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02 August 2019

King's strengthens Brazilian navy partnership

Researchers get full access to Brazil’s nuclear submarine programme ahead of student study visit to Amazon

King's staff viewing the Brazilian nuclear submarine programme

Ahead of a study trip by War Studies students to the Amazon next week, here we highlight an exclusive visit by King's academics to the Brazilian navy's new nuclear submarine programme that took place earlier this year.

"We were invited to visit the Brazilian Navy Nuclear Programme and the Programme for construction of submarines, to understand how the programme developed from its start back in the 1970s up to today. This connection highlights the influence of King’s Brazil Institute and the School of Security Studies, at the highest level, on defence and security in Brazil," said Dr Vinicius de Carvalho, Senior Lecturer in Brazilian Studies.

Brazil is one of the few countries in the world with a solid peaceful nuclear programme that is developed within the frame of the Armed Forces. The main goal of the programme is to develop a Nuclear Propulsion Submarine. Dr Carvalho, along with Professor Wyn Bowen, Head of the School of Security Studies and Dr Christopher Hobbs, Reader in Science and Security, visited all sites of the submarine construction and the Center for Nuclear Development in Aramar.

Dr Carvalho continued: "We had full access to the facilities and were presented to all the stages of the development of the programmes. It is not every day that you visit the centrifuge farms for enriching uranium! During the full duration of our stay we had the presence of Rear-Admiral Lobo – himself a King’s Alumnus- who explained how the development of the submarine is according to the Brazilian Strategy for the South Atlantic, mainly through the concept of the 'Blue Amazon'."

Rear-Admiral Lobo commented: “Brazil's sovereignty and development depend directly on sea use. The first Brazilian nuclear-powered submarine has its utility justified by the resources to be protected, present in the great extension of the Blue Amazon, by the role of Brazil in the regional context of the South Atlantic and by its contribution to the stability of the Maritime Communication Lines.”

He continued: “The transparency of the Navy's Nuclear Program stems from the Brazilian culture of defense of peace and cooperation for the progress of humanity, precepts clearly defined in our Federal Constitution.”

The visit continued King’s College London's partnership with the Brazilian Navy established in 2015. King’s staff have been to the Naval War College in Brazil for short visits and scholars from that College have visited King’s as visiting researchers, and several conferences on areas of joint interest have been held. A Brazilian Navy Captain is is currently undertaking PhD study at King’s supervised by Dr Carvalho, and last year the Brazilian Navy Commander visited King's. 

Besides those academic activities, the Brazilian Navy offers an annual study excursion to the Brazilian Amazon for King’s students and staff. This year's excursion will be fully documented on the War Studies Instagram channel from Monday 5 August.