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Is an International Nuclear Fuelbank a Good Idea?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the power-for-the-people dept.

Power 187

An anonymous reader writes "A roundtable at the Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences explores the notion of nuclear fuel banks which would offer nations a guaranteed supply of low-enriched uranium if they renounce the right to enrich on their own. From the article: 'The basic idea behind an international fuel bank is that it would, in a reliable and nondiscriminatory way, make emergency supplies of market-priced low-enriched uranium available to states that sign up to participate. States that opt for membership in a fuel bank would gain increased confidence that their access to reactor-grade fuel would not be interrupted. In return, they would renounce the right to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel on their own. Such an arrangement could be appropriate for a number of states. But for others, it might be less than ideal.'"

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187 comments

Won't work (3, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173549)

Those that sign up, will be at the mercy of the UN (useless nations), bank on it.

Re:Won't work (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173659)

Those that sign up, will be at the mercy of the UN (useless nations), bank on it.

Which is to say they will face no restrictions what so ever, and will be free to use the nuclear material for any purpose they want with no fear of anything but a stern "talking to".

This probably amounts to a promise of refueling from the original reactor manufacturer, because most of these are one-off designs or made
to specifications such that fuel rods can only be manufactured by one source. So realistically, you only have one country you have to remain
on good terms with, and that is the country that supplied your reactor. Even if there was a fuel bank, they are not likely to be trusted with any
significant amount of fuel, and would simply serve as an intermediary to process orders.
So if you piss off the country that made your reactor the chances are you still would get no fuel, unless you could go to the UN and have
them deliver a vicious tongue lashing to the country withholding the rods.

Re:Won't work (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174589)

Those that sign up, will be at the mercy of the UN (useless nations), bank on it.

Which is to say they will face no restrictions what so ever, and will be free to use the nuclear material for any purpose they want with no fear of anything but a stern "talking to".

 
Or to put it another way, this "low enrich Uranium fuel bank" idea is to ensure a permanent divide of two classes of nations -
 
First Class Nations which are allowed to do whatever they like with Nuclear Science - including producing super-enriched-grade Uranium (and all other radioactive materials) and to make all types of nuclear bombs),
 
... and ...
 
Beggar Class Nations which have to rely on the First Class Nations to supply them with the low-grade Uranium, to power their nuclear power plants
 
Right now, there's already a divide, but the line between them is not clear cut. With this, the line is fixed, and the beggar class nations will forever sign away their right to become self-dependent
 

Re:Won't work (2)

nazsco (695026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174919)

Any country that signs that would have less control of their energy as the USA have by buying Canada electricity and foreign oil.

Exactly (1)

shiftless (410350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174241)

Guaranteed by whom? What are they offering up as collateral; their firstborn sons? Yeah right. Why would any sane nation accept (i.e. Iran) such a proposal?

Re:Exactly (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174459)

Guaranteed by whom? What are they offering up as collateral; their firstborn sons? Yeah right. Why would any sane nation accept (i.e. Iran) such a proposal?

Well, any sane nation with a viable enrichment program might be a hard sell(which is an issue, since those are the customers that they actually want); but if I were Benevolent President for Life by the Unanimous and Wholly Uncoerced Assent of the People of some backwater hellhole or other, I could easily imagine that it might make decent economic sense to set up the cheapest, nastiest, scariest-looking bunch of fleabay-sourced enrichment apparatus that I could knock together, and then oh-so-magnanimously agree to halt the project in exchange for cheap, premade nuclear fuel and perhaps a little bit of 'development aid' for my fourth-best palace...

An alternative: (1, Insightful)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173565)

let us create a big, round corrall, and put goats and butt-goats in it, and then takea break with cheese and crackers and maybe peanut butter (?) and then ifanyone wants goats or butt-goats, we can sell them one, orwe can say "NO you can't have no goats, you stinking Italian islamocommunist baseball player!!!!!"

Energy Dependence is tricky at best (5, Interesting)

BMOC (2478408) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173583)

What you would essentially be asking states to do is give up energy independence. It's a nice idea if you strongly trust every other nation in the world. The trouble is, even most allied nations these days harbor low-level suspicion of each other. That is to say nothing of all the ongoing conflicts and near-conflicts that exist. We're still living in a time of independent nation states that look after their own interests and try to avoid getting too pissed off at each other, so compulsory use of a central fuel repository is asking a lot of your average nation.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (5, Insightful)

memnock (466995) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173665)

Also, I want to know how they're going to distribute in a "nondiscriminatory" way. The U.N. Security Council nations or NATO or the country/ies supplying the nuclear material are/is going to demand some kind of say in running the fuelbank. There is no way to guarantee there'll be no politics or bias in deciding who will get to fuel distributed to them.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173935)

This program is basically designed for Iran. What they are trying to say that if Iran gives up their Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty rights for enrichment, then the US and Israel probably won't bomb them for that reason. And if the US or Israel needs to bomb Iran in the future, it can be done knowing that Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons or highly enriched uranium that they can give to their allies. Even better, if Iran starts misbehaving, this fuel can be sanctioned. Finally, if Iran doesn't accept this program, then they must be building nuclear bombs, which gives the US and Israel justification to start bombing.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (5, Insightful)

shiftless (410350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174273)

This program is basically designed for Iran. What they are trying to say that if Iran gives up their Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty rights for enrichment, then the US and Israel probably won't bomb them for that reason. And if the US or Israel needs to bomb Iran in the future, it can be done knowing that Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons or highly enriched uranium that they can give to their allies. Even better, if Iran starts misbehaving, this fuel can be sanctioned. Finally, if Iran doesn't accept this program, then they must be building nuclear bombs, which gives the US and Israel justification to start bombing.

