Brazil is to build a 483-million-dollar nuclear reactor to produce radioactive material for medical use as well as industrial-grade enriched uranium, local media has reported, citing a cabinet minister.
"The multipurpose reactor has a very important role in the nuclear program," Science and Technology Minister Sergio Rezende said in the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo.
The reactor will be built in Ipero, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the southeastern city of Sao Paulo, in an area where the Brazilian navy is developing a nuclear submarine project and building ultracentrifuges to enrich uranium.
The reactor will be used for nuclear medicine, producing what are known as radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosing and treating diseases like cancer, Rezende said, as well as produce industrial-level enriched uranium starting in 2014.
The announcement came as senior officials from around the world meet at the United Nations to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and ahead of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's May 16-17 trip to Iran.
Lula in February announced that two new nuclear power plants would be built in Brazil's northeast.
Brazil has an ambitious civilian nuclear program, and for more than 20 years has had two nuclear plants in Angra dos Reis, in Rio de Janeiro state.
The country's constitution bans the presence of nuclear weapons on Brazilian territory.
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