Assistant Professor, Department of History, Ohio State University
2021 to 2022
Going Nuclear: The Rise of the Brazilian Nuclear Industry
Currently, Brazil relies on nuclear energy for less than 5 percent of its energy production, but the industry remains a controversial contributor to the country’s energy matrix because of its perceived and real public health risks. Brazil first sought entry into the small club of countries that controlled the technology of their own nuclear plants in the 1950s but did not gain entry until military officials broke an agreement with the US in favor of German assistance in 1975. My project traces the industry’s development from a military interest to the establishment of the first plant, Angra I, in 1982 to the country’s own nuclear incident in Goiânia, Goiás in 1987 to revived investment in the energy boom of the 2000s. In a country singularly focused on using technology to modernize its international image, “Going Nuclear” reveals how various actors, from government officials to scientists and environmental activists, shaped this domestic energy industry.