NTI Co-Chairman Sam Nunn Praises U.S. Commitment of $50 Million for IAEA Fuel Bank
Former Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), today praised the Congress and the President for approving $50 million to help create a low enriched uranium stockpile managed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The U.S. funds, which were included in the Fiscal Year 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill that was signed into law today by President Bush, can be used to help release the $50 million pledge toward a fuel bank made by NTI and funded by Warren Buffett in September 2006. Two conditions must be met by September 2008 for the NTI pledge to be realized: the IAEA must approve establishment of the reserve and one or more member states must contribute an $100 million in funding or an equivalent value of low enriched uranium.
The following is the statement by former Senator Sam Nunn:
“With Warren Buffett’s generous financial backing, NTI has been working to jumpstart the creation of an international fuel bank to support nations that make the sovereign choice not to build indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capabilities. An IAEA- controlled fuel bank is essential to reducing global nuclear dangers because the same nuclear enrichment technology that is used to make nuclear reactor fuel can also be used to make material for a nuclear weapon. The law signed today is an important step forward to help prevent the spread of this nuclear technology to dozens of countries around the world and can be used to help release NTI’s $50 million contribution to a fuel bank.
“With the growing interest in nuclear power, a layered system of multinational fuel cycle mechanisms is essential to the safe and secure growth of nuclear energy. A country’s decision to rely on imported fuel rather than develop its own enrichment capacity may depend on whether there is a mechanism that guarantees an assured international supply of nuclear fuel on a nondiscriminatory, non-political basis to states that are meeting their nonproliferation obligations. The legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Bush brings us closer to realizing this key component of international fuel assurances. I am hopeful that this important U.S. contribution will be used to spur other nations to contribute the remaining $50 million matching requirement and to support a timely decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish the fuel bank. This is an investment in a safer future for the United States and the world.”
NTI is a charitable organization dedicated to reducing the threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.