wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04BRASILIA1503
2004-06-18 15:07:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brasilia
Cable title:  

TALK OF BRAZIL-CHINA NUCLEAR COOPERATION OVERSTATED

Tags:  KNNP ETTC KSCA PREL BR CH 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BRASILIA 001503 

SIPDIS

HICPAC OIC PASS TO USPACOM HONOLULU HI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2014
TAGS: KNNP ETTC KSCA PREL BR CH
SUBJECT: TALK OF BRAZIL-CHINA NUCLEAR COOPERATION OVERSTATED

REF: A. BEIJING 9600

B. BEIJING 9152

Classified By: SCI/C Daniel Rubinstein. Reasons 1.4 (b,d).



1. (C) SUMMARY. Much was made in the Brazilian press about
an apparent agreement reached between Brasilia and Beijing
during Lula's May visit to China to cooperate on nuclear
energy and technology. The story was exaggerated. It is now
clear that little more than inchoate informal agreements to
study the issue were reached. Real exchanges of materials or
technologies will occur only years down the road, if ever.
END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Guilherme Patriota, Senior International Affairs
Advisor at the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology
(MCT), told Sci/C that President Lula's comments on nuclear
cooperation with Beijing during his China trip in May were
not well coordinated within the GoB, and that early press
coverage of Lula's and Minister of Science and Technology
Eduardo Campos's comments was misleading. NOTE: MCT is the
parent ministry of the GoB's umbrella nuclear agency CNEN.
END NOTE. As the GoB later made clear in public statements,
no new agreement in the nuclear field was signed, nor were
any draft MOUs, LOAs or other documents exchanged.



3. (C) Beyond mention during the May visit of the long-extant
China-Brazil umbrella agreement on nuclear cooperation, there
was merely oral agreement to examine nuclear cooperation
further during the visit to Brazil of Chinese COSTIND
Minister Zhang Yunchuan this coming August. Laercio Vinhas,
Senior International Affairs Advisor of Brazil's nuclear
agency CNEN, confirmed to Consulate Rio de Janeiro the very
general nature of the discussions during Lula's May trip. He
added that, while China may be interested in sourcing raw
uranium from Brazil, Brazil has yet to determine the
magnitude of either its actual uranium reserves or its future
domestic needs, given uncertainties in Brazil's own nuclear
power program. In addition, domestic legal changes would
likely be required to engage in such sales.



4. (C) MCT Advisor Patriota noted the contradiction between
Lula's mention of possible joint Chinese-Brazilian uranium
mining operations in Brazil and the sale of Brazilian uranium
to China on the one hand, and the Brazilian Constitution and
other laws on the other hand. All nuclear-related activities
in Brazil are the sole dominion of the Brazilian federal
government. Foreign governments, and private firms of any
nationality - including Brazilian - are barred from
activities such as uranium mining. The law similarly
prevents the sale of uranium to non-Brazilian state entities.



5. (C) Patriota confirmed the concrete interest within some
(pro-nuclear power) parts of the GoB and the state-owned
nuclear industry to find new revenue streams for Brazil's
money-starved nuclear power program, highlighting the
specific goal of finding new business opportunities for state
nuclear engineering and construction firm NUCLEP in
participating in the construction of future Chinese nuclear
power plants. Patriota conceded, however, that NUCLEP would
find steep price and quality competition from Chinese and
foreign firms in China for what are essentially mammoth
construction jobs. There may exist secondary interest in
finding buyers for raw Brazilian uranium assuming the laws
are changed, but the value added of this type of trade is not
very attractive for Brazil. More broadly, President Lula has
mandated a broad interagency review of Brazil's entire
nuclear sector, including the economic viability of the
current modest program. Consequently, the likelihood of
major new activities with foreign partners coming to fruition
soon is highly doubtful.

HRINAK