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Apr 21st
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Nuclear agreement between Argentina and Brazil after Dilma Rousseff's official visit

NPSGlobal, 1 feb 2011. Dilma and Cristina

On January 31, 2011 Dilma Rousseff, the new president of Brazil and protégée of the most popular leader in the history of that country, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made her first official visit to another country. This honor, granted to Argentina, derives from the strategic links and trade relations between both countries and the regional impacts of such bilateral relation.

Received by her counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, both presidents issued a joint statement in which they consider the bilateral relationship to be "strategic" and "unbreakable", aiming at the same time to strengthen the political, economic, cultural, commercial and social ties between both countries.

During the visit 14 agreements were signed among which a nuclear agreement stands out. Below such agreement is specified in the joint statement signed by both presidents:

"They highlighted the high degree of integration that both countries have achieved in bilateral nuclear cooperation through significant projects in the field of the Nuclear Energy Binational Commission (COBEN). They welcomed, in that sense, the signing of the Cooperation Agreement between CNEA and the CNEN on the New Multipurpose Research Reactor Project, which opens the prospect for cooperation of great impact for the development of their nuclear sectors. Also, they ratified in its entirety the Joint Presidential Declaration on Nuclear Policy, signed in San Juan on August 3, 2010 and encouraged the political dialogue established in the Standing Committee on Nuclear Policy (CPPN), with the aim of continuing the exchange of information on the status of the nuclear programs of both countries, coordination of positions in international forums such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), among others, and the political assessment of bilateral nuclear cooperation and the functioning of the Brazilian- Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC), so as to enhance its role. "

On February 22, 2008 Brazil and Argentina signed a joint statement promoting bilateral nuclear integration, which fostered the work between the National Atomic Energy Commission of Argentina (CNEA) and the National Nuclear Energy Commission of Brazil (CNEN) for the formation of the Binational Commission of Nuclear Energy (COBENA). Since then both countries have been working to align and advance common interests in the nuclear field.

Last year thanks to the Joint Declaration on Nuclear Cooperation issued in San Juan by President Lula and his counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner COBENA was instructed to "intensify efforts to implement cooperation and integration projects identified by itself as priorities for the advancement of bilateral cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, particularly emblematic and high visibility projects of the strategic bilateral relationship, such as joint development of a multipurpose research reactor."

As a result of this statement, the CNEA and the CNEN signed during this presidential visit the New Multipurpose Research Reactor Project which aims to develop two reactors which destined to the general objectives of radioisotope production, fuel and materials irradiation testing and research with beams of neutrons, although no formal deadline has been set for such developments. This is clear due to the absence of a specific schedule for this project in the joint statement.

On the other hand, no mention on enrichment progress was made, as indicated in the declaration of 2008. However, it does reaffirm the intention to strengthen ABACC but no specific way has been defined.

Through this agreement Brazil seeks to benefit from Argentina’s experience in the development of this type of reactor, which have been sold by Argentina to Peru, Algeria, Egypt and Australia.

Despite the positive statement and the goodwill of both parties, the history of this renewed nuclear relationship has so far remained in the declarative stage, with few concrete developments that actually measure a degree of substantial progress in bilateral nuclear relationship of Argentina and Brazil.

Link ot the official joint statement in Portuguese and Spanish.