Preventing Proliferation: The Belfer Center's Martin Mailin (left), Matthew Bunn, and Sharon Squassoni co-sponsor a Project on Managing the Atom workshop.
"Workshop Explores Options to Strengthen Nuclear Export Rules"
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
Author: Neal Doyle, Former Program Coordinator, Project on Managing the Atom
The Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom convened a workshop in April to discuss measures for strengthening restraints on the transfer of enrichment and recycling technologies, with a particular focus on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The workshop was held in Washington DC and hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Workshop participants discussed a draft report by Fred McGoldrick, which identified a broad set of options for policy makers seeking to limit the illicit spread of technologies that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. McGoldrick, an internationally renowned expert on nuclear energy and nonproliferation policy, who served previously in U.S. departments of state and energy, recommended ways of strengthening NSG guidelines on the supply of proliferation-sensitive technologies. The Belfer Center’s Matthew Bunn, William Tobey, and Martin Malin contributed to the draft.
The workshop discussion focused on the current status of efforts to bolster NSG guidelines, and on political and institutional factors that constrain those efforts. Participants also discussed the report’s recommendations.
Participating in the workshop were leaders from the nuclear energy companies AREVA, Inc, and USEC, Inc., officials from the U.S. Departments of Energy and State, representatives from The Netherlands, Turkey, and France, and experts from CSIS and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Mary Alice Hayward, Vice President for Strategy at Areva, Inc. commented that the workshop was “important because it brought government officials, academics, and industry leaders together to identify pragmatic responses to reduce the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies.”
In response to a growing concern with nuclear proliferation in the mid-1970s, the United States took the initiative with other major nuclear exporters to form what became the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The NSG put into place a set of voluntary guidelines governing exports of nuclear materials, equipment and technology. The group agreed to “exercise restraint” in the transfer of sensitive nuclear facilities, technology and weapons-usable materials. The effort to make the guidelines more explicit in recent years has been particularly contentious. The group, which operates by consensus, has been at an impasse on this question for several years.
The Managing the Atom Project will publish the final report in late April and distribute it to policy makers and other experts. Fred McGoldrick will also present the recommendations from the report to NSG representatives at a meeting in May in Brussels organized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The report and workshop were supported with funds from AREVA, Inc. and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
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