Obama to pursue global uranium fuel bank

June 8, 2009 at 2:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama wants to create an international uranium "fuel bank" to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, administration officials say.

Arms-control specialists say such a bank, controlled by the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, would provide a test of Iran's sincerity of its claim that its enrichment program is for civilian use only, The Boston Globe reported Monday.

"We want to give the Iranians an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to peaceful nuclear energy and serve as a new model," an administration official involved in crafting arms-control policy told the Globe. "What we can do is create a system of incentives where, as a practical matter for countries that want nuclear power, the best way to obtain their fuel and to handle fuel services is through a new international architecture."

The IAEA also is considering the fuel bank concept, the Globe reported. The U.N. nuclear watchdog issued two reports Friday concerning Iran and Syria and their nuclear aspirations.

One report indicated Iran expanded the number of centrifuges enriching uranium, making it more difficult for U.N. inspectors to track of the nation's disputed nuclear program. The second report said IAEA inspectors discovered traces of processed uranium at a second site in Syria. In 2007, Israel bombed a North Korean-designed reactor U.S. intelligence indicated was meant to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

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