argentina (1983) and Brazil (1985).  Until recently, scholars have ignored Argentine-Brazilian nuclear dialogue between 1983 and 1985, suggesting that relevant nuclear talks only took place under democratic governments in both countries.

From the Indian Bomb to the Establishment of the First Brazil-Argentina Nuclear Agreement (1974-1980)

India’s first nuclear explosive test in May 1974 had deep consequences for the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The establishment of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 1975 added to the safeguards requirements that were imposed on countries seeking nuclear technology—even those that were outside the NPT. This tightening of the nuclear technology transfer regime as a result of India’s 1974 test would have a considerable effect on the Brazilian and Argentine programs.