$5 Million to IAEA Nuclear Fuel Reserve

3/3/2008 // “Norway will join efforts to create a low enriched uranium reserve, controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre announced during the Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in Oslo.


This reserve will offer an alternative to the building of new uranium enrichment for nations that choose to rely on the international nuclear fuel market and multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle. Minister Støre said Norway will contribute $5 million dollars to the reserve, which represents 10 percent of the remaining sum needed to fund the bank.

“We will engage in building broad international support and funding for the initiative,” the Minister added. 

Støre’s announcement came during a the international conference on “Achieving the Vision of a World Free of Nuclear Weapons” hosted by the government of Norway in cooperation with the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. Conference participants included IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and more than 100 participants from 29 countries.

Photo: UD

From left: Director General Kåre Aas, MFA, Oslo, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, former US Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator and CEO/Co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Sam Nunn.
(Photo: MFA, Oslo)

The nuclear fuel reserve initiative was launched in September 2006 by the nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative, with a $50 million contribution from NTI Advisor Warren Buffett. The NTI contribution is contingent on two conditions that must be met by September 2008. The IAEA must take the necessary actions to approve the establishment of the reserve, and one or more member states must contribute an additional $100 million in funding for the reserve. The U.S. government has already approved $50 million in funding for the reserve. 

With growing interest in nuclear energy, many nations are weighing available options for secure and economic ways to ensure reliable supplies of nuclear fuel. The IAEA fuel reserve will make the market more secure by providing a last-resort fuel assurance on a nondiscriminatory basis to states that live up to their non proliferation regulations and whose market-based arrangements are disrupted.

“Through the Seven Country Initiative (Australia, Chile, Great Britain, Indonesia, Norway, Romania and South Africa), and national diplomacy, Norway is committed to building support for an international consensus on practical steps to support global nonproliferation and disarmament goals. This nuclear fuel reserve is one such concrete and effective step in this direction,” Minister Støre said. 

“I welcome Norway’s generous contribution to the establishment of a nuclear fuel reserve under IAEA auspices. This is an important first step towards establishing an equitable multilateral framework for the nuclear fuel cycle that provides assurances against supply disruptions and strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation regime,” said Director General of IAEA Muhamad El Baradei.

“Norway’s political and financial commitment to the fuel reserve is an important and impactful step forward in our efforts to address the daunting challenges associated with the spread of nuclear technology, and I commend Minister Støre for his leadership and vision in reducing global nuclear dangers. Norway’s global leadership on nonproliferation and disarmament is an example to the world, and this commitment can help jump start international support for this project and close the remaining financial gap,” said NTI co-chairman Sam Nunn.

Read the opening speech by George P. Shultz: The Age of Diplomacy (pdf)


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