Brazil is building five submarines to patrol its massive coast, including one powered by an atomic reactor that would put it in the small club of countries with a nuclear sub.
The South American giant is in the process of exploring major oil fields off its shores that could make it one of the world's top petroleum exporters.
The new submarines aim to protect that resource, said the navy official coordinating the $10-billion project, Gilberto Max Roffe Hirshfeld.
"The nuclear-propelled submarine is one of the weapons with the greatest power of dissuasion," he told AFP.
"Brazil has riches in its waters. It's our responsibility to have strong armed forces. Not to make war, but to avoid war. So that no one tries to take away our riches."
The new submarines, which will replace Brazil's aging fleet of five conventional subs, are being built at a sprawling 540,000-square-meter (135-acre) complex in Itaguai, just south of Rio de Janeiro.
The project is a joint venture between the navy, Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht and French state defense firm DCNS.
Brazil and France signed a deal for the project in 2008 under which DCNS is providing building materials and training while Brazil builds up its own submarine industry.
Brazil is developing the nuclear reactor and enriched uranium itself.
to read more: uk.news.yahoo.com
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