International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act of 2007

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The International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act of 2007 was introduced on February 7, 2007 by Representative Tom Lantos (D-Calif.). The purpose of the bill was to establish an international regime for the assured supply of nuclear fuel for peaceful means and to authorize contributions to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank. A goal of this bill would be to remove pretexts for countries to build their own uranium enrichment and spent-fuel reprocessing facilities, as these national facilities might have limited security and could serve as fronts for countries to develop nuclear weapons programs.[1]

Details

The Section 101 Findings section of the bill explains the tension that led to the bill's formation, and how providing an international nuclear fuel supply might curb nuclear weapons proliferation:

(9) It has been long recognized that the proliferation of national uranium enrichment and spent-fuel reprocessing facilities would increase the likelihood of the emergence of new nuclear weapon states. Concerned governments, nongovernmental organizations, and individual experts have for decades recognized the need to address this problem through multilateral assurances of the uninterrupted supply of nuclear fuel, the sharing of peaceful application of nuclear energy, an international fuel bank to provide fuel if the fuel supply to a country is disrupted, and even multilateral participation in international uranium enrichment and spent-fuel reprocessing facilities, as a means of reducing incentives of countries to develop and construct such facilities themselves.[2]

(10) Until recently, such efforts have produced little more than reports. However, the revelations of a nuclear black-market in uranium enrichment technology and equipment, combined with the attempt by North Korea and Iran to possess such technology and equipment to provide the basis for nuclear weapons programs, have rekindled this debate with a new urgency.[3]

According to the Congressional Budget Office, if passed, the bill would cost $45 million in 2008 and $50 million over the 2008-2009 period. [4]

House

<USbillinfo congress="110" bill="H.R.885" />

The bill had a bipartisan group of cosponsors in the House with 8 Democrats and 4 Republicans. The cosponsors were:

[5]

The house passed the International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act of 2007 on June 18, 2007 in a voice vote.[6]

Senate

<USbillinfo congress="110" bill="S.1138" />

When introducing a companion Senate bill, The Nuclear Safeguards and Supply Act of 2007(S. 1138), sponsor, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) further explained the importance of a well regulated international nuclear fuel facility:

The construction of facilities for the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in new states, even for ostensibly peaceful purposes, poses an unacceptable long-term risk to the national security of the United States. The enrichment technology intended to produce fuel for reactors can also be used to create highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon, and the plutonium that is produced from reprocessing spent fuel is also suitable for nuclear weapons and susceptible to diversion to terrorists. The spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities will dangerously increase the chances that new nations will develop nuclear weapons and that terrorists might obtain fissile or radiological materials for crude devices. It is therefore incumbent on the United States to lead an international effort to halt the expansion of enrichment and reprocessing to new countries.[7]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

Sources

  1. House to Vote on International Fuel Bank Initiative. CQ. June 15, 2007.
  2. THOMAS page on H.R. 885. THOMAS.
  3. THOMAS page on H.R. 885. THOMAS.
  4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate for H.R. 885 The Congressional Budget Office. June 1, 2007.
  5. THOMAS page on H.R. 885 Cosponsors. THOMAS.
  6. Jim Abrams. House Backs Nuclear Fuel Bank. The Washington Post. June 18, 2007.
  7. GovTrack page on S. 1138. GovTrack.

External resources

External articles