Brazil to join nuclear-powered sub club
March 11, 2019 - Within a decade Brazil could become just the seventh nation with a nuclear-powered submarine, the culmination of an $8.9bn programme that includes five attack submersibles built with French technology.
Riachuelo, the first of four conventional submarines built by Brazil’s Navy in partnership with French defence company Naval Group, is scheduled to begin sea trials in the third quarter of 2019.
These submarines, measuring 72 metres and weighing 1,870 tonnes, are modified versions of the Scorpene class diesel-powered submarine. All four are expected to be in service by 2023.
The fifth vessel, to be named Álvaro Alberto, is a nuclear-powered submarine and is planned to enter service by 2029.
Displacing about 6,000 tonnes and with an overall length of 100m, Álvaro Alberto has been designed to accommodate a Brazilian-developed 50MW pressurised water reactor.
With its delivery, Brazil will become the seventh nation – after China, France, India, Russia, the UK, and the U.S. – to build and operate a nuclear-powered submarine.
The new vessels will help Brazil to protect its 3.5m sq-km off-shore deep waters containing vast oil and gas reserves.