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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN to consider Russian uranium bank proposal in June

RIA Novosti

20/04/2009 14:32 BEIJING, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's proposal to establish an international nuclear fuel center under the supervision of the IAEA will be discussed in June, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog told a conference in Beijing on Monday.

The Chinese capital is currently hosting a three-day International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy.

"The Russian proposal to establish a fuel bank will be submitted to the Board of Governors in June," Mohamed ElBaradei said.

Russia proposed plans in early 2007 for a nuclear center in Angarsk, 5,100 km (3,170 miles) east of Moscow, to enable countries including Iran to develop civilian nuclear power without having to enrich their own uranium.

The planned network of uranium enrichment and storage centers would also be responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste.

Grigory Berdennikov, Russia's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, said in March that Russia had decided to establish reserves of 120 metric tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to ensure stable fuel supplies to its nuclear power plants in case of emergency, including "insurmountable political difficulties."

Berdennikov pledged to give access to the reserves "to any IAEA member country that honors its non-proliferation commitments."

ElBaradei reiterated that the provision of high standards of security and commitment to non-proliferation regimes was a priority for the IAEA. He warned of "a dangerous combination" of old reactors, poor management and weak regulations in certain countries.

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