Brazil will spend $160 million by the end of next year on the development of a nuclear-propelled submarine to protect the oil reserves found recently off its coast, the defense minister said Friday.
The vessel - which officials hope to be complete by 2020 - would be the first nuclear-propelled submarine in Latin America. Brazil does not have nuclear weapons.
The submarine is the highlight of the Brazil's new defense plan - to be made public on Sept. 7.
Brazil is believed to be preparing to spend $3.5 billion by the end of 2010 to upgrade its weapon systems, according to reports in the local media.
Speaking in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said the upgrade includes provisions for a massive technology transfer from France - essential if Brazil hopes to have a nuclear submarine.
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