• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

Director General: "Brazil Needs Nuclear and Nuclear Needs Brazil"


IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi meets Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira (right to left). (Photo: IAEA/Diego Candano Laris)

The IAEA Director General has highlighted the importance of Brazil for the global nuclear sector, during a trip to advance the country’s use of nuclear technologies to meet its development goals. 

Rafael Mariano Grossi’s busy three-day programme began in Brasilia, with a lecture at a top diplomatic academy, the Rio Branco Institute, on the positive impact of nuclear technology for peace and development, and the importance of active diplomacy. 

Mr Grossi said: “In times of global crises, nuclear technology remains a force for good, addressing challenges like climate change and hunger.” 

Nuclear energy for net zero

At the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the National Congress, the Director General emphasized nuclear energy’s growing global importance – and the importance of Brazil to the nuclear debate. “As we face the challenge of climate change, the key role of nuclear energy is set to grow and Brazil is uniquely situated to take full advantage of this. The IAEA is ready to help. 

“A global energy debate without Brazil makes no sense. A global nuclear debate without Brazil makes no sense,” he added. 

Brazil currently has two operating nuclear power reactors and a third under construction. The country’s 2050 national energy plan indicates that it could add 10GW of nuclear in the next 30 years, which is enough to provide power for about 10 million people, with a possibility to include Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in their energy mix after 2030. 

Mr Grossi spoke with Minister of Mines and Energy Alexandre Silveira about the positive way Brazil nuclear sector is advancing, from energy generation to research.  

“The IAEA encourages the continuous development of the fuel cycle in Brazil, given its potential to become a key actor in the nuclear sector production chain. These developments are crucial for strategic growth and energy security in the country,” said the Director General.  

He also addressed the Brazilian Nuclear Program Development Committee, chaired by Head of Institutional Security Cabinet Minister Amaro. Mr Grossi highlighted the critical role of nuclear energy for Brazil’s economic growth and future decarbonization plans. The Director General conveyed the same message when meeting with Defense Minister José Mucio Monteiro. 

Contributing to the G20

During his visit, Mr Grossi also highlighted the first-of-its-kind collaboration of the IAEA with the G20, the world’s largest economic grouping, on nuclear power. This new cooperation started this year when the Brazilian Presidency invited the IAEA to participate in the G20’s Energy Transitions Working Group. The IAEA is presenting a series of briefings and reports to inform G20 members on the key role that nuclear energy can play in the energy mix and emphasizing the need to accelerate financing in order to reach net zero targets. 

These contributions include the reports From Knowledge to Action: An IAEA Toolkit for Sustainable Energy Planning and Nuclear Energy for Net Zero: Accelerating Investment in the Clean Energy Transitions

Access to cancer care for remote communities

The Director General was able to view firsthand the impact of his Rays of Hope initiative to deliver better access to cancer care in low- and middle-income countries. 

After arriving in Rio de Janeiro, he visited the Nuclear Medicine Service at António Pedro University Hospital, where doctors explained how the IAEA’s support, providing advanced equipment and training, has greatly improved early cancer detection and treatment quality.  

The IAEA is also supporting the Brazilian Navy in its goals to increase medical services for remote communities located in the Amazon River delta. Two mammography machines have been installed on the ships 'Soares de Meirelles' and 'Carlos Chagas', allowing these communities to have access to breast cancer diagnostic services for the first time in history. 

The many positive socioeconomic impacts of nuclear applications were also covered at an event co-hosted by the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN), particularly achievements in combating cancer and hunger. 

Protecting the ocean

Mr Grossi also tackled ocean health during his trip, signing an agreement with Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Luciana Santos to use nuclear science to study harmful algal blooms, microplastics, ocean acidification and more in Antarctica. 

Monitoring ocean health is just one example of how Brazil benefits from applying nuclear technology to development challenges. For example, Moscamed Brasil is one of the first institutions in the world to mass breed sterile mosquitoes to control the population and help battle the Zika disease. 

Nuclear Security

On Friday, the Director General established the IAEA’s first Collaborating Centre on Nuclear Security in Latin America – the Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (IPEN-CNEN). 

IPEN-CNEN will work closely with the IAEA on computer security, radiation detection and physical protection and help other countries in the region build capacity for robust nuclear security regimes. 

Naval nuclear propulsion

Mr Grossi met with Admiral Marcos Olsen and discussions included Brazil’s plans to develop naval nuclear propulsion.  

“The IAEA and Brazil are committed to working together for highest non-proliferation standards as Brazil advances naval nuclear propulsion plans,” said the Director General. 

He also visited the headquarters of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC). 

“ABACC has played a key role in regional stability and its importance will only grow as Brazil embarks on naval nuclear propulsion. I am looking forward to continuing the strong cooperation between the IAEA, ABACC, Brazil and Argentina,” he said.  

Stay in touch