IAEA

Dear Delegates,

 

We are pleased to welcome you to the 2008 Baylor University Model United Nations High School Conference.

 

This guide will help introduce you to the topics listed below. However, this guide should simply work as a platform for your own personal research. It would be in your best interest to familiarize yourselves with the current operations and issues that are underway with the IAEA. The IAEA is the major international proponent for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Seeing as the IAEA plays such a huge role in the international nuclear world, it also is charged with the duty of making sure that member states adhere to the protocols and regulations that have been established by the IAEA. While trying to make sure that nuclear warfare is not a possibility, the IAEA also safely promotes energy and science advances in the nuclear field. The IAEA is a plenary-size committee, and with its 144 members that means the delegates participating in this committee will be able to fully delve into the issues that the IAEA is faced with today. The IAEA is one of the most important agencies because of the heightened concerns of a possibly nuclear future.

 

The topics under discussion for the IAEA at the 2008 Conference are:

 

  1. Israel and its Compliance to the IAEA
  2. Strengthening the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
  3. Increasing Regulations on Nuclear Materials Management

 

Considering the current importance of each issue in the global spectrum, it would be very beneficial to the delegates to make sure that the everyday happenings involving these issues be documented and considered when working on the topics. The research and importance of involvement in current news is detrimental not only to the competition itself, but it also greatly contributes to the wider mission of Model United Nations by spreading awareness of global problems and their possible solutions.

 

Background of the International Atomic Energy Association

 

History

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency was originally founded in the aftermath of the nuclear warfare that had taken place during World War II. President Dwight Eisenhower called upon the United Nations and stressed the needs to have an organization that would help to alleviate the nuclear tensions between nations, as well as help to create plans for peaceful nuclear energy. On July 29, 1957 the IAEA was founded.

           

            The IAEA serves the world as an organization that is part of the United Nations that helps to remedy the lingering concerns of a nuclear future that could be harmful. The IAEA itself is formed on three pillars that help to express the focus of the organization itself, they are as follows: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification. The IAEA was headed by Hans Blix, who is now known for the investigations provided by the United Nations before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. His leadership was strong from the years of 1981 until 1997 where he was replaced by the current head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei.

 

            After the IAEA was founded the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or the NPT, was created. The NPT basically called for the nuclear disarmament of all nations that were members except for 5 states. These 5 states were: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The ultimate goal for the NPT was to eliminate the possibility of nuclear warfare by disarming all but the permanent 5 members of the United Nations. Also the NPT helped to create ways to spread the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy was used as alternative source from gas, oil, and coal as prices inflated. However, after the 1986 incident at Chernobyl, the need for nuclear energy drastically fell. Though throughout the years the initial accident has been tough to rebound from, the IAEA is still conducting research with countries and trying to stress the importance of nuclear energy as a vital alternative to oil and coal. The issue of peaceful nuclear power is an extremely important issue to the IAEA, but the issue of nuclear materials management goes hand in hand with the possibility of most of the countries around the world having the ability to produce and harness nuclear power.

 

Structure

 

            The IAEA takes on these issues quite well, but it does not do it alone. Though the IAEA is not directly under any particular control in the United Nations, it does report to the Security Council as well as the General Assembly. The structure of the IAEA and its governing body is of a bicameral nature, meaning there are two policy-making bodies that govern the IAEA. The first of the two is the Board of Governors. The Board is composed of 13 appointed, or designated, members and 22 members that are elected by the General Conference. All of the members of the Board of Governors must show an extremely advanced knowledge in atomic energy as well as represent a great deal of geographic diversity. The Board only meets every 5 years, however, they present almost all of the policy work that is done at the IAEA. Even though they produce most of the policies, this is not all that the Board does, they also make recommendations to the General Conference on the current needs for the budget and other expenditures for the IAEA during their meetings. The second form of governing body of the IAEA is the General Conference. The GC meets annually to approve the requests and the policies that are passed down from the Board of Governors. Each of the 144 member states is represented at the General Conference. The main purpose of the General Conference is to provide a wider range of debate and argumentation over the topics and legislation that is produced from the Board of Governors.

 

Topic I: Israel's Nuclear Ambitions and Compliance with International Bodies

 

Introduction

The state of Israel has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity towards its nuclear program, saying only that it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. However, it is widely believed that Israel has had nuclear capabilities for several decades. The first sign of interest in a nuclear program came in 1949, when a two-year geological survey of the Negev Desert was carried out by a unit of the Israeli Defense Force with the intention of finding sources of uranium. Uranium was found and the Israel Atomic Energy Comission began to extract it from the desert. During the 1950s, the nuclear weapons program became the recipient of aid from other countries because of Israel's unstable situation in the region (the Suez Crisis and other regional conflicts).

