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Monday, October 04, 2004

Did Brazil Get Nuclear Technology From AQ Khan?

    Posted by Adam Crouch

Brazil has been resisting IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities. Is there something to hide?
RIO DE JANEIRO: The Brazilian government has denied allegations that it obtained its centrifugal plans for uranium enrichment from a clandestine nuclear network headed by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

The Brazilian navy, which began the nuclear programme in the 1980s, denied "any type of link with Pakistan regarding the development of Brazilian centrifuges", in a statement on Friday.

Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology said it objected "to news accounts linking decades of scientific development to international scandals based on anonymous sources without the support of any institution or country".

Henry Sokolski, a former Pentagon official who now runs the Non-Proliferation Policy Education Centre in Washington, said the Brazilian centrifuges looked similar to a type sold by Khan's network to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

On Thursday, the daily Estado de Sao Paulo reported that Sokolski said that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials suspected that the network was the source of Brazil's centrifuge technology.

The enriched uranium from the centrifuges can be used as fuel for civilian reactors but also as explosive cores for atomic bombs.

Brazil, which is widely believed to have a peaceful nuclear programme, has since February blocked IAEA inspectors from inspecting its uranium enrichment facilities to "protect industry secrets".IAEA inspectors are due to arrive in Brazil on October 15 to resolve the dispute.

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