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Princeton report charts a step-by-step path toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East
Date:12/24/2013

st in the world bigger than Britain's, almost the same size as China's and about two-thirds as big as France's. Israel's plutonium is produced in a reactor housed at the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona (see image). An underground reprocessing plant adjoining the reactor is used to separate the plutonium from the spent nuclear reactor fuel, the report notes.

"By shutting down the Dimona reactor and reprocessing plant, Israel would cap the amount of plutonium that it could use to make nuclear weapons," said Zia Mian, a research scientist with WWS' Program on Science and Global Security. "This could be verified remotely by Israel's neighbors and would be the first step toward regional monitoring by prospective parties of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone."

To reduce the risk of secret nuclear-weapons programs, the report recommends that all states in the region especially Iran, the only country in the region with civilian uranium enrichment plants and an operating nuclear power reactor commit to:

  • A ban on the separation and use of plutonium;
  • A ban on the use of highly enriched uranium as fuel for reactors;
  • A limitation on uranium enrichment to the very low levels needed for power reactors;
  • No stockpiles of enriched uranium but rather a "just-in-time" system of production; and
  • Placing enrichment activities under multi-national control.

"If such measures could be adopted globally, it would significantly strengthen the global nonproliferation regime and the foundation for a nuclear-weapon-free world," said Harold Feiveson, a co-founder of the Program on Science and Global Security who helped draft the NPT treaty.

Several of the above measures were part of the recent November 2013 nuclear deal between Iran and a group of six world powers (the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia). Iran agreed that, for least six months, it would not separ
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Contact: B. Rose Huber
brhuber@princeton.edu
609-258-0157
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Source:Eurekalert  

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