You forgot to add, that's what the propaganda would like us to believe. Why would a sane nation give over its right to energy independence?

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174813)

Why would a sane nation refuse harmless inspections when America requested them?

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (4, Insightful)

sxpert (139117) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175077)

because, so far, Iran is a wholly independent nation, that hates the US so much that there is no way in hell they'll ever allow a US citizen to roam the country free at anytime, and I'm not even talking about visiting their nuclear enrichment sites As to Israel, they've been secretly building atomic bombs for the last 40 or so years... Considering that Iran will back down on their Nuclear Bomb building project is, at best misguided, from the US / Israel side

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175205)

Iraq accepted the inspections, but even after that the inspectors requested more and more access to other "suspected" installations. Finally when Iraq refused more inspections. they were bombed.
Your question was about a "sane nation" maybe that exclude Iraq. but Iran can't be called "sane nation" too, even USA fall out of that concept.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175241)

Because America can go fuck themselves?

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173819)

except that they're already dependent on someone for the uranium. That's the issue. Canada, australia, Russia, Niger, Namibia, Kazakhistan are the big net exporters, with south africa, communist china, the US, germany/czech republic, romania all have some mines, or at least reserves, but unless you're one of the big 5 (for want of a better phrase), you're at their mercy to actually get the uranium.

Which leads to say, Iran, South Africa or Japan (or others, such as india, brazil, israel, the UK, France etc.). They all want nuclear power (or at least might want it), have no domestic source of the uranium, and they rely on someone to sell it to them. If the US vigorously objects to Iran getting uranium of any sort them well, they can't even have a civilian nuclear power programme, if china and north korea and russia make enough of a stink the same could happen to Japan and South korea. The Israeli's bank on being able to get their supplies from the US, and the US can always buy from Canada or australia, so they're safe, but everyone else that has a legitimate need for civilian nuclear power has a tough time saying 'I'm only interested in civilian nuclear power, but that other guy really just wants bombs".

If you're talking about oil then sure, I agree, oil is in total worth so much money, and many of the producers so small that they can be forced into particular spheres of influence and the controllers of those spheres have no real vested interest in giving them up. Uranium is basically worthless in terms of total dollar value, 50 000 tonnes a year at $132k/tonne = 6.6 billion dollars a year as total worldwide production. Worldwide oil production is about 8 billion dollars per day.

It's not like the people at question are energy independent with nuclear power now, this is about finding a way to expand that market so that lots more people can get access to supply without (further) threatening the security of the world with more nuclear bombs. Obviously it's sort of an absurd proposition, if north korea can build nuclear weapons anyone can, but it's an honest effort.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (2)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173961)

They're already interdependent, but states arrange deals independently. A big UN marketplace just could not work, because of the reasons uranium trading is going on now. It's impossible to regulate, at least with countries that allow some kind of private transactions.

The UK is oil independent - It doesn't need imports. Uranium, I'm guessing we have big contracts with Australia.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174191)

A big UN marketplace just could not work, because of the reasons uranium trading is going on now

In the same way that you can't have wheat board that just buys all the wheat, and resells it for the same price it paid (give or take)? (e.g. the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Wheat_Board, which survived quite successfully for 77 years until it was shut down for purely political reasons?).

I'm not saying it's going to work, but you certainly could create a controlled market for low enriched uranium overseen by the 'rich reliable' countries who benefit by being the only ones doing the enriching (free money!) and everyone else gets reactor fuel, which means they have power, to you you know, use all the electronics and software that runs on electronics that we want to sell them.

Uranium isn't sold like any other, the problem is enriched uranium, where you can't buy uranium if someone thinks you're going to enrich it. There are some broadly similar problems, pharmaceuticals that can be used for lethal injections for example cannot be sold if they're going to be used for lethal injections. The broad verifiable regulatory framework for uranium belongs with the UN, because no one trusts the Russians (who are claiming to do it for Iran for example), and for everyone else the added transparency elsewhere won't matter. Of course that makes it harder for Russia to supply nuclear weapons supplies to their friends, so it's not likely to go anywhere.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (2, Insightful)

sxpert (139117) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175101)

The wheat Board was shut down to allow "The Markets" to take over, and make people hungry with their stupid nonsensical speculation bullshit and High Frequency Trading of food, whatever the dumb-ass thing this is

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175217)

Not really, in WA state there was talk of putting something like that in place with milk. Basically require all dairies to sell their milk to a collective which would in turn sell to retailers. The idea was aimed squarely at killing the small number of smaller dairies that weren't owned by big milk. Putting them out of business for all intents and purposes as they would no longer be able to sell their milk. In order to distribute it themselves under their own label they would be forced to sell the milk and buy it back at inflated prices.

