IAEA planning to set up reserve nuclear fuel bank

IAEA planning to set up reserve nuclear fuel bank

Vienna, 18 September The UN nuclear watchdog is contemplating to set up a reserve nuclear fuel bank for supplying fuel to countries which have renewed interest in expanding their atomic energy programme.

This fuel bank would operate on the basis of “apolitical and non-discriminatory non-proliferation criteria," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohammed ElBaradei said at the agency’s 51st General Conference here.

Some of the member countries are even proposing to convert a national facility into an international enrichment centre while others are proposing the construction of a new multinational enrichment facility under IAEA control, he said while addressing the conference which is being attended by over 144 countries.

Several Asian nations besides countries in Europe and Africa have shown interest in the construction of nuclear power plants.

IAEA will encourage countries interested in having n-power assured supply of fuel under its activity on multilateral approach to the fuel cycle (MANFC). The agency’s initiative has a dual purpose of fuel supply assurance and assurance of proliferation resistance, he said.

Controlling of nuclear material is a complex process, yet if we fail to act, it could be the Achilles heel of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, he said.

ElBaradei said in his view, an incremental approach was the way to move forward, beginning with the establishment of an equitable system for assurance of fuel supply.