Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) plans to export 4t of uranium dioxide powder under a 20 June contract signed with Argentine state company Combustibles Nuclear Argentinos SA (Conuar) for use in the first fuel load for Argentina’s Carem modular reactor. Conuar is a subsidiary of Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica – CNEA). The uranium will be shipped in three batches with enrichment levels of 1.9%, 2.6% and 3.1% uranium-235. The shipments will require authorization from Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
INB president João Carlos 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 export contract would not affect the supply of fuel from INB for Brazil’s two operating nuclear reactors at Angra dos Reis, he said.
The uranium dioxide powder was manufactured at Resende where INB has six centrifuge cascades currently in operation, which 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 also hosts INB’s nuclear fuel fabrication plant. CNEA began construction of the Carem-25 prototype reactor at the Atucha site in 2014.