Sometimes, allowing a market to develop is a good thing. In the US we have a different set of problems with markets and foods.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174571)

The UK is oil independent - It doesn't need imports.

That has changed.

EIA [eia.gov]

Energy Bulletin [energybulletin.net]

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174161)

Actually, Iran has some amount of uranium available within the country [guardian.co.uk], and it's apparently being mined at two locations. Also, if you were desperate enough, uranium could probably be mined from poorer deposits than those at a net energy gain, as long as you didn't care whether it was at a cost above market prices (and assuming you didn't have access to global market supply due to embargo, that might be attractive).

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174735)

Sure, which is why this is kind of silly, compared to the cost of a single nuclear reactor overpaying by a factor of 5 for uranium isn't really a problem.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (3, Insightful)

shiftless (410350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174311)

It's not like the people at question are energy independent with nuclear power now, this is about finding a way to expand that market so that lots more people can get access to supply without (further) threatening the security of the world with more nuclear bombs. Obviously it's sort of an absurd proposition, if north korea can build nuclear weapons anyone can, but it's an honest effort.

Sure. It's an "honest" effort to enslave the world. Your line about "threatening the security of the world" is right out of the propagandist's storybook. Whose "security" is really threatened by Iran having the nuclear trump card? When was the last time Iran ever invaded or bullied around a nation, like the United States does regularly?

The nuclear cat's out of the bag and it's never going back in. The more nations who have nukes, the better. The idiots will destroy themselves in short order, as a further reminder to the smart ones to play extra nice. The "bad guys" will eventually get nukes no matter how deeply we bury our kids' bodies in the sands of faraway God forsaken lands, when we send them off to die in the next Crusade.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174761)

If you're going to quote both lines you should probably pay attention to the last one, just sayin'

I parroted the propaganda precisely because that's the argument being made - and I said why it's absurd.

Also, Iran, since the revolution, has been funding attacks against the Israeli's, that's pretty much the root of the whole disagreement between the lot of them. They might even have been funding/contributing to various elements of the Iraqi resistance to the US re-colonization effort.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175155)

Whose "security" is really threatened by Iran having the nuclear trump card? When was the last time Iran ever invaded or bullied around a nation, like the United States does regularly?

Everyone within about 1,000 km of them. And I think it's pretty naive to assume that their behavior won't change with the ownership of deployable and fairly reliable nuclear weapons.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174611)

Which leads to say, Iran, South Africa or Japan (or others, such as india, brazil, israel, the UK, France etc.). They all want nuclear power (or at least might want it), have no domestic source of the uranium, and they rely on someone to sell it to them.

What are you talking about? Japan has loads of uranium, the ocean is full of it and it's literally all over the countryside.

. . .

Too soon?

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

izzix (1193865) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174689)

You made a mistake, Brazil holds the 7th largest uranium geological reserve in the world. http://www.mbendi.com/indy/ming/urnm/sa/br/p0005.htm [mbendi.com]

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174791)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_mining

They have some, they're just not mining it much. And in the case of brazil, who no one is particularly accusing of building nuclear bombs, there's no reason to pay above market rates if it can be avoided. They pretty much exemplify the 'we have a legitimate reason to want some', and would rather not see nuclear weapons proliferation.

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173873)

so compulsory use of a central fuel repository is asking a lot of your average nation.

I suspect this is just an excuse to justify developing nations being forced at gunpoint to buy carbon credits and other non-sense intended to cripple their economies. The only civilian use for low grade enriched uranium is energy. Power plants are expensive, and in many countries, if one or two fail, the entire grid for that country fails. Nobody has power. Look at India right now -- they have a massive energy crisis. While having access to uranium to fuel a nuclear reactor looks tempting at first, once they're on the hook, they have to pay whatever price is dictated to them, or agree to sanctions, etc.

Remember the story of the scorpion who wanted to cross the river...

Re:Energy Dependence is tricky at best (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175069)

Remember the story of the scorpion who wanted to cross the river...

Charon promised the scorpion that his boat would safely ferry him across the river Styx. The scorpion looked Charon dead in his eye and said: "Fool! The river grants immortality, I'll just fucking walk you shady twit!"

Low level suspicion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175105)

Even the US government (a first world nation with as many 'alies' as any in the world) is so over the top suspicious of everyone that they are breaking the law and violating their own constitution to spy on the vast majority of their own people, let alone the people of other countries. They say openly that the people of other countries have no rights and are subject to indefinite incarceration without explantion and murder either individually or on mass scale, at the whim of the president or, it seems to me, any functionary of the military or civil administration down to janitors and private milita.

