IAEA Board Agrees to Create International Nuclear Fuel Bank,
A “Breakthrough” in Global Cooperation to Reduce Nuclear Dangers
Warren Buffett/NTI $50 Million Pledge Conditions Fulfilled
The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors today agreed to create an international low-enriched uranium fuel bank, fulfilling the conditions of the $50 million pledge proposed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and Warren Buffett, a key NTI adviser who financially backed and enabled NTI's commitment.
NTI and Buffett made the $50 million commitment in September of 2006 contingent on the IAEA receiving an additional $100 million in funding to jump-start the reserve, a condition that was met in 2009; and the IAEA taking the necessary actions to approve establishment of the reserve, which occurred with today's action in Vienna.
“This is a breakthrough in global cooperation to enable peaceful uses of nuclear energy while reducing the risks of proliferation and catastrophic terrorism,” said former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, NTI Co-Chairman. “If every country interested in nuclear energy also chooses to pursue uranium enrichment, the risk of proliferation of dangerous nuclear materials and weapons would grow beyond the tipping point. The IAEA fuel bank now gives countries an alternative to that choice and direction.”
“The IAEA fuel bank is an investment in a safer world and an essential tool in reducing nuclear dangers,” said Warren Buffett, an advisor to NTI and Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. “I believe that the fuel bank will help reduce the risk of enrichment proliferation globally. It will be a pleasure to write a check for funds that will help reduce global dangers.”
“On some occasions, a non-government organization with flexibility in funding and decision-making can be a catalyst for government action. This was one of those occasions,” said Nunn. “We are very grateful to Warren Buffett for making the longdiscussed idea of an international fuel bank a reality. We are also appreciative of the leadership shown by the IAEA and its Board of Governors, and also for our partners in funding the concept: the European Union, Kuwait, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. I also want to recognize and thank Charlie Curtis and Corey Hinderstein of NTI for their tireless efforts in support of the fuel bank.”
“This is a significant achievement that will offer a viable option to countries that want to pursue nuclear energy while taking a path that is more cost-effective and will not contribute to nuclear proliferation,” said Joan Rohlfing, President of NTI. “We believe these dangers are urgent and that is why NTI, with the support of Warren Buffett, stepped forward with initial funding.”
More and more nations are seeking peaceful nuclear energy to meet their development needs and are weighing available options to determine what will be the most secure and most economical way to ensure a reliable supply of nuclear fuel in the event of a supply interruption. The fuel bank will make commercial nuclear fuel supplies more secure by offering states reliable access to a nuclear fuel reserve. If their supply arrangements are disrupted, states would have access to a fuel reserve under impartial IAEA control. This would make a state's voluntary choice to rely on the market more secure.
The IAEA Secretariat will craft a framework that defines the stockpile's structure, access and location.
NTI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. NTI has been a strong supporter of the work and mission of the IAEA. In September 2001, NTI made an initial contribution to help launch the Agency's Nuclear Security Fund. Since that time, NTI has worked with the IAEA to support several other critical projects assisting member states secure nuclear materials and in building the Agency's institutional capacity to continue and accelerate this work into the future. For more information, please visit www.nti.org.