Nuclear Power ‘Yes’ – Nuclear Proliferation ‘No’


Nuclear Abolition News | IDN

By Clive Banerjee
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

VIENNA (IDN) - Nuclear power is a dirty word for those who champion the cause of clean energy. It needs some guts, therefore, to take up the cudgels on behalf of the atom as an important source of non-fossil energy. [JAPANESE]


This is precisely what Yukiya Amano, the veteran Japanese diplomat, did on Dec. 9, seven days after taking charge of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Amano told member delegations of 151 countries that nuclear energy was enjoying "growing acceptance as a stable and clean source of energy that can help to mitigate the impact of global warming".

These remarks came within two days of the start of the historical climate change conference in Denmark's capital Copenhagen where developing countries and emerging economies were locking horns with the industrialised countries.

"Many member states have made it clear that they attach great importance to launching new nuclear power programmes, or expanding existing programmes," Amano said. "We have already significantly re-focussed our activities to help meet the needs of newcomers to nuclear power. . . . I plan to build on our achievements and make the assistance we provide in capacity-building and other areas as practical and recipient-friendly as possible."

He then went on to say: "My hope is that, as a result of the Agency's efforts, member states will start to see tangible progress within four years on the path towards introducing nuclear power."

Though these remarks sounded out-of-date, IAEA's new director general was in fact providing an overview of the areas that will receive his special attention in the mid-term, keeping in view the statutes of the Vienna-based agency that was set up as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.

It is tasked with assisting in harnessing atom for the welfare of human kind -- instead of total destruction caused by the nuclear bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.

IAEA works for nuclear non-proliferation and enhancing nuclear safety and security. It assists member states "in meeting their energy needs, responding to concerns about climate change, helping to ensure food security and clean water and improving health care through the application of nuclear techniques".

IAEA's technical cooperation programme, which seeks "to make the benefits of nuclear science and technology more widely available is important to all member states", said Amano. "My intention is to continue to focus on technical cooperation so that we can more effectively meet the needs of member states, as identified by them," he told member delegations.

In this regard, the priority is capacity-building to help countries establish their own expertise in nuclear science and technology.

Amano plans to pay special attention in his first year to cancer control, and he will make his first official trip to Nigeria to learn first-hand about its efforts to build an effective cancer control programme, among other issues.

In January, he will use his participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos to appeal for focussed global attention on the growing cancer epidemic. Next September, cancer control will be the topic of IAEA's Scientific Forum.

In the area of non-proliferation, Amano sees his role as being to ensure that safeguards agreements are concluded and fully implemented, to provide member states with factual and objective information and analysis, and to act in accordance with relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and IAEA's board of governors.

"The bringing into force, and implementation, of additional protocols are of vital importance for the Agency to be able to provide assurances about the exclusively peaceful nature of a country's nuclear programme," he said, adding: "I hope we will pass the threshold of 100 additional protocols in force early in my tenure as Director General."

Amano welcomed the commitment of the United States and Russia to making significant cuts in their nuclear arsenals and was pleased that they are reporting progress in their negotiations on a replacement for the START (strategic arms reduction treaty).

He said he was hopeful that 2010 will witness a successful outcome of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference next May, that progress would be made on the entry into force of the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) and that negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty would commence.

In this context, he said, he also looked forward to reading the report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), a joint initiative of the Japanese and Australian governments. The Commission held its fourth meeting Oct. 18-20 in Hiroshima amidst strong criticism from civil society organisations who suspected that it was drifting away from the goal of a nuclear weapons free world. (IDN-InDepthNews/12.12.09)

Copyright © 2009 IDN-InDepthNews Service

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