Attempting to enrich uranium through the development of domestic centrifuge technology would be neither cost effective nor well received in the international arena. South Africa should choose alternatives that promote multilateralism and transparency, such as collaborating with an established enrichment program or investing jointly in a potentially much more proliferation-resistant enrichment technology such as Argentina’s SIGMA. Additionally, South Africa should take a farsighted view towards supporting international institutions that would curb the proliferation of costly, inefficient, and risky domestic enrichment start-up programs. As the only economic and political powerhouse in Africa with deep nuclear experience, South Africa should be especially mindful of the costs involved with domestic centrifuge programs when the majority of South Africans do not have affordable access to electricity.Read More
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To: Ambassador Leslie Gumbi, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in Vienna From: Taya Weiss, MPA Candidate, International Relations, Princeton University Subject: South African Position on the US-India Nuclear Deal Date: March 29, 2007
The US-India Nuclear Deal and its Significance for South Africa
In December 2006, the US Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006. The US has stated two goals: nuclear cooperation and bringing India’s nuclear program “under internationally accepted guidelines” outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, India has so far rejected a broad safeguards agreement with the IAEA based on INFCIRC/66, which does not allow a state “to unilaterally suspend or terminate a safeguards agreement.” An India-specific agreement would allow India to withdraw at any time. There are further concerns about which facilities and materials will be covered by a safeguards agreement.
This situation highlights the urgent need for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) that would allow international inspectors to verify that none of the NPT and de facto weapon states is producing fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
South Africa is uniquely positioned in 2007 to lead the international community towards a safer implementation of the US-India deal, including:
1. Getting a Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) requirement that de facto nuclear-weapon states join the NPT weapon states in terminating fissile-material production for weapons as a precondition for nuclear cooperation and
2. Drafting and tabling an FMCT that includes verification at the Conference on Disarmament (CD).
...continued: Read the full memo.