The history of NUCLEP as part of the development of the Brazilian Nuclear Program
The world scenario pointed to the need for alternative energy in the face of crises and wars waged by oil. The importance of research in the nuclear sector represented a guarantee of military strength, which made Brazil invest in this field and face the great powers.
Nuclear technology has brought great strides and investment in research. The military use of this technology in nuclear weapons and its strong destructive capacity, demanded a strict control and inspection by the forces of the nation.
The foundation of the factory brought with itself the productive capacity for the sector and an independence of other nations that once dominated the technology. We started to manufacture parts and equipment that allow the advance in this field understood as much as energy as of defense.
We chronologically list the facts and projects that reveal a little of the past and highlight the current importance of NUCLEP for the future of the Brazilian Nation.
- Creation of the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM), at the time linked to the Ministry of Agriculture.
- Creation of the University of São Paulo (USP): the studies focused on cosmic radiation, radioactivity and theoretical physics problems.
1940 – Cooperation for the prospection of fissile minerals between Brazil and the USA.
1945 – 1st Atomic Agreement concerning the sale of radioactive minerals to the United States (secret).
1946 – Establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission at the UN.
1947 – Creation of the Committee for Studies and Inspection of Strategic Minerals for the control of exports of radioactive minerals.
1949 – Foundation of the Brazilian Center for Physical Research (CBPF) by a group of Brazilian scientists. The main lines of research were cosmic rays and elementary particles.
1951 – Through Law 1.310, the National Congress approves the creation of the National Research Council (CNPq) and establishes the state monopoly of the foreign trade of atomic ores, besides setting restrictions on the sale. The CNPq assumed the formulation of science and technology policies in the country and the coordination of these activities.
1952 – Creation of the Strategic Materials Export Commission (CEME) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the purpose of controlling all activities related to the use of nuclear energy.
• 2nd Atomic agreement for the sale of radioactive minerals between Brazil and the USA.
• Foundation of the Nuclear Technology Development Center (CDTN).
1953 – Energy Research Institute (IPEN) - "Atoms of Peace": A North American project aimed at bringing benefits of the newly discovered nuclear technology to countries allied with the United States.
1954 – 3rd Agreement for sale of radioactive minerals to the USA.
• Agreement Wheat: established the exchange of 5,000 tons of monazite, the same amount of salts of cerium and rare earths in Brazil per 100,000 tons of American wheat.
1955 – 4th Atomic Agreement (Tório X Trigo) Brazil / USA
• Creation of the Atomic Energy Commission of CNPq with the purpose of proposing measures necessary for the use of atomic energy, controlling activities related to nuclear energy, developing instructions for the use of nuclear energy and giving an opinion on the export of uranium and thorium.
1956 – Creation of the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) with the purpose of proposing measures necessary for the political orientation of atomic energy in all its aspects.
1957 – International Atomic Energy Agency: Its purpose is to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and discourage military uses of nuclear weapons.
• Reactor IEA.R1 - SP: pool type research reactor, moderated and cooled to free water and using beryllium and graphite elements as reflectors.
1959 – Mambucaba Project: Superintendence created to coordinate and execute all the economic, administrative and financial measures related to the implantation of nuclear power plants.
1962 – Creation of the Institute of Nuclear Engineering (IEN) to house, in Rio de Janeiro, the nuclear research reactor Argonauta.
1965 – Reactor Argonauta: baptized as Argonauta, the reactor was developed according to a project of the American laboratory of Argonne. Redesigned and built with 93% of national components, it reached its first criticality on February 20, 1965.
1971 – Creation of Brazilian Company of Nuclear Technology (CBTN), for the purpose of conducting research on nuclear ore deposits, developing nuclear technology for the treatment of ores and fuel production and installing uranium enrichment plant and components for reactors.
1972 – Construction work for Angra 1 started.
1974 – The Brazilian Nuclear Technology Company (CBTN) is renamed Nuclebrás, with the purpose of executing the Brazilian Nuclear Program (PNB), in cooperation with Germany.
