Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Tuesday he was confident Brazil had no intention of becoming a nuclear power, but he called on the country to work out differences with the U.N. atomic agency over inspections.
"We know for sure that Brazil is not thinking about nuclear weapons in any sense," Powell told a breakfast meeting sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce at the start of a two-day visit, his first to the country as secretary of state.
Powell arrived less than two weeks before a team of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors is scheduled to visit Brazil. The IAEA wants unimpeded access to a factory that produces nuclear fuel. Brazil has indicated that it wants less-stringent standards of inspection than the IAEA is seeking.
Brazil claims that centrifuges at its plant in Resende, about 80 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro, use advanced technology that could be pirated by other countries if the inspectors are allowed to view it.
But analysts say Brazil has probably not developed technology that is radically different from what is used at uranium enrichment plants in other countries and point out that technological advances are traditionally protected with patents.
"The IAEA has worked out these kinds of differences in the past; I expect they will work it out this time with Brazil," Powell told reporters while en route Monday night.
Powell earlier praised the cooperative efforts Brazil is making internationally in a number of areas. He offered no hint of concern about policies under President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula has been seeking greater power and influence for Brazil on the world stage but he is no longer using the harsh rhetoric of two years ago when he was running for office.