Proliferation Problems with Japan-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) today sent a letter to the Japanese government raising questions about the proliferation implications of the Japan-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. The Agreement was signed on May 12, 2009, when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Tokyo, but it has not yet been ratified.
CNIC's International Liaison Officer, Philip White, said, "There are serious nuclear proliferation risks associated with the proposed Japan-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. It does not require that Japanese nuclear material, equipment and technology exported to Russia be covered by IAEA safeguards. That means there is no way of ensuring that Japanese exports are not used in Russia's nuclear weapons program, or that they are not transferred to potential nuclear proliferators such as Iran."
The agreement requires that at least one Russian nuclear facility be selected by the IAEA for the application of safeguards, but permits Japanese nuclear exports to be used in other facilities. Indeed, this is the most likely scenario.
The July 8, 2010 edition of the Denki Shimbun suggested that the agreement might soon be submitted to the Diet for ratification.
In this regard, White said, "There is a danger that the Japanese government will move to ratify the agreement as soon as the IAEA puts in place safeguards on the Low Enriched Uranium Reserve in Angarsk in Siberia. It would be a travesty if this were considered sufficient for ratification, since the LEU Reserve is an international stockpile of no direct relevance to the Japan-Russia agreement."
"Other problems with the agreement include the fact that it does not automatically require that the agreement be suspended if Russia conducts a nuclear test."
"In its eagerness to participate in the global nuclear energy market, Japan is undermining its reputation as a leading advocate of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. If it wishes to be taken seriously, its nuclear cooperation agreements must clearly place principles before profit."
The letter, along with further explanatory details (Japanese only), can be found on the following link:
Philip White: 81-3-3357-3800
Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (International Liaison Officer)