Monday, May 12, 2008

Global Nuclear Power Expansion Needs GNEP To Be Successful

The Washington Post published a disturbing article today that basically said the Middle East wants to 'go nuclear' for two reasons: 1) to hedge against a nuclear armed Iran, and 2) to sell oil instead of burning it in electricity generating power plants. Such implications for utilizing commercial nuclear power plants as a 'technology-driving' practice for building weapons facilities hurts the case for providing electricity by using these reactors. This is why the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program is needed to provide adequate confidence by Israel, the United States, Russia, China and others that commercial development of nuclear power will be secure from proliferation of weapons programs to unstable states. GNEP provides a frameworkd for nations with secure nuclear capabilities to provide potential partner nations with nuclear facilities, fresh fuel and recovery of used fuel for recycling.

The article states that several countries in the Middle East are interested in building commercial nuclear reactors: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen. In Africa the list includes: Egypt, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and the kingdom of Jordan. Turkey is also interested in developing commercial nuclear power. Canada and Australia are even expressing interest in building enrichment facilities. Unfortunately, the article pointed out several precedents for commercial programs leading to weapons programs:

"Both India and Pakistan built nuclear devices using an industrial infrastructure built ostensibly for nuclear power. Taiwan and South Korea conducted weapons research under cover of civil power programs but halted the work after being confronted by the United States."
We understand that countries might find the GNEP program to represent a paternalistic intrusion into their sovereignty, but they must understand that the comfort of GNEP nations would be an excellent hedge against the possible unexpected destruction of facilities under construction. In particular, it would send the appropriate signal to Israel that its safety is secure within the context of not only global commercial nuclear power expansion, but particularly among Middle East countries.

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