Independent nation states? you are seriously out of touch with reality. There is occasional lip service to the concept but nothing more. The US says there is no impedement to them invading the Ecuadorian embassy (their 'sovereign' teritory by pre-US Democracy precepts) in London (which is somewhere within the 'sovereign' territory of England last I knew, or has the US annexed that too?), and they don't need anyone's permission to do it.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173587)

The basic idea behind an international fuel bank is that it would, in a reliable and nondiscriminatory way, make emergency supplies of market-priced low-enriched uranium available to states that sign up to participate.

How is this different that the markets that exist today for NPT signers?

States that opt for membership in a fuel bank would gain increased confidence that their access to reactor-grade fuel would not be interrupted.

Greater confidence than doing it in their backyard and having the ability to buy it on the market? C'mon!

Sure, great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173597)

Now, who wants it?

Better yet, let every participating country believe they have the fuelbank, and have only one of them really have it.

Secrets (1, Interesting)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173603)

So states will line up for their handouts and conduct enrichment programs in secret, denying that they do so. Where's the difference from today ?

Re:Secrets (1)

IAmR007 (2539972) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174069)

Well, the best way would be to get the spent fuel back, and check the amounts. U-238 could be put near the reacting material like with neutron activation testing, but I don't believe that any remotely usable P-239 could be recovered that way (hence why reactors that produce plutonium have to be specially designed). It might be possible (I'm not an expert) to produce dirty bombs by heavily neutron activating a ton of stuff, but a dirty bomb is a far cry from a nuke, and it would be a very slow process. The main problem would be finding a place to keep the spent fuel, as nobody wants to have to keep the stuff.

Re:Secrets (3, Informative)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174997)

Well, the best way would be to get the spent fuel back, and check the amounts. U-238 could be put near the reacting material like with neutron activation testing, but I don't believe that any remotely usable P-239 could be recovered that way (hence why reactors that produce plutonium have to be specially designed). It might be possible (I'm not an expert) to produce dirty bombs by heavily neutron activating a ton of stuff, but a dirty bomb is a far cry from a nuke, and it would be a very slow process. The main problem would be finding a place to keep the spent fuel, as nobody wants to have to keep the stuff.

Dirty bombs [wikipedia.org] don't work except to freak out a gullible uneducated populace. The US Army checked this out decades ago, found there was nothing there, and went on to other things. Doesn't stop the media in the US from hyping it up,though. Gotta sell those advertising slots in the evening news somehow ya know.

Seriously, though, there is no way this 'fuel bank' won't get politicized, and no way the US will stand still and let it be placed anywhere but the US. And if they get built in the US, what corporation is going to run them, for 'the good of mankind', of course, as long as it's profitable as hell. They want something viable, start getting into thorium reactors [wikipedia.org]. At least stockpiling thorium has a chance of working. 'No pourmouthing [reference.com], El Presidente For Life, how much uranium do you really have?' could become a thing of the past. And since thorium is non-weaponiseable, there'd be no problem for Iran to build thorium reactors for power plants. Win/win in my opinion.

Re:Secrets (2)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174083)

You basically can't do bomb-level enrichment in complete secret. You have some chance of hiding your bomb program behind a civilian enrichment program, and that's exactly what this fuel bank is supposed to prevent. If it's up and reliable, it takes away any reason for peaceful countries to get uranium centrifuges to begin with.

Re:Secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174205)

That assumes you let people audit your civilian enrichment programs in the first place, which is (arguably) the problem with Iran.

They 'claim' its a civilian enrichment program but they also refuse to let the U.N. investigate their facilities, so it quickly becomes a "he said, she said" fight with Iran whining about "spies and Zionist propaganda" and the U.S. saying "Iran is developing nukes!"

Re:Secrets (1)

sxpert (139117) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175139)

you forgot about

Iran : "Israel has had nukes for a while, why can't we ?"

Re:Secrets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175247)

Which is a good question seeing as Israel is presently causing most of the instability in the region. Who knows what would happen if they would stop committing crimes against humanity long enough to have some moral authority.

um no (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173609)

How would this work? We can't monitor Iran properly with them continuing to claim it is research/power they are refining for, difficulties even finding where their nuclear facilities are etc. How would this work with 10's or 100's of nations? Is the UN or whatever send monitors into 100 countries? How about countries that the west has decided it is okay to have nukes (US, UK, Russia, China, France)? If a nuke becomes obsolete are they allowed to replace it with a newer model with a new warhead?

Re:um no (3, Insightful)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174027)

Iran is being fully monitored by the IAEA and the IAEA continues to confirm absolutely no diversion of any Iranian nuclear material to any weapons-related program.

There is absolutely ZERO evidence that Iran is doing anything not permitted by the NPT. There is almost zero evidence that they have EVER done anything not permitted by the NPT.

The sole reason for suspecting Iran had a nuclear weapons program was, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency position (which did not make it into the 2007 Iran National Intelligence Estimate, but is undoubtedly correct), when Iran was concerned that Saddam Hussein had one. Apparently the Ayatollah Khamenei authorized a "feasibility study" to see what Iran would need to do to develop a nuclear weapon if Iraq did. Iran was unconcerned about both Israel's nuclear arsenal and the US nuclear arsenal, because they knew those arsenals were "constrained" by international consensus. Saddam's was not.

