Brazil to build first nuclear submarines

Updated: 2013-03-02 10:15


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RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff unveiled a multi-billion-US-dollar naval plant Friday in southeast Rio de Janeiro state, where the country plans to build its first nuclear submarine with French technology.   

Brazil will build five submarines, including a nuclear-powered sub, in partnership with France, which agreed to transfer the technology to Brazil in a 2008 agreement.

Rousseff highlighted the project, saying Brazil was now joining "the select club of countries with nuclear submarines," five members of the United Nations Security Council.

Rousseff said Brazil can manage to dedicate itself to advanced industry without losing sight of other important goals, such as overcoming social inequalities.

"Brazil can do it. It has all the conditions to fulfill its great role in the science and technology development, in the exploration of space, in the defense industry, but at the same time generate income and jobs, and deal with overcoming and eradicating poverty," she said.

With an investment of 7.8 billion reals (about $3.9 billion), the naval plant, called the Metallic Structures Construction Unit, is designed to be part of a naval base and shipyard in the city of Itaguai.

The plant will generate 9,000 direct jobs and 32,000 indirect jobs, according to the Defense Ministry.

The first submarine is expected to be operational by 2017 and the nuclear sub is expected to roll off the assembly line in 2023.

Rousseff said the nuclear sub will not serve for war, but will act as a deterrent.

Defense Minister Celso Amorim defended Brazil's insistence on technology transfer as part of all its military purchases, saying "a country that depends on what others supply cannot be independent, nor defend its resources, its people or its place in the world."