1975 – The subsidiaries of Nuclebrás are created, which are:
• Nuclebrás Engineering S.A. (NUCLEN)
• Nuclebrás Mining Assistant (NUCLAM)
• Nuclebrás Monazita (NUCLEMON): research of thoracic of monazitic sands
• Nuclebrás Isotopic Enrichment S.A (NUCLEI)
• Nuclebrás - STEAG: for development of centrifugal jet
• Nuclebrás Heavy Equipment S.A. (NUCLEP)
1976 – Construction work for Angra 2 started.
1980 – Inauguration of the NUCLEP plant, in Itaguaí, on May 8, 1980.
• Creation of Nuclebrás Nuclear Plant Builder S.A. (NUCON)
1981 – NUCLEP began manufacturing components for the Angra 2 nuclear power plant and Nuclear Power Plant (NPP4).
1984 – Angra 1 receives from the National Commission of Nuclear Energy (CNEN) the license for commercial operation
• Deceleration in Angra 2 works due to the economic crisis; NUCON disabled; NUCLEP seeks new markets and starts manufacturing components for other industry sectors.
1986 – NUCLEP started to develop technology in the manufacture of hard shells for IKL-1400 submarines of the Brazilian Navy.
1987 – President Sarney's announcement in the radio and TV chain declaring that "Brazil has already mastered all techniques to enrich uranium by ultracentrifugation."
1988 – The relationship between the presidents of Brazil and Argentina, José Sarney and Raúl Afonsín, respectively, began a relationship of trust, sealed with the visit of José Sarney to the atomic plant of Pilcaniyeu and with the visit of Raúl Alfonsín to the plant of the Navy in Aramar.
• Changes promoted by José Sarney:
- Nuclebrás was renamed Nuclear Industries of Brazil S.A. (INB) linked to the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN);
- Dissolution of NUCLEI and NUCLAM;
- The control of Angra 1 and the beds of Angra 2 and 3 are transferred to Furnas.
1989 – NUCLEN shares are transferred from INB to Eletrobrás and NUCLEP shares are transferred to CNEN.
• NUCLEP - ASME VIII Certification: ASME certification attests the manufacturer's ability to build boilers and / or pressure vessels according to ASME standards.
1993 – The Navy inaugurates the Tamoio, first submarine of national manufacture with helmet manufactured by the NUCLEP.
1994 – The subsidiaries NUCLEI and NUCLEMON are incorporated into INB.
• NCP - ISO 9001 certification.
1997 – Creation of Eletronuclear, from the merger of the nuclear area of Furnas and NUCLEN.
2000 – The Angra 2 plant starts operating.
2001 – Projects carried out:
- CBC / Mitsubishi: ethylene oxide reactors;
- Petrobras / Cenpes: hyperbaric chamber;
- Pressurizer for Angra 3 Nuclear Plant;
2002 – NCP - ASME III Certification
2003 – Project realized: pressure vessel of the reactor (prototype) for National Pressurized Water Installation (INAP) of the Technological Center of the Navy in São Paulo (CTMSP).
2005 – Projects carried out:
- Petrobras: Cantilever beam for Platform P-3, complete assembly line of panels and hull of Platforms P-51 and P-56.
• President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva participates in the delivery of the first blocks of the H-platform P-51 manufactured by NUCLEP.
2007 – Projects carried out:
- ALSTOM: components for hydroelectric power plants.
- Two steam generators for Angra Nuclear Power Plant 1.
2010 – Projects carried out:
- IMPSA: seven Pre-distributors.
- AKZ: gas turbine housings.
- GE-USA: exhaust casings for steam turbines.
2011 – NUCLEP begins the process of manufacturing hard shells for 4 submarines of the Scorpène class, of French technology, for the Brazilian Navy.
2013 – Angra 1 reactor pressure vessel cover.
2014 – In September, NUCLEP delivered to Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN) the qualification section of the Scorpène class submarines.
2015 – In September, NUCLEP delivered the section (2B) of the SBR-1 Submarine to the Brazilian Navy.