Once the US destroyed Iraq in 2003, Iran clearly no longer needed even a feasibility program and that is why, as all the intelligence agencies agree, Iran stopped its program in 2003.

For facts about Iran's nuclear program and the real reasons that the US, NATO and Israel are pressuring Iran, follow the following Web sites:

www.raceforiran.com
www.asiatimes.com
www.antiwar.com
www.campaigniran.org

Re:um no (0)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174157)

Really do you think Isreal's nukes are constrained enough to make Iran not worry? Isreal has a habit of striking whoever they think is a treat to their interests. If they think Iran is a big enough threat and it is the only way to be sure to win I wouldn't think they would have any problem dropping a tactical nuke. If nothing else the fact that Isreal has it would make Iran feel they have a right to have one too just like India Pakistan. Their is no way in hell that a country is going to allow a powerful nation they consider to be a threat have the bomb and not want one themselves (especially a country run but nutjobs).

Re:um no (1)

sxpert (139117) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175157)

including destroying water reservoirs in palestinian areas constructed by the european union, for no other good reason than to thirst up said palestinians.

Fantastic Idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173775)

Just as long as it's centrally located in Washington D.C. and it's required to take in, store and recycle anything that is generated by the use of such fuels. (I'm sure this proposal would get the Libertarian vote.)

I've dreamt for quite some time about a national policy requiring all corporate executives, board members, government officials and military officers to live with results of their policies. This would be a beautiful beginning.

Financial Aid (1, Funny)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173797)

If the United States, or the UN in a pinch, will give me $2Billion in aid money, for food of course, then I hereby agree to not make nuclear weapons. And just to show how serious I am I will not explode a bum at an undisco site on Saturday.

Worked for North Korea so I figure, why not?!

Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173845)

Sounds like a pretty dumb idea to me.

If a country is a real threat deal with them. If they aren't then shut about about it already. Seems everyone want to run everyone else's lives whether it be at the individual or country level.

Is International Nuclear Fallout A Good Idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173865)

No, obviously not.

Oh wait...

Location, location, location. (4, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173889)

And in which country do they plan to enrich and store said nuclear fuelbank?

Re:Location, location, location. (2)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174825)

The United States! Because we're the most "civilized" in the world and we are the only ones that can be trusted!

Before I get modded down, this was sarcasm!

Re:Location, location, location. (1)

nazsco (695026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174973)

But Russia has far more experience in dealing with enriched uranium

How does that differ from the status quo? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173893)

I've yet to hear of any part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that would prevent Russia or China from transferring fuel-grade material to Iran. The current international regime is as follows:

  • Refine fissile material
  • Decline international oversight
  • Remain in the NPT

Pick any two.

Iran wants to have their cake and eat it too; it doesn't matter what you call their potential fuel suppliers, they want it in-house regardless.

Re:How does that differ from the status quo? (3, Informative)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174129)

And they are fully justified in requiring at least some of the processing being done on Iranian soil.

Several NATO countries have reneged on nuclear technology deals over the past thirty years, mostly as a result of US pressure.

Russia itself delayed and delayed the Bushehr project for various reasons.

When the Tehran Research Reactor came up for re-supplying in 2009, the US and NATO refused to supply fuel on the open market as is REQUIRED by the NPT. This lead to negotiations in fall of 2009 which resulted in an ultimatum to Iran to ship out all of its low-enriched uranium stock in exchange for the TRR fuel - WITHOUT any guarantee that Iran would actually get that fuel. Iran naturally refused this offer and made a counteroffer to exchange the LEU at the time of delivery of the TRR fuel, with the LEU being held in Turkey or elsewhere under IAEA seal. The US refused.

So Iran went ahead and began enriching to 20% to produce the TRR fuel itself in January or February of 2010.

Then Brazil and Turkey tried to make a deal with Iran similar to the deal it offered in November/December of 2009. Obama wrote a letter to the Brazilian President outlining the details of a deal the US would accept. The Brazilians and Turks got the deal with Iran. The US then refused the deal under the spurious notion that since Iran's stockpile of LEU had gotten bigger in the meantime that the deal was no longer acceptable.

Iran has every reason to distrust the US because it is clear from the behavior of the US over the years that it has no serious interest in negotiating a genuine resolution of the issue. The nuclear issue is merely an excuse being used by the US to justify extreme sanctions and an upcoming military attack on Iran. The real reasons for this process is the US and Israeli desire for hegemony in the Middle East. Iran (and to a lesser degree Syria which is why Syria is in trouble now) is the only country in the Middle East not beholden to the US for foreign aid, weapons and security. The US and Israel will not rest until Iran, Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon are "brought to heel."

Re:How does that differ from the status quo? (1)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174481)

By that reasoning, Al Qaeda has every reason to distrust the US as well.

If they want to be able to trust the US the first thing they should do is stop being Al Qaeda. The same goes for Iran, Syria, and Hizballah. (And don't you find it a bit scary that that means "the party of God"?)

