World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Keep Nuclear Arms From Terrorists

UN Panel Says Multilateral Approach Needed To Keep Nuclear Arms From Terrorists

Multilateral control of the world’s civil nuclear fuel cycle is essential for curbing “burgeoning and alarmingly well organized nuclear supply networks” and preventing such materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, according to a report commissioned by the United Nations atomic watchdog agency.

“The decades-long nuclear non-proliferation effort is under threat,” says the study, Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, commissioned last June after the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, suggested that wide dissemination of the most sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle could be the “Achilles’ heel” of the non-proliferation regime.

Such threats come from regional arms races, non-nuclear weapon states in breach of or in non-compliance with safeguards accords, and incomplete application of export controls required by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

But they also arise “from burgeoning and alarmingly well organized nuclear supply networks, and from the increasing risk of acquisition of nuclear or other radioactive materials by terrorist and other non-State entities,” according to the report, drawn up by an expert group that included representatives from 26 countries.

The study, examining the nuclear fuel cycle and multinational approaches, has been sent to the IAEA’s 138 Member States and will be more widely circulated, including to the Review Conference of 189 States party to the NPT in May.

Multilateral approaches are “setting the nuclear agenda,” the group’s Chairman and former Head of IAEA Safeguards, Bruno Pellaud, told a news conference yesterday in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA’s headquarters. He urged concerted action among governments.

“Such approaches are needed and worth pursuing, on both security and economic grounds,” he said, in summing up the group’s consensus. “A joint nuclear facility with multinational staff puts all participants under a greater scrutiny from peers and partners, a fact that strengthens non-proliferation and security.

“Moreover, they have the potential to facilitate the continued use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” he added, noting that multilateral approaches are already followed in Europe and merit close consideration in South Asia and other regions.

The report outlines five approaches to strengthen controls over fuel enrichment, reprocessing, spent fuel repositories and spent fuel storage, including reinforcing existing commercial market mechanisms through long-term contracts and transparent suppliers’ arrangements with government backing. Examples would be fuel leasing and fuel take-back offers, commercial offers to store and dispose of spent fuel, as well as commercial fuel banks.

The proposals also include: developing international supply guarantees with IAEA participation; promoting voluntary conversion of existing facilities to multilateral nuclear approaches; and creating multinational, and in particular regional, approaches for new facilities based on joint ownership for uranium enrichment, fuel reprocessing and disposal and storage of spent fuel.

Finally, the scenario of a further expansion of nuclear energy around the world might call for the development of a nuclear fuel cycle with stronger multilateral arrangements - by region or by continent - and for broader cooperation, involving the IAEA and the international community, the report said.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news