Findings on multilateral nuclear approaches released

9 March 2005

An international expert group has released the findings of its report Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle - an extensive look at the world's civil nuclear fuel cycle, including fuel enrichment, reprocessing, spent fuel repositories and spent fuel storage.

Bruno Pellaud, the group's chair and former head of IAEA Safeguards, said multilateral approaches are setting the nuclear agenda and urged concerted action among governments.

The report, commissioned by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in June 2004, cites five approaches to strengthen controls over sensitive nuclear materials and technologies that raise concerns of nuclear proliferation. They are:

Reinforcing existing commercial market mechanisms on a case-by-case basis through long-term contracts and transparent suppliers’ arrangements with government backing. Examples would be: fuel leasing and fuel take-back offers, commercial offers to store and dispose of spent fuel, as well as commercial fuel banks

Developing and implementing international supply guarantees with IAEA participation. Different models should be investigated, notably with the IAEA as guarantor of service supplies, eg. as administrator of a fuel bank

Promoting voluntary conversion of existing facilities to multilateral nuclear approaches (MNA), and pursuing them as confidence-building measures, with the participation of NPT non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon states, and non-NPT states

Creating, through voluntary agreements and contracts, multinational, and in particular regional, MNAs for new facilities based on joint ownership, drawing rights or co-management for front-end and back-end nuclear facilities, such as uranium enrichment; fuel reprocessing; disposal and storage of spent fuel (and combinations thereof). Integrated nuclear power parks would also serve this objective

The scenario of a further expansion of nuclear energy around the world might call for the development of a nuclear fuel cycle with stronger multilateral arrangements - by region or by continent - and for broader cooperation, involving the IAEA and the international community.

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