Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Obama Accepts Venezuelan Nuclear Power Project
President Obama yesterday declined to take issue with Venezuela's pursuit of a civilian nuclear power capability, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Oct. 18; Agence France-Presse/Google News, Oct. 20).
Russia is expected to construct two 1,200-megawatt power reactors at a facility in the South American nation, the BBC reported (BBC News, Oct. 19).
"We have no incentive nor interest in increasing friction between Venezuela and the U.S., but we do think Venezuela needs to act responsibly," AFP quoted the U.S. president as saying.
"Our attitude is that Venezuela has rights to peacefully develop nuclear power," he said, noting the country is barred under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty from tapping its atomic capabilities for military use (Agence France-Presse).
Venezuela would need 10 years or longer to make substantive progress in its nuclear program, analysts told Reuters. The nation has better means of boosting its power production, and the availability of funding for atomic work was uncertain, they said.
Some Venezuelans said electricity provided by wind turbines, solar panels, natural gas or additional hydroelectric dams would be more practical for their country than nuclear power.
Conservatives in the United States and other detractors of Venezuela have compared its atomic ambitions to those of North Korea and Iran, which possess known or suspected nuclear-weapon programs (see related GSN stories, today). Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has referred to "a dangerous clandestine nuclear weapons effort" by Caracas, noting the government's access to uranium ore and its warm relations with Tehran.
Such allegations lack significant proof, said analyst Eileen Gavin.
"This is a big distraction, a political sideshow after the election," said Gavin, who works with Latin American Newsletters in London.
"There is no reason to believe this is a threat to anyone," said Mark Weisbrot, who co-directs the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. "The right wing here says only countries the U.S. approves of can have nuclear technology but that is just not how the world works. Because we have demonized Venezuela, this becomes an issue it shouldn't be" (Andrew Cawthorne, Reuters, Oct. 19).
Feb. 14, 2013
A new brochure describes the origins and the work of the Nuclear Security Project.
Feb. 14, 2013
George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn laid out their vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the urgent, practical steps to get there in a groundbreaking series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds.
This article provides an overview of Venezuela’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.