Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Energy Security, But At What Cost? Glancing at the NPEC’s New Report on Security at Nuclear Power Sites and It’s Catch by Economist Magazine

Posted by K.E. White on August 29, 2007

Economist brings attention to a new NPEC report on nuclear security: specifically the urgent need for tighter security at civilian nuclear sites.

The Economist article points for the need for greater funding and real-time camera monitoring of nuclear sites. (Yes, putting real-time cameras at nuclear sites is a ‘new’ idea. And yes, the NPEC report highlights black-out periods in current video monitoring of nuclear sites)

So has the IAEA put the cart in front of the horse? The concept of international fueling stations has been floating around for years. But, as the Economist points out correctly, what’s the point of international sites if these sites aren’t monitored:

Henry SokolskiThat is because of the volume of material involved and the way the plants work. Material unaccounted for (called MUF) is often stuck in piping. Discrepancies, even at the best-run plants, can amount to many bombs’ worth. And it can take months for inspectors to be confident they have it all more or less accounted for. Imagine the problems if the IAEA is attempting to monitor such plants in a country like Iran, with its past record of lying to inspectors.

Mr ElBaradei and others have suggested multinational fuel centres as a way to avoid dangerous technologies being abused by individual governments. But safeguarding those would be no easier. Better that such fuel-making technology isn’t spread around at all.

If the IAEA wishes to show nations—like the United States—that they can adequately monitor future nuclear power nations (whether they be Turkey or Iran), their monitoring regime must be developed and more adequately funded.

Especially when even Hans Blix is praising nuclear power:

Hans BlixDr Blix says an international inspection regime and treaty would help remedy that, and ease the environmental pressures of India’s growing economy.

“It is highly desirable that countries like India and China, huge counties that will consume more and more electricity, that they switch increasingly from the coal, which dominates enormously and which really hurts the environment, to nuclear power, that does not,” he said.

“China does that in a big way and India wants to. And I think it would be good that they get access to the latest technology.”

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