Argentina to Head Nuclear Suppliers Group
12 Jan 2014| Link to the original article
Argentina, by way of ambassador Rafael Grossi, the nation’s diplomatic representative in Austria, during the next two years will occupy the presidency of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The 48-member group, including the most important protagonists of international nuclear commerce, seeks to prevent that the transfer of materials and technologies be used for the acquisition of nuclear arms.
Never before has there been greater necessity for the group to maintain its integrity as the overseer of a scheme for voluntary control of nuclear commerce.
With the transfers foreseen in the framework of a nuclear expansion that expects a new group of nations to begin using nuclear energy, the new Argentine leadership will face several important structural challenges, some of them related to the legitimacy of countries to receive the benefits of belonging to this nuclear elite.
Grossi will have to resolve the delicate question of a possible membership for India, a country with nuclear arms but that is not member to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In November 2010 U.S. President Barack Obama proposed to the group that India be accepted as a member even though it did not meet the required membership criteria. Two years earlier, at the request of Washington, the group approved a one-time exception to allow India to acquire nuclear fuel and technology for civilian use.
In a similar fashion, China’s nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, which also has nuclear arms and is outside the NPT, will be a controversial agenda item. China, which is a member of the group since 2004, expects to continue exporting reactors and nuclear technology to Islamabad with the argument that it had been supplying Pakistan’s nuclear program before its entrance into the NSG. In that sense, Beijing will defend its ambitious plan for nuclear exports to Pakistan that carry a $9.6 billion price tag.
These types of exceptions have sparked a major international controversy. There are those who argue that they respond to realistic political reaction to situations of fait accompli, in which attempts are made to incorporate countries with nuclear arms outside the NPT to a framework of international control. Others claim, nevertheless, that by giving special benefits to these countries the credibility of the NSG and the non-proliferation regime together is placed in doubt.
The Argentine NSG presidency comes at a time when the nation faces important challenges related to the subject of energy, which has helped to highlight the importance of having reliable baseline sources of electricity, like nuclear power plants.
Also, Argentina by way of the Atomic Energy Comision (CNEA) and INVAP, an Argentine technology company, seek to position themselves in the highly competitive international market where they must compete with powerful suppliers like France, China, Russia, the United States, Japan and South Korea.
In this political-technical scene, it is essential to demonstrate technical competence and full-fledged support to non-proliferation norms in order to have access to attractive markets. It was precisely because Argentina had achieved this profile that made it possible for the country to export the nuclear reactor that was inaugurated in Australia in 2007.
The group already recognized the country’s non-proliferation credentials when it endorse the mutual verification arrangement between Argentina and Brazil, based on the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC). This temporary endorsement was given as the countries have not signed the additional protocols to the Safeguards Agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which today are required for international nuclear transfers. It is an important exception, but which must be honored with a strong commitment to international norms.
The NSG presidency in itself, and the choice of the Argentine official who will occupy the role, can be read as an important sign of confidence for the country but in reality it is much more than that: it is a great opportunity to position Argentina internationally in a field that is virtually unmatched in its strategic importance.
This occurs in the nuclear field, where we have great experience and untold reasons to feel proud. It is for that reason that all the conditions are at hand for Argentina, by way of its management of this area, to make a significant difference in favor of international security.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 17 Apr 2014.
A United Nations report Thursday said that Iran has reduced its stockpiles of sensitive uranium by 75% as part of a deal with six world powers seeking assurances of the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program, Reuters news agency reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran had diluted half of its reserves of uranium with 20% enrichment.
Under the terms of the agreement, the other half of the country’s sensitive uranium reserves were to be converted to oxide. Reuters said that the U.N. agency reported that this process was halfway completed.
Global Security Newswire, 16 Apr 2014.
A terminated U.S. Army facility worker faces charges for holding what was thought to be a deadly form of uranium, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.Police detained 44-year-old Joseph Gibeau on Saturday after allegedly finding radioactive substances inside several lead-shielded containers at his home while responding to a domestic call, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. Two containers reportedly held a substance tentatively identified by authorities as uranium sulfate, a potentially lethal chemical.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 14 Abr 2014.
The leader of the global monitoring group that is helping oversee the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal said Monday President Bashar al-Assad’s government has no more margin for delays if it is to meet the June deadline for destruction of its arsenal.
Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the removal of the chemicals had fallen behind a revised schedule that called for the delivery process to be completed by April 27.
Global Security Newswire, 17 Apr 2014.
North Korea reportedly has deployed a mobile rocket launcher to its east coast in a possible sign that a threatened missile test is imminent.
A transporter-erector-launcher was detected moving toward the North's coast, an anonymous senior South Korean government official told the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper for a Tuesday report.
The mobile launcher was earlier fielded at the North's "central front," the official said. "North Korea made similar moves before the launch of its short-range FROG rockets and KN-09 ballistic missiles in late February and early March."
NPSGlobal Foundation, 13 May 2014.
A high-level U.N. official today opened a four-day conference on lethal autonomous weapons encouraging delegates to take bold action to assure that the ultimate decision to take life remain under human control.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 21 may 2014.
A study by security experts of a British university said that a Chinese businessman, who has been accused of supplying prohibited technology to Iran, may have begun manufacturing a key component of guidance systems for ballistic missiles, seriously threatening international peace and security.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 18 Apr 2014
The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accidentally directed 200 tons of highly radioactive water to a building within the plant site that was not supposed to receive the contaminated water, the Japan Daily Press reported Thursday.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) told the Japan Daily Press that Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) ordered the company to monitor for leakage even though TEPCO assured that the facility was watertight.
TEPCO reported that the highly contaminated water, which is used for cooling the disabled reactors, had been mistakenly routed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities for the plant.
NPSGlobal Foundation, Apr 14, 2014.
A Japanese columnist today said Washington may soon force Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to accept traditional safeguards on its nuclear materials unless it backs down from its confrontational stance with neighboring countries.
Norihiro Kato, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and literary professor at Waseda University, said in an Op-Ed piece in the newspaper that if Abe “continues on his confrontational agenda, his government may lose Washington’s support.”
By Godfrey Marawanyika & Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg, 10 Aug 2013.
Zimbabwe hasn’t signed an agreement allowing uranium exports to Iran, Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire said, after a media report the country entered into a deal to export the material used to build nuclear weapons.
NPSGlobal Foundation, 20 May 2014.
The state of New Mexico in the southwestern region of the United States has given the Los Alamos National Laboratory a deadline for securing 57 nuclear-waste barrels that were linked to a radiation leak in February, according to news reports.
New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said the nuclear-waste drums may pose an “imminent” and “substantial” danger to health or the environment, NBC News reported. He said the laboratory had until Wednesday to propose how to secure the barrels to prevent further leaks.
Regional Postgraduate Course in International Security, Disarmament and Non-proliferation
An Excellent Educational Option for 2017
"Our vision: A World Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction"