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08-13-2004, 06:41 AM

U.S. Shifts Stance on Nuclear Treaty
White House Resists Inspection Provision

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 31, 2004; Page A01

In a significant shift in U.S. policy, the Bush administration announced this week that it will oppose provisions for inspections and verification as part of an international treaty that would ban production of nuclear weapons materials.

For several years the United States and other nations have pursued the treaty, which would ban new production by any state of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons. At an arms-control meeting this week in Geneva, the Bush administration told other nations it still supported a treaty, but not verification.

Administration officials, who have showed skepticism in the past about the effectiveness of international weapons inspections, said they made the decision after concluding that such a system would cost too much , would require overly intrusive inspections and would not guarantee compliance with the treaty. They declined, however, to explain in detail how they believed U.S. security would be harmed by creating a plan to monitor the treaty.


US accused over plutonium pit

Sarah Left
Friday July 30, 2004

The Guardian

The US government was today accused of urging negotiation on a treaty to ban the material needed to produce a nuclear bomb while simultaneously seeking funds to build a new plutonium pit facility.
At the UN conference on disarmament in Geneva yesterday, the US ambassador to the conference, Jackie Sanders, delivered a mixed message on banning the production of fissile material - plutonium and highly enriched uranium - needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

While she said the US president, George Bush, and his administration wanted to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), she appeared to throw the treaty's future into doubt by expressing concern that compliance could be effectively verified.

The FMCT is considered to be an important step forward for nuclear non-proliferation, because it would prevent states from creating new nuclear weapons by blocking access to the raw material for a bomb.

It is seen by advocates of disarmament as a way to curb nuclear weapons programmes in India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, which are outside the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

However, Matt Martin, the senior nuclear analyst at independent thinktank the British American security information council, said the Bush administration had already received funding to build a new pit facility to mine plutonium.

He claimed the administration had requested $29.8m (16m) of additional money for the pit, which is likely to be located either in Los Alamos, New Mexico, or Savannah River, South Carolina, this year.

....make the world safer?