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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 02:44 GMT
UN proposes nuclear fuel controls
By Bethany Bell
BBC News, Vienna

Temelin nuclear plant, Czech Republic
Enriched nuclear fuel from civilian plants can be used in weapons
A UN report has called for tougher controls over sensitive parts of the world's civilian nuclear fuel cycle in order to stop weapons proliferation.

The report commissioned by UN atomic agency head, Mohamed ElBaradei, says multi-lateral groups should take responsibility for making nuclear fuel.

Talks are due in May to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

International concerns over the nuclear programmes in Iran and North Korea have highlighted loopholes in the treaty.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows countries to make nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes through enriching uranium or separating plutonium.

But these technologies also have the potential to be used to make nuclear weapons.


Now, a group of international experts commissioned by the IAEA's head has recommended that sensitive parts of the fuel cycle should be brought under multi-lateral controls.

These include uranium enrichment, fuel reprocessing and the disposal and storage of spent fuel.

The report will be sent to the review conference of the Global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York in May.

However, a number of countries are suspicious of any attempt to make them relinquish control over their nuclear fuel cycles.

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