A Nuclear Submarine in the South Atlantic: The Framing of Threats and Deterrence

Mônica Herz Layla Dawood Victor Coutinho Lage About the authors


In this article, we analyse one aspect of Brazilian nuclear policy during the tenure of the Workers Party (2003–2016): the development of a nuclear-propelled submarine. We propose that the project of building a nuclear-propelled submarine has become possible partly because of the mobilisation of a set of arguments for the construction of the South Atlantic as a strategic area, framed in terms of security and development. On the other hand, we contend that the need for a nuclear-propelled submarine is framed through the mobilisation of a specific notion of deterrence. In other words, we claim that the notions of ‘strategic area’, ‘general deterrence’, ‘conventional deterrence’, and ‘deterrence by denial’ can help us analyse the fundamental aspects involved in the framing of the South Atlantic as a security concern, justifying the nuclear-propelled submarine project.

Nuclear Submarine; Threats; Deterrence; South Atlantic; Brazilian Nuclear Policy

Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Relações Internacionais Rua Marques de São Vicente, 225 - Casa 20 , 22453-900 Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brasil, Tel.: (55 21) 3527-2284, Fax: (55 21) 3527-1560 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: cintjournal@puc-rio.br