SAO PAULO, Brazil — A Brazilian general was quoted Sunday as saying that Brazil has the technical knowledge to build an atomic bomb within the next two years or so.
"We do not have the objective of making an atomic bomb, but if it is necessary, we are going to build it," Gen. Haroldo Erichsen da Fonseca, who heads the army's science and technology secretariat, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
However, another general interviewed by the newspaper, Hermano Lomba Santoro, who heads the army's technical center, said that Brazil lacks the knowledge to build nuclear bombs.
It was disclosed last December that Brazil has a "secret" nuclear program separate from its nuclear energy program. However, the official who disclosed the program--Rex Nazareth, president of the National Nuclear Energy Commission--said it was not intended for production of a nuclear bomb.
The Brazilian press reported last year that the government had built an underground site that could be used for testing nuclear weapons at the military base of Cachimbo.