Proliferation News
» May 31, 2011

NSG Should Lead By Example on Sensitive Technology Transfers

Pierre Goldschmidt | Proliferation Analysis

Obama and Pinera

When the participating governments of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) convene in June under the chairmanship of the Netherlands, they will face an especially difficult and thorny agenda.

The primary task will be to reach consensus on new Guidelines for transfers of enrichment and reprocessing technology, the negotiation of which has dragged on since 2007. But several other issues loom on the horizon, including identifying ways and means to possibly accept non-NPT states as members of the group;1 deciding whether China should pursue an NSG waiver before building two additional nuclear power reactors in Pakistan, or at least seek the NSG's agreement on the validity of grandfathering the new contract; and considering possible NSG responses to enrichment and reprocessing technology transfers by non-NSG members to states that do not meet the Guidelines. All of these issues will require careful discussions, but given the stresses on the nonproliferation regime this is no time to compromise existing principles. Particularly on transfers of sensitive technology, NSG members need to lead by example.

There are two major concerns the NSG needs to consider regarding proposed changes to its Guidelines governing trade in enrichment and reprocessing technology. First, it is vital to ensure that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on sensitive nuclear fuel cycle facilities do not lapse if a State withdraws from the NPT. And second, it is essential to make clear that a regional arrangement such as ABACC2can in no way meet the objective of the Additional Protocol (AP)3 and cannot be considered as a substitute for the latter. In addressing these two issues, NSG participating governments should demonstrate that they have no intention to seek commercial advantages at the expense of nonproliferation requirements. Full Article   

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