Pop goes the missile

Nobel Prize for IAEA? Ridiculous

Feature story - 9 December, 2005
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, has arrived in Oslo to pick up this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which he will share with the IAEA. We've got another prize for him...

To underscorejust how ridiculous we consider this to be, we'd like to present Dr.ElBaradei with our new invention: the "Nuke-in-a-Box." 

It lookslike a nuclear power plant.

But push the button, and out pops a nuclearmissile.

POP! Oh my! Where did THAT come from?

With his new toy,Dr. ElBaradei can have hours of fun doing what all kids do with aJack-in-the-box: be continually surprised when the missile POPS out. 

Oh my! Where did THAT come from???

Of course, Dr. ElBaradeiis an adult, and he shouldn't really be surprised when the missile popsout of the box.  Nor should he be surprised when his Agency,charged with promoting nuclear power for all, ends up promoting nuclearweapons for all as well.

But life is just full of surprises! Like when in 1999 thegovernment of Belgium asked if it was safe to send nuclear technologyto Pakistan.  ElBaradei was in "promoting nuclear power" moderather than "stopping nuclear weapons" mode, and he wrote backgiving a green light, saying there was no evidence that Pakistan haddiverted any materials "for military purposes."  A few yearslater... Pop! Oh my! Where did THAT come from?

The double role of the IAEA is reflectedin its statutes which stipulates that the IAEA "shall seek toaccelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy" but alsoensure "so far as it is able" that this assistance "is not used in sucha way as to further any military purpose." 

Ha, ha. That's a goodone!

POP! Oh my! Where did THAT come from?

"Designing a UNagency with such conflicting tasks has proven to be a recipe fordisaster," says Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Truls Gulowsen."Greenpeace has proposed to the Member States that the IAEA isreformed, removing its nuclear power promotional role, andstrengthening the nuclear weapons watchdog function. Nuclear power isdangerous, dirty, expensive and increases the risk of nuclear weaponproliferation. Rather than helping countries to nuclear power, the UNshould focus on promoting safe renewable energy, and do more to enforcethe obligation to nuclear disarmament under the Treaty on theNon-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons."

Whereas the IAEA hasbeen quite successful in spreading civilian nuclear power technologyand materials, it has failed in its anti-proliferation mission. Israel,India, Pakistan and North Korea have used the IAEA assistance for theircivilian nuclear programmes to develop nuclear weapons. In addition,rather than minimizing the availability of nuclear weapons-gradematerials, the IAEA has contributed to the worrying trend in the last10 years of growing global stockpiles of nuclear weapons-gradematerials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium).

POP! Oh my! Wheredid THAT come from?