Greenpeace response to UN security report: UN security panel peddles peaceful atom

Press release - 2 December, 2004
Recognising the increased threat of nuclear Armageddon and the near collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the UN Panel on Security failed to adequately address the problem Greenpeace warned today.

"While the UN Panel makes it clear that the nuclear non-proliferation regime is perilously close to collapse, instead of addressing the threat, it continues to peddle the dangerous myth of peaceful civil nuclear technology," said Tom Clements of Greenpeace International.

According to the report "at least 60 states currently operate or are constructing nuclear power or research reactors, and at least 40 possess the industrial and scientific infrastructure, which would enable them ... to build nuclear weapons at relatively short notice." It further recognises that "it has become clear in recent years that the proliferation risks from the enrichment of uranium and from reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel are great and increasing. These two processes in particular provide a route by which Treaty signatories can (and in some cases have) clandestinely pursued ... acquiring a nuclear weapons capability." Yet the Panel promotes the 50 year myth of "Atoms for Peace" in up holding the "right" of the 168 countries signed up to the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to "develop the research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

"Civil nuclear technology, know-how, and materials are the building blocks of nuclear proliferation. International separation and trade in nuclear materials is the department store for nuclear materials diversion and possible terrorist use," warned Clements. Greenpeace recognises the complexity of controlling the spread of nuclear weapons; however, there are many steps that can be taken now to reduce the threat. For example, Greenpeace is calling for an immediate ban on the production and separation of all nuclear weapons-usable nuclear materials.

While the Panel cites climate change as one reason why the States may wish to keep the nuclear option open, Greenpeace believes that nuclear power has no role to play in avoiding catastrophic climate change and that a combination of climate friendly peaceful renewable energy sources and energy efficiency is the only way to address the twin threats of climate change and nuclear proliferation. "A nuclear winter is no solution to global warming," said Clements.

Greenpeace shares the Panel's view that "Lacklustre disarmament by the nuclear-weapon states weakens the diplomatic force of the non-proliferation regime and thus its ability to constrain proliferation." Instead of upgrading their nuclear arsenals the five recognised nuclear power - U.S., U.K., France, China and Russia - should immediately meet their own commitments under the Treaty to "move towards disarmament."