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6 Sep, 2007 13:40

IAEA chief says: “We need to multinationalise”

The World Nuclear Association is holding its 32nd Annual Symposium. The three-day meeting is underway at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

The private sector organisation is promoting nuclear power in times of heightened concern about security of energy supply.

Some 500 leaders and specialists from more than 25 countries are taking part in the symposium.

The Chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei says a new framework for managing the nuclear fuel cycle is needed.

“We need to multinationalise the nuclear fuel cycle. I think it will be a step in a wrong direction if we continue to have every country sitting on an enrichment factory or re-processing factory, because that means that countries will be able to have a nuclear weapon capability, if you like, in a matter of months.  The best way to combat that is to have multilateral approaches, regional centres, and international centres. And I think that the Russian proposal in that regard as well as the German proposal to have a multinational enrichment centre, a bank, a reserve bank to be managed by the IAEA – all these are good ideas in the right direction,” he said.

He also welcomed Iran's agreement to discuss outstanding issues on its nuclear programme.

“I think that the next few months will be critical for Iran to demonstrate its good face in implementing what they committed to do. If they do that, I think we will be moving into a completely different phase in being able to assure the international community that today Iran’s past and present programmes are under safeguard and dedicated for peaceful purposes,” Mr ElBaradei noted.