ElBaradei Repeats Call for More International Control Over Nuclear Fuel Cycle Activities

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has reiterated his call for greater multilateral control over nuclear fuel cycle activities to prevent countries from obtaining weapon-grade material, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 4).

In remarks released yesterday, ElBaradei said that the “most critical part” of developing nuclear weapons is obtaining the necessary weapon-grade material, which is still a “national prerogative” under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“It is not enough that each country now has the so-called sovereign right to develop plutonium and sit on it ... and have highly enriched uranium,” ElBaradei said. “What I’m looking (for) is a better multinational control over the sensitive parts of the fuel cycle,” he said.

Such multilateral control could only be established by international consensus, ElBaradei said.

“Maybe in the future the time (will) come that we need an Additional Protocol to the NPT itself. I can see (one) that would restrict the right of states (with) regard to sensitive parts of the fuel cycle. ... (It) might also look into disarmament itself, with a timetable,” he said.

In addition, ElBaradei also said that he hoped the time would one day come where the international community saw nuclear weapons as “taboo.”

“I would like to see the way we perceive nuclear weapons as the way we perceive slavery or genocide, as a taboo. Are we going to be able to say we will never see an act of genocide? Probably not.  But we have come a long way controlling slavery and genocide,” he said (Reuters, Dec. 7).

December 8, 2003
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International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has reiterated his call for greater multilateral control over nuclear fuel cycle activities to prevent countries from obtaining weapon-grade material, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 4).