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NPT Safeguards by the IAEA

Posted by Jill Marie Parillo on May 12, 2009

Bernardo Ribeiro, Office of External Relations and Policy Coordination from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave a presentation today at the PrepCom on "NPT Safeguards."

Mr. Ribeiro talked about the great need for strengthening each nation's reporting on nuclear programs and material to the Agency. It is in a country's own interest to report all fissile (nuclear weapon usable) material to the Agency he said. "We saw the risks associated with terrorism through 9/11, we have seen the health risk that can arise from fissile material...it's in a country's best interest to report all fissile material to the Agency and keep track of it," said Bernard Ribeiro.

Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has suggested that the wide dissemination of the most proliferation sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle (like enrichment and reprocessing technology) could be the "Achilles' heel" of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. IAEA representatives chimed in during questions and answers after the presentation to highlight the importance of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, an initiative started ElBaradei commissioned a report about called, Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. As fuel cycle capabilities spread, it would be best if there were regional fuel cycle centers as suggested in this report said the IAEA officials. ElBaradei's recent trip to South America was mentioned, where Chile, Brazil and others want to establish their own enrichment centers. The IAEA official said that states in South America "could all choose one place" and share the safeguarded enrichment center.

International fuel cycle centers would cut down on the amount of work the IAEA would have to do verifying the peaceful nature of enrichment facilities. The IAEA representatives did not see any problem with the spread of peaceful use nuclear technology if the IAEA was given more resources. State parties that are funding the IAEA want to build new nuclear reactors and fuel cycle centers in coming years, but "without more resources we can't do it," said the IAEA official.

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