Jeffrey LewisWho Will Host the Fuel Bank?

The IAEA has begun circulating a document soliciting a host for the IAEA Fuel Bank. Arms Control has the full text of GOV/INF/2011/7 Assurance of Supply: IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank, Solicitation for Host State.

Kazakhstan is the only state that, as far as I know, has expressed an interest in hosting the fuel bank.

Still, there are policies and procedures to be followed.  This document is a step in that direction.  How does Kazakhstan measure up?

The document lists technical and legal requirements, which boil down to: Does the state have at least one industrial-scale facility for handling UF6 and is the state party to the relevant legal undertakings relating to nuclear safety and security.

Just for fun, I made a list of all the states with at least one safeguard facility for uranium conversion, enrichment or fuel fabrication (as a proxy for industrial-scale UF6 handling operations) and then asked whether the state met the legal requirements for nuclear safety and security as outlined in GOV/2010/42-GC(54)/9.  Those requirements are that the state had (A) deposited an instrument of ratification, approval or acceptance of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials without reservations or declarations, (B) accepted or approved the Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, (C) supported Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and (D) deposited an instrument of ratification, approval or acceptance of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Here is the resulting chart:

A* B C D
Algeria x x x
Argentina x
Belgium x x x
Brazil x x x
Canada x x
Chile x x x x
China x x x
Egypt x
France x
Germany x x x x
India x x x
Indonesia x x
Italy x
Japan x x x
Kazakhstan x x x x
Korea x
Mexico x x x
Romania x x x
South Africa x
Spain x x x
Sweden x x
Turkey x

*I didn’t hold it against states that only issued an objection to the infamous declaration by Pakistan.

Using this very simple method, three states jump out as being best suited to host the fuel bank: Chile, Germany and Kazakhstan.  Chile’s UF6 handling facilities aren’t really industrial-scale.  And Germany doesn’t seem to be interested in very many things nuclear these days.

So, congratulations Kazakhstan! The fuel bank is yours.  We toast you.


  1. archjr (History)

    Great post. What’s almost as interesting is the roster of countries that have not signed on to the physical protection convention and other measures. One would think this had become more of the international norm.

  2. jon (History)


    Maybe I’m missing something, but how come the UK and US aren’t considered?