Washington, July 8 : A US State Department report, prepared two months earlier, has warned that as new countries have begun nuclear energy generation, the US must ensure that these nations adopt adequate safeguards against the risk of nuclear proliferation involved therein.
The report said 435 nuclear reactors are operating around the world, 28 more are under construction and an additional 222 are planned. "It's a pretty depressing prospect," said Robinson, an arms control negotiator in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, who is the primary author of the report.
It recommended to that the US to focus on reaching deals with nations that already make nuclear fuel, instead of trying to strengthen the existing global proliferation control regime by renegotiating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In exchange, aspirant nuclear power nations would make tough, enforceable pledges that they will not develop their own fuel production capacities, added the report.
Titled "Proliferation Implications of the Global Expansion of Civil Nuclear Power", the report was produced by a task force of the International Security Advisory Board chaired by former Pentagon and World Bank official Paul Wolfowitz. It was prepared in response to a request from Robert Joseph, the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
The report said global demand for energy is likely to double by 2030. "Nuclear energy is likely to be in great demand because of the large price increases for oil and natural gas and the fact that nuclear power produces no carbon emissions," The Washington Times quoted the report as saying.
Robinson said the expansion of civil nuclear energy generation is inevitable and already under way. "You just have to read the newspapers to see that this is the case," the paper quoted him as saying while speaking to a news agency.
The report cited a list prepared by the US State Department in 2007 of several countries planning to join the nuclear power club, or "giving serious consideration" to it, within the next 10 years. Nations considering nuclear power include the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, Muslim giants Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey, Poland and the three Baltic states. According to the State Department list, 15 other nations including Algeria, Ghana, Libya, Malaysia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen have "longer term plans or studies under way.