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Stronger international guarantees of nuclear non-proliferation: Commission moves forward

European Commission - IP/09/485   26/03/2009

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IP/09/485

Brussels, 26 March 2009

Stronger international guarantees of nuclear non-proliferation: Commission moves forward

The European Commission adopted today a Communication on nuclear non-proliferation[1], identifying possible actions to strengthen the EU's contribution to international efforts in this domain, including the development of an international system of guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel under the umbrella of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The document also presents the main instruments that the Community already has at its disposal to reduce the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

"The Community together with Member States should play an active role in strengthening international efforts deployed under umbrella of the IAEA to ensure that safety, security and non-proliferation concerns are properly addressed", said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. "One of the key challenges going forward is to develop international mechanisms that guarantee access to nuclear fuel, so that emerging nuclear countries do not need to develop their own uranium enrichment or spent fuel reprocessing capabilities.''

Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said “that the risk of nuclear proliferation represents one of the greatest challenges for global security”. She underlined that “the Commission stands ready to support the establishment of a nuclear fuel bank under the auspices of the IAEA both through financial and technical assistance”.

The Communication aims at addressing the following objectives:

  • highlighting what is already being done at EU level to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation, particularly through the Euratom safeguards system, the Instrument for Stability and the Instrument for Nuclear Safety;
  • strengthening the support for the non-proliferation regime, which is important in view of the revision of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2010;
  • contributing to the development of an international system of guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel - under the multilateral umbrella of the IAEA - for countries willing to develop nuclear energy.

In the last two years, the Commission has significantly reinforced its cooperation with the IAEA, which will be essential in implementing the above actions. Successful non-proliferation initiatives require coordinated actions with key partners, like the USA, Russia, Japan and China. The overall objective is to develop and promote a non-proliferation culture of safety and security

Nuclear energy is an important component in the EU energy mix and many countries both within and outside the EU are developing this source of energy. Along with nuclear safety, the promotion of non-proliferation is one of the key priorities for the EU.

The Communication can be found:here.

More background information IP/08/719


[1] Nuclear non - proliferation policy aims to limit the spread of nuclear weapons


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