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How Brazil spun the atom [nuclear power reactors]

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This paper describes the Resende nuclear complex in Brazil which will house hundreds of uranium centrifuges to produce enriched uranium that will fuel its nuclear power reactors. By consistently fulfilling its obligations as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Brazil will become one of a few nations that operate commercial-scale centrifuge facilities. Brazilian officials say that this move makes sense as the country has the world's eight largest uranium reserves and that about 90% of the world's nuclear power plants depend on enrichment services to get their fuel. As the government expects to have a total of four nuclear power reactors in the very near future, it is good strategy for Brazil to make its own fuel. A novel feature of the Brazilian centrifuges is their rotors which, unlike other rotors, levitate and spin frictionlessly via actively controlled electromagnetic bearings, making them more efficient and durable.

Published in:

IEEE Spectrum  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 3 )