United States, Brazil Forge Closer Energy Ties

WASHINGTON, DC, June 23, 2003 (ENS) - The United States and Brazil signed two energy agreements late last week - one to research nuclear energy and one to cooperate on a host of energy initiatives, including hydrogen fuel cells and carbon sequestration. Bush administration officials say the agreements support the President's National Energy Policy goal to engage Brazil in energy cooperation.

"This partnership will strengthen bilateral cooperation on energy modernization and new technologies for both countries, promoting economic growth and energy security, as called for in President Bush's National Energy Policy," said U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. "This dialogue will advance areas of mutual cooperation and help expand trade and investment between the U.S. and Brazil, enhance regional energy security and promote the use of clean energy technologies." nuclear

The U.S. and Brazil will collaborate on extending the lives of nuclear power plants. (Photo courtesy Tennessee Emergency Management Agency)
The Memorandum of Understanding formally initiates energy cooperation between the United States and Brazil that will include collaboration on hydrogen and fuel cells - Brazil is the first Latin American country to join President George W. Bush's proposed International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy.

Under this new energy partnership, Brazil will begin negotiations to become a charter member of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum. In addition, the two nations will forge bilateral cooperative ties on electricity regulation and offshore safety, as well as on the development of clean energy technologies.

The other agreement - the International Nuclear Research Initiative - forges a partnership between the two nations to accelerate the development of new nuclear energy systems.

Brazil has two nuclear reactors - the United States has 104, nearly 25 percent of the world's total of 437 operational reactors.

Officials say the agreement will also help both nations work on extending the safe operating life of nuclear power plants while simultaneously developing advanced nuclear fuels and materials. It also will enable new cooperation between U.S. and Brazilian national nuclear laboratories, including student exchanges and research assignments.

The initiative builds on a 1984 science and technology agreement between the two nations that is still active.

This latest agreement is a product of a senior U.S.-Brazil Consultative Panel on Science and Technology Cooperation meeting that took place in the Brazilian city of Brasilia last week to further promote and coordinate collaboration between the two countries. Abraham

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham says the agreements with Brazil will enhance regional energy security. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy)
Officials say some 60 participating scientists and policy makers from the two countries, representing ten U.S. agencies and 12 Brazilian institutions, confirmed the desire of both countries to strengthen their cooperative Science and Technology relationship.

They described a slew of ongoing collaborative research, including cooperation between Brazilian and U.S. agencies on space-based technologies to monitor and protect natural resources. For example, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Brazilian Space Agency have been working together on the Large ScaleBiosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia for more than five years.

The Brazilian Space Agency is also participating with NASA in the development of equipment for the International Space Station. The only astronaut hailing from South America, Brazilian Air Force Major Marcos Pontes, has been training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas since 1998.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with Brazil on a range of agriculture areas including biosafety and risk assessment, genomics, and water resource management.

In addition, the U.S. National Science Foundation has been engaged in student, postdoctoral, and staff scientist exchanges with Brazil to improve the linkage between research and education, and to generate future collaboration.