The Nobel Peace Prize, founded on a fortune made from explosives, has gone to the agency whose job it is to promote nuclear power without promoting nuclear weapons, and the man who heads it. Anybody with that job probably deserves some kind of prize.
Littering the planet with nuclear power plants won't put a lid on nuclear weapons.
Mohammed ElBaradei is the head of the International Atomic
Energy Agency(IAEA), both winners of this year's Nobel Peace
The agency is tasked with policing the spread of nuclearweapons
at the same time it is charged with promoting the verytechnologies
and materials used to make nuclear weapons.
It's a job worthy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In opposing the Iraq war and championing a nuclear-free Middle
East,ElBaradei has in recent years been a voice of sanity in the
world ofnuclear non-proliferation. Here's what he had to say
aboutnuclear weapons in The Economist in October 2003:
"I worry that, in our collective memories, the horrors of
Hiroshima andNagasaki have begun to fade. I worry about nuclear
weapons falling intothe hands of terrorists or ruthless dictators.
I worry about nuclearweapons already in the arsenals of democracies
- because as long asthese weapons exist, there is no absolute
guarantee against thedisastrous consequences of their theft,
sabotage or accidental launch,and even democracies are not immune
to radical shifts in their securityanxieties and nuclear policies.
I worry, but I also hope. Ihope that a side-effect of globalisation
will be an enduringrealisation that there is only one human race,
to which we allbelong."
Spoken like a Peace Prize winner.
But the Mr. Hyde side of his job is to be the UN's front man for
thenuclear industry, peddling more nuclear power to more countries.
That, Mr. ElBaradei, is the part of your job that worries us.
You see, we worry that, in our collective memories, the horrors of
Hiroshima andNagasaki have begun to fade. We worry about nuclear
materialsfalling into the hands of terrorists or ruthless
dictators. We worryabout nuclear materials that are already in
nuclear power plants andreprocessing plants and storage facilities.
Because as long asthese materials exist, there is no absolute
guarantee against thedisastrous consequences of their theft or
sabotage, and evendemocracies are not immune to radical shifts in
their securityanxieties and nuclear policies.
We hope that this award will spark a new discussion around
thefundamental contradiction of the International Atomic Energy
Agency'sdual role as nuclear policeman and nuclear salesman. Only
once thatduality is removed can the IAEA truly focus on the
pressing threat ofthe global spread of nuclear weapons technology,
both civil andmilitary.
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