Preventing Nuke Proliferation
by Gordon Prather
year, President Bush made a number of proposals to "strengthen"
the existing weapons of mass destruction proliferation-prevention
proposed expanding his Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to
interdict what he deems to be illicit transfers by "proliferation
networks." He urged the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution
criminalizing such illicit international transfers, thereby presumably
legitimizing his PSI.
president specifically urged the Nuclear
Suppliers Group to close a loophole in the Treaty on the Nonproliferation
of Nuclear Weapons by arbitrarily limiting transfers of enrichment
and reprocessing technology by NSG members to those states that
already possess them.
in 1975, the Nuclear Suppliers Group is comprised of 44 nuclear-supplier
states, including China, Russia, and the United States, that have
voluntarily agreed to coordinate their export controls governing
transfers of civilian nuclear material and nuclear-related equipment
and technology to non-nuclear-weapon states.
members are expected to forgo nuclear trade with governments
that do not subject themselves to the International Atomic Energy
Agency Safeguards regime. The IAEA has accepted the responsibility
for verifying that NSG exports are not used by the importing state
for any military purpose.
NSG has two sets of guidelines listing the specific nuclear materials,
equipment, and technologies that are subject to export controls.
I comprises materials and technology designed specifically for nuclear
use, including fissile materials, nuclear reactors and associated
equipment, and nuclear material reprocessing and enrichment equipment.
II comprises dual-use equipment that could have nuclear applications.
be eligible for importing Part I items from an NSG member, states
irrespective of whether they are NPT signatories or not
must have in place a comprehensive IAEA Safeguards Agreement covering
all their nuclear activities and facilities.
the case of Part II equipment, IAEA safeguards are only required
for the specific nuclear activity or facility where the NSG import
will be employed.
Prime Minister comes to Washington this week to meet with President
Bush with the hope engendered by Condi Rice's recent visit
to New Delhi that Bush will intercede with the NSG and get
them to relax the current requirement that they make subject to
a full-scope IAEA Safeguards Agreement all their nuclear
equipment and facilities including that in India's
nuclear weapons program.
had whizzed down to New Delhi earlier this year to prevent India
from finalizing technical and commercial contracts for a $4.5 billion
natural-gas pipeline that will provide Iranian natural gas mostly
carrot did Condi offer the Indians to prevent their finalizing the
Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline deal?
guessed it. The possibility the U.S. would lift sanctions imposed
on India as a result of the 1998 nuclear weapons tests, supply India
with additional nuclear power plants and the fuel therefor, and
waive NSG guidelines on those exports.
Indians have taken several steps to assure the U.S. and the NSG
that they will not divert any of the fissile materials, nuclear
reactors, and associated equipment they are allowed to import to
a military purpose.
also enacted the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery
Systems Act to "provide an integrated legislative basis to
India's commitment to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
The act applies to the export, transfer, re-transfer, transit, and
transshipment of material, equipment, or technology relating to
weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery.
the U.S. had put great pressure on Russia to apply the NSG guidelines
to the construction of the first two nuclear power plants at Koodankulam.
Russia successfully argued that the original contract was signed
in 1988, before the new and more stringent NSG guidelines came into
force in 1992.
U.S. even attempted to prevent refueling of the Tarapur atomic power
station. Russia was only able to supply low-enriched uranium to
the U.S.-built plant in 2001 on the basis of "safety"
Russia is effectively unable to supply India any more reactors or
more low-enriched uranium fuel. India apparently is in desperate
need of both.
Condi failed in her mission; the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India
pipeline project appears to be on track.
it looks like we'll find out this week how much Bush wants to isolate
the EU-Iranian negotiations fail, and Iran turns to Russia or China
for assistance with its nuclear programs, will Bush continue to
press the NSG which includes Russia and China to deny
Iran its inalienable rights under the NPT, all the while flouting
NSG guidelines himself, to provide Westinghouse nuclear power plants
and the fuel therefor to India?
James Gordon Prather [send him mail]
has served as a policy-implementing official for national security-related technical
matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration,
the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department
of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security
affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. ranking member of the Senate
Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations
Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in
© 2005 Gordon Prather