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Brazil produces fuel for indigenous nuclear sub

7th January 2022 - 12:04 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Brazil has produced its first fuel tablets for the future nuclear-powered submarine Álvaro Alberto

Domestically produced uranium fuel will power the first Brazilian nuclear submarine.

Fuel for the first nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) in the Brazilian Navy has been produced for the first time at the Electronuclear Energy Generation Laboratory (LABGENE) in Sao Paulo, leveraging a partnership between the navy and fuel cycle organisation Nuclear Industries of Brazil (INB).

The Brazilian Navy Technological Center in São Paulo and INB reached an agreement in 2021 for the manufacture of uranium dioxide tablets to use for submarine propulsion. These tablets were produced between August and December 2021 to be integrated with nuclear turbines developed by LABGENE.

‘After production, these inserts will undergo several tests to validate the fuel element design, under nuclear safety aspects, in order to meet the requirements of the licensing process,’ the Brazilian Navy noted in a 4 January statement.

On 25 November 2021, the Brazilian Navy signed an agreement to start building the hull of the future SSN (called Álvaro Alberto).

French shipbuilder Naval Group is providing technical assistance across all aspects of the future SSN except for the nuclear reactor.

Shephard Defence Insight forecasts that Álvaro Alberto will be commissioned in 2034 for an estimated production cost of $2.4 billion.

The nuclear submarine is part of Brazil’s PROSUB project that also includes domestic development and construction of build four diesel-electric Riachuelo-class boats.

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