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


Nuclear terrorism: Phase out civilian uranium use

To counter nuclear terrorism, UN urges phasing out civilian use of high enriched uranium

Amid clear signs that terrorists are trying to acquire nuclear material through criminal networks, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency today called for urgent and more coherent global action to minimize the uses of and commerce in high enriched uranium (HEU), a main ingredient in nuclear weapons production.

“Although much has been achieved so far, much vulnerability remains,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told the Conference on Minimization of Highly Enriched Uranium in the Civilian Nuclear Sector in Oslo, Norway.

“In recent years, the security and non-proliferation concerns associated with the potential uses of HEU for malicious and terrorist purposes have further highlighted the importance of this work,” he said in a message delivered by Special Assistant Vilmos Cserveny.

The measures he recommended include stepped-up joint efforts towards eventually eliminating the civilian use of HEU by addressing the remaining technical hurdles involved in switching to the use of low enriched uranium (LEU). HEU involves uranium enriched to 90 per cent or more, and nearly 100 civilian facilities around the world operate with such weapons-grade material.

But according to many experts, most if not all of the benefits obtained, such as isotope production that is vital to medical treatments, industrial productivity, water management and many other humanitarian uses, could also be achieved by using LEU while still ensuring a secure and effective path for nuclear research for peaceful purposes, he said.

Mr. ElBaradei also called on all countries to agree to stop producing fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. To build confidence, countries with civilian and military HEU stockpiles should release clear inventories of those stockpiles and publish a schedule under which the remaining HEU will be verifiably down-blended, he added.

“By investing in these measures, we could alleviate proliferation concerns associated with the continued uses of HEU and reduce substantially the risk of nuclear terrorism,” he said.

He also reiterated his call for all enrichment operations to be brought under multinational control, making it far more difficult for any country to divert enriched uranium for use in weapons.

The IAEA cooperated with the Norwegian Government in preparing the conference, which brings together a wide spectrum of representatives of concerned governments, the nuclear industry, the nuclear research community, concerned non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>


Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>



Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>