Re:How does that differ from the status quo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175269)

Al Qaeda has made deals with the IAEA ?

Re:How does that differ from the status quo? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175253)

This is not true, the original deal the with the Iranians was that they would be allowed to enrich low-grade uranium for energy generating purposes, then the IAEA at the behest of the Americans suddenly and unilaterally turned around and said that Iran cannot do any enrichment whatsoever.

Apart from the fact that this makes us the offending party and not the Iranians, the idea of the "world bank of enriched uranium" is a way for the western nations to fulfil the obligations they have made to third world nations for access to atomic energy without giving them access to enrichment tech.

The Iranians, funnily enough, are being put under sanctions for KEEPING their part of the deal .......

How about this instead... (3, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173897)

As a species, we get together (good luck on that) and relinquish uranium and plutonium for any use on planet, and instead create a thorium based nuclear economy. Take all the uranium and plutonium and use it to build and power cities on the Moon and Mars. The cities on Moon can then beam collected solar energy back to earth in the form of microwave, collected by a network of geosynchronous satellites. Anyone who agrees to using Thorium now get's a share of the solar power coming from the moon so they have abundant Nuclear power now. Abundant Solar power later, and the threat of global thermonuclear war is eliminated (at least until the folks on Mars decide to nuke earth for holding back on the cream puff shipment or whatever.)

The problem is simple. People claim to want clean, unlimited power. They don't. They want bombs. They want to make certain that if you nuke them, they can nuke you back. The solution is to give up the right to nuke anybody, so everyone can live with the threat of having ones home converted into a blue ashtray eliminated. Sadly there is a certain amount of trust required for this to work, and nations with good sources of yellow cake need to trade these for free thorium technology. Its really simple. Society is sick and we can either cure or perish from the illness together.

Re:How about this instead... (5, Informative)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173959)

Thorium can be used to produce U-233 which can be used to produce a simple bomb.

Re:How about this instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41175197)

An immensely impractical and dangerous (to the people that make/store/use it) bomb. Check the decay chain.

Re:How about this instead... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174235)

Build the power plants on the Moon and Mars - then what happens is that Mars and the Moon become self sufficient over a significantly long timespan, tensions break out between the three competing planets, and you have the exact same situation we're in now, offset many years into the future.

Re:How about this instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174283)

Anyone who agrees to using Thorium now get's a share of the solar power... ... and the threat of global thermonuclear war is eliminated...

And the possibility of the Solar Power Wars increases exponentially, which means we'll not only get Gundams, but clearly superior Gundams. I'm on board with this.

The solution is to give up the right to nuke anybody

Which will never happen, because you can't trust that them there foreigners aren't holding back on their disarmament, what with their strange accents and beady eyes.

No, the Great Convention has the proper solution. If a nation deploys atomics against another, every other nation on the planet instantly drops on the aggressor. Problem solved. Possibly permanently.

Re:How about this instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174331)

Uhm, and WHY would you convert light to electricity just to be converted to a longer wavelength and transmit THAT back? What exactly is your purpose for the microwave beams?

MODERATORS!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174557)

Mod parent up! I want to read a response to this.

Re:How about this instead... (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175023)

How would you collect light over tens of thousands of kilometers and move that energy to earth? You could use satellites with a wide variety of wavelength for collecting the energy, microwave is just easier to manipulate (we don't have the nanotechnology yet to do the fancy things with optical wavelengths that we can with microwave.

Re:How about this instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174387)

Microwaved back to earth.... Someone hasn't played Sim City!

MAD exists for a reason.... (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174431)

The solution is to give up the right to nuke anybody, so everyone can live with the threat of having ones home converted into a blue ashtray eliminated.

Excellent idea, then we can go back to the good old days of industrialized total warfare! By taking away nuclear weapons you remove the only thing that places limitations on the willingness of nations to use force to meet their political objections. What do you purpose to replace MAD with? History tells us that political/international institutions won't preclude war, recall the League of Nations. Nor will treaties that purport to limit the allowable conduct during war remain effective once the balloon goes up. As a random example, unrestricted submarine warfare was outlawed after WW1, so naturally both sides employed it to maximum effect during WW2.

Mutually assured destruction is the only thing that will prevent war, or at the very least manage it to the extent that it doesn't turn into total warfare. The proxy wars of the Cold War era weren't a lot of fun, but they beat the hell out of out of the alternative of total war between east and west.

Re:MAD exists for a reason.... (3, Informative)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175067)

Oh yeah, we've done so well since Hiroshima! Let's see the Korean War, The Viet Nam War, two Gulf Wars, The War in Afghanistan, a couple dozen outbreaks in Africa and the Mid-East. That's just the U.S, Add the fun and games from all the other countries in the world and there's been about 12 war free days since we nuked Japan. Nukes don't stop war. In fact technology is moving fast in a direction where war is going to performed from remote consoles, and nukes won't impact that process either. There is no reason to have them. We should just dismantle them, remove the possibility of some idiot building a crude nuke or dirty bomb, and get on with life.