In October of 1956 a secret agreement was reached between the governments of Israel, France and Great Britain to form a joint response to the nationalization of the Suez Canal. The Protocols of Sevres was the seven-point agreement signed by the leaders, outlining a plan to invade Egypt with first Israeli forces and then the British-French forces. Somewhere within the secret agreements, it is believed that France agreed to help Israel build a nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant near Dimona. Secret shipments of restricted materials were made to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s from Great Britain.

            Throughout the 60s, Israel continued developing its nuclear program away from the public eye.  A 1969 agreement between U.S. president Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir established a policy of nuclear ambiguity and encouraged Israel to "make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons or undertake a nuclear test program."

            As the years passed, much speculation was made about Israel's nuclear capability but confirmation came on October 5, 1986 when a former employee of the Negev Nuclear Research Center revealed to the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, that there was indeed a nuclear research site in Dimona that had already built thermonuclear weapons. He also revealed that by 1980, Israel had approximately 100 to 200 nuclear explosive devices. None of these weapons have been tested, although some have speculated that Israel may have conducted underground tests in the past. 

 

Israel and the NPT

Israel is not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) despite the glaring evidence of its nuclear capacity.  Along with India, Pakistan, and North Korea, it is not a signatory to the NPT.  Officials in Israel view the NPT as incompatible with the Middle East region which needs a "neighborhood bully" to maintain order.  Israel receives less criticism on its lack of participation in the NPT because of its lack of contribution to nuclear proliferation.  Israel avoids exporting hazardous materials and maintains self-restrain in its approach to the nuclear program.

 

 

 

Regional Threats

Israel has always faced regional threats but lately these have taken on a nuclear undertone as Iran struggles to establish itself as the regional hegemon.  The last two presidents as well as Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have all expressed the desire to eliminate Israel from the region.  If Israel were to abandon its nuclear program, the region would become more unstable.  Iran's recent claims towards developing nuclear weapons threaten to change Israel's longstanding policy of ambiguity.  A region with more than one potential nuclear power calls for a more explicit form of deterrence. 

 

Israel and the IAEA

Generally, the IAEA has been cooperative with Israel because of their unique regional situation and their active role in non-proliferation.  However, many states see this as a hypocritical policy that gives Israel undeserved credit.  A clearer more transparent approach to nuclear weapons would set a better example for states in the region.  The IAEA has been pressured to repeat the investigations it held in Iran in Israel.  The claims of hypocrisy resulted in a visit to Israel from Dr. Mohammed El-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, to dispel the world opinion that the IAEA  is too partial and too powerful.  Nevertheless, little dialogue is exhanged between the IAEA and Israel.

 

Nuclear Weapons Free Zone

The United Nations has always been an advocate of weapons free zones and the framework for a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (MENWFZ) has been on the discussion table for the last thirty years.  This would establish a network of regional agreements that would reduce Israel's threat perception and render the "last resort deterrent" as unnecessary.  Israel would then be free to sign the NPT.  To reach the MENWFZ, regional threats of war must be lessened.  UN reports show the "importance of negotiations to decrease the arsenal of tanks, missiles, and other offensive weapons in the region, as well as agreements to prevent possible surprise attacks in the prelude to a MENWFZ."[1]  These preliminary steps will pave the path for more ambitious developments in the region.

Conclusion

Israel is a unique nuclear power because its programs remain shrouded in secrecy.  It has not been requested to comply with international bodies in the same way that other countries have.  However, the move towards weapons free zones will require Israel to become more transparent about its nuclear program.  This may come naturally as a response to the threat presented by Iran.  The future establishment of Iran as a nuclear power will force Israel to take a more aggressive approach in its nuclear program rather than remain ambiguous.  Ambiguity cannot fight against the regional threat that is presented by a nuclear Iran.  Compliance with international bodies will help ensure non-proliferation and create a better way of monitoring Israel's nuclear program. 

 

Topic II: Strengthening the NPT

 

History of Treaty

 

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was signed July 1, 1968.  The document remains the foundation for one of the most successful multilateral arms control agreements in history.  The creation of this document started post-World War II.  The purpose of the treaty was to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.  The treaty entered into force in March 1970.

 

The Treaty

 

The NPT was established to address the concern of nuclear weapons created by Non-Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS).  In addition, curb the further creation of nuclear weapons by Nuclear Weapon States (NWS); the end goal being total nuclear disarmament.  A concern of NWS and NNWS was ensuring that the use of peaceful nuclear technology was not prevented.

 

The Treaty addressed three main types of nuclear material.  First, “nuclear weapons”, the treaty does not specifically define this term.  Although no definition is in the NPT, other international organizations and documents have defined nuclear weapons.  Second, “other nuclear explosive devices”, this term identifies nuclear explosives that could cause harm even if used for a peaceful purpose.  Because the manufacturing and components are the same as nuclear weapons, peaceful nuclear explosive devices are considered just has harmful as nuclear weapons.  Third, “nuclear material”, an example would be uranium or specialized equipment such as reactors for peaceful uses.  Transactions involving this type of material and equipment are not included in the general prohibition of non-proliferation only if subject to the safeguards of the IAEA.

 

The Treaty not having a definition of “nuclear weapons” the international community looks to other documents such as the: Treaty of Tlaeloco, which defines “nuclear weapons” as, “any device which is capable of releasing nuclear energy in an uncontrolled manner and which has a group of characteristics that are appropriate for warlike purposes…”  There may be a need for the NPT to define nuclear weapons; clear guidelines may allow Member States to understand more clearly what the States party to this treaty define nuclear weapons.

 

States Actions

 

It is important that the issues of State non-compliance, withdraw, and pursuit of nuclear energy while not complying with IAEA guidelines be addressed.  The lack of security being followed by States presents a threat to the entire international community.  Several States have illustrated the need for the treaty to address topics of non-compliance further, two States being India and Pakistan.  Both States have expressed that they will not ratify the Treaty because of the structure.  The two States interpret the treaty as dividing the international community into the nuclear “haves” versus the nuclear “have-nots.”  There concern is an idea that should be addressed.

 

Addressing the actions of North Korea, that actions by this State have caused not only regional concern but also international concern.  The withdrawal from the NPT, the expulsion of the IAEA inspectors, and the continued threats to explode nuclear devices to test its arsenal, is all cause for evaluation.  What measures can be created in the NPT to encourage States to comply with the guidelines set forth in the Treaty?

 

Main Findings

 

If States choose not to comply with the guidelines of the Treaty the danger of proliferation will increase substantially.  There is a possibility that if States continue to violate their agreement and pursue nuclear technology in a non-peaceful manner the NPT could eventually be obsolete, thus creating nuclear chaos.

 

To ensure the safety for the international community documents are needed to hold States accountable.  The NPT is one of the founding documents addressing global security.

 

Several issues place stress on the NPT and Member States.  The problems that must be addressed are: ensuring that the NWS are fulfilling their Treaty obligations; the lack of progress with implementing NWFZ in the Middle East; the concern with States withdrawing membership; the lack of NWS to provide negative security assurances; and the idea that NNWS must develop nuclear weapons to ensure security for themselves.

 

Conclusion

 

The NPT has continued to be a cornerstone in global security measures.  Many issues need to be addressed to further support the founding idea of global disarmament.  The idea the NWS continue to possess nuclear weapons; is against one of the founding principles of the document.  How should the IAEA and other international bodies respond with States with draw membership?  Does the implementation of NWFZ need to be articulated in the Treaty?  What incentives can be offered to States to comply with the Treaty?   Which measures can be implemented to strengthen the review process, considering the past times have not been successful?  Does the use of peaceful technology need to be incorporated into the document, if so how and in what way?  With the advancement of technology the time is now to strengthen this document.

 

Topic III: Regulation of Nuclear Waste Storage

 

The Call for Nuclear Energy

           

In the wake of the rising energy cost around the globe, the demand for alternative sources of energy seems stronger than ever before.  Developing countries around the world are searching for energy independence and see the expansion of nuclear energy as a means to that goal.  Furthermore, the threat of climate change has persuaded developed nations to begin to shift their dependence from high-emission sources of energy to cleaner alternatives such as nuclear energy.  Nuclear power is simply the energy produced by the process of nuclear fission by radioactive decay or within a nuclear reactor.  Nuclear power is quickly becoming an attractive source for energy for governments because of the vast amount of energy that can be generated from a small amount of uranium.  As the Earth’s population continues to grow, more energy will be needed to support the global ecosystem.  Finally, unlike fossil fuels which leave behind