Re:MAD exists for a reason.... (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175245)

Oh yeah, we've done so well since Hiroshima!

And indeed we have as the previous poster noted.

Let's see the Korean War, The Viet Nam War, two Gulf Wars, The War in Afghanistan, a couple dozen outbreaks in Africa and the Mid-East. That's just the U.S, Add the fun and games from all the other countries in the world and there's been about 12 war free days since we nuked Japan.

Peace doesn't mean complete absence of war. If you add up the body count for every war since the end of the Second World War, you barely get something comparable to the First World War (excluding the influenza epidemic).

Nukes don't stop war.

They stopped total war in Europe after 1945. The USSR was an extremely aggressive military power that completely changed its approach after the development of nuclear weapons.

Re:MAD exists for a reason.... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175175)

Mutually assured destruction is the only thing that will prevent war, or at the very least manage it to the extent that it doesn't turn into total warfare.

Education, economic ties, and free sharing of ideas and knowledge can also suffice to prevent war, but you humans are too primitive to see beyond violence just yet. You'll never solve the drake equation at this rate.

P.S. Thank you ever so much for producing "How It's Made", and its ilk. You've made my job as a xenoanthropologist as simple as operating a DVR.

Re:How about this instead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174897)

The problem is simple. People claim to want clean, unlimited power. They don't. They want bombs. They want to make certain that if you nuke them, they can nuke you back.

I knew it! We should proceed to attack Canada, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. etc.. and the rest of the hate nations! They all have or want nuclear power, but say they don't want bombs. They must be lying! /sarcasm

The bottom line is if you want nukes, it is not very efficient to build nuclear power stations and use them for nuclear bomb generation. If you want examples of how to build lots and lots of nukes without any large power plants, ask Israel.

instead create a thorium based nuclear economy.

Why? Thorium is basically just like Uranium. Almost same long term waste. Almost same fuel profile. The biggest difference is you need fast neutron reactors to utilize Thorium properly. Kind of the same what is needed to utilize Uranium too.

Finally, to get a thorium reactor started, you need highly enriched U-235. And you can use natural uranium without enrichment in some reactors, or low level enrichment in others. So Uranium is better.

How about, you know, get together and invest some money into a *real* "unlimited power" source. ITER. Fusion, not thorium, is what you are looking for.

Great idea not withstanding Batman Villains (1)

BobbyLang (2710069) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173905)

With it all in one place it kind of reminds me of Bain raiding the batcave etc- if the security fails with no redundancy? Maybe they wouldn't have to keep it all in one place - just thinking out aloud :P

Yes the USA could become a consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173939)

Yes the USA could become a consumer of this service and sign the agreement that they would not longer create enriched uranium and the world would become a happier and safer place.

Re:Yes the USA could become a consumer (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174285)

no we have our own uranium we simply aren't mining or refining it, and we have enough nukes in place already to blow up the world a half dozen times or so. And do you really think that the US cares about anyone saying no nukes unless it is say china or rushia? and they are in the same place we are nuke wise they ignore everyone else. and the status quo stays the same. the only change is more bureaucracy.

yuo fai]l It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41173957)

fact came Into They started to than make a sincere conducted at MIT There are though, I have to contributed code witH the work, or would like to

Will not work (1)

SilverJets (131916) | about a year and a half ago | (#41173997)

Guaranteed supply. Really? So who is going to guarantee the supply? The fuelbank will have to buy their uranium from somewhere and what if the country supplying the uranium decides to stop selling it? Or ups the price? Unless the fuelbank has it's own inexhaustible supply of uranium it cannot guarantee anything.

Re:Will not work (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174789)

Supply of the raw material isn't the problem. Mining the ore will be permitted worldwide. Its the processing steps that will be regulated. Those licensed to process fuel grade uranium on behalf of the bank are free to acquire the raw material anywhere they can.

Can we please burn natural Uranium? (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174135)

TWR [gigaom.com] allows us to burn unenriched or even depleted uranium, which is sitting around in huge stockpiles all over the world. Other people have also mentioned liquid thorium, which is a good idea as well. We should start looking past the most primitive and inefficient way to use our fissile fuels. Plus, enrichment is a proliferation risk, as many have noticed.

Re:Can we please burn natural Uranium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174613)

You don't need theoretical reactors like TWR to burn unenriched uranium. CANDU [wikipedia.org] reactors already do it. No isotopic enrichment necessary. They can even burn fuel considered "waste" from pressurized water reactors.

Re:Can we please burn natural Uranium? (1)

Formalin (1945560) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175165)

I'm fairly certain RBMK can (and did) run raw uranium too.

They run slightly enriched uranium now though, AFAIK. To run the reactor in a more stable spot of the curve... to avoid another chernobyl-type screwup.

Re:Can we please burn natural Uranium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174851)

Sure we can. Just as soon as we learn to create magnetic fields in concrete and magnetic induction motors for cars so that we no longer have burn fossil fuels to haul our lazy butts to the liquor store and back.

Is this a joke? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174343)

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! The notion that ANY nation would a) agree to that, and b) keep their word is preposterous! They know full well that the UN will do nothing while they take the free uranium AND refine at the the same time. This is a monument to idiocy.

Feh (0)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174391)

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a left-wing publication that makes pretenses to be based around the scientific expertise of their scientists, many of whom aren't even atomic scientists. Remember some months back where Slashdot had an article about them moving the doomsday clock [slashdot.org] and Slashdotters managed to figure out how nonsensical it is?

Having an international nuclear fuel bank will fail for one simple reason: countries such as Iran want nuclear weapons. Their peaceful use of nuclear fuel is a cover for the development of nuclear weapons, not the other way around. When Iran tells us that all they want is peaceful nuclear energy and they aren't interested in nuclear weapons, they're lying. A nuclear fuel bank that actually promotes peaceful nuclear energy and avoids nuclear weapons is going to be rejected by Iran because, hey, lie.

It's just that given the political bias of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, they assume that Iran is telling the truth and so they think this hair-brained scheme will actually work.

Re:Feh (1)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174435)

Now that I read closer, I may have been too charitable even saying this. Look at the first two contributors: assistant to Vietnam's deputy prime minister. Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission and former minister of energy. In other words, they are high-ranking government officials in non-democratic, anti-US countries. Tell me why we should pay attention to such guys?

Solving a non-problem (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174397)

The issue with countries like Iran isn't that they are worried that their supply of nuclear fuel will be cut off. They want to build nuclear weapons. They aren't interested in guarantees of actual fuel. If Iran was truly interested in nuclear fuel, the deal would have been done by now. A fuel bank is solution to a non-problem.

Re:Solving a non-problem (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174491)

They want to build nuclear weapons.

Bingo. Iran has already been caught enriching uranium far beyond what is necessary for power plant fuel. They have already been offered a guaranteed supply of fuel from a consortium of countries, including both the USA and Russia, but they have turned it down because they would have to agree to inspections. They are not worried about fuel, they want to build weapons. This proposal would solve nothing, because it is not addressing an actual problem.

cheap diablo 3 (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:cheap diablo 3 (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41174717)

This sort of botting is getting worse around here. We have the moderation system which is meant to keep actual people in-check and civil but it may be nice to have a "Report Spam" option available to all non-AC at all times to help against this sort of thing. It could be meta-moderated as well, if deemed necessary, to avoid people using it as a, "I don't have mod points but don't like you button". The person receives a ban, is given the reason, and hopefully clues up that they're infected and do something about it. If they can then answer a captcha and change their password they can have their account back.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174639)

It was a yes/no question. So.. No.

No more Banks of any kind, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174701)

The fact that they want to make a another makes me oppose this idea.

Stockpile Now, Nuclear Reactors later (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174709)

A nice idea, but all that will do is make it easy for certain countries to stockpile Uranium now, and pretend to play along until they have enough, tell the rest of the world to go fuck themselves while they start building nuclear bombs. It would also make it difficult to limit Uranium access to countries suspected of making nukes in secret.

Yes, some countries are going to get screwed, but anyone with the technology and resources to have nuclear reactors will likely also have the capacity for nuclear weapons. How many countries have gone from western allies to western enemies, and back, and forth again, in the past 30 years?, have gone from stable to insane?, how many people's revolutions have turned into tyrannies? This is Nuclear Bombs we are talking about, you don't have much room for error.

The answers is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174725)

No. For two reasons.

1. It goes without saying both western sensitives and eastern indifference precludes any actual deterrent to dictators and theocracies playing with uranium. As such, they will pay no attention.

2. Relying on a globally governed uranium bank gives leverage to statists to indulge anti-nooks, enviro-nazis and any other moonbat constituency that wants to play politics, collect rents, etc.

3. Wealthy western nations will be expected to fill the bank at monumental expense to be doled out for free to everyone else. Another giant wealth transfer around which staggering amounts of corruption will flourish.

Re:The answers is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174807)

No. For two reasons.

...Surprise and fear...fear and surprise....
Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....
Our three weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
Our four...no...

Which wolf runs the henhouse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174891)

Like the Internet, the USA would "naturally" want to run the henhouse. And about 180 countries should object. But for a start, the already nuclear-capable giants would protest. This idea may have worked at the end of WW2 and maybe diffused the Cold War, but its 60 years too late now. Nice romantic idea, but 100% "will never happen".

Second amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41174949)

Isn't it interesting that the US constitution entrenches the right to bear arms, but the US wants to deny the vast majority of people in the world exactly this right.

In 1791, sticks and stones, knives, swords, muskets and cannons were the weapons of choice. Today, one needs assault rifles, stealth bombers, sattelites and supersonic nuclear armed cruise missiles. But the principle is the same.

So why doesn't the US support democracy and constitutional rights for everyone?

Those that sign up (-1, Offtopic)

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hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about a year and a half ago | (#41175027)

Unless this is going to be dispensed from a boat in international waters, I really don't see this monopoly working. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that neither the US or Russia is going to sign-onto this goat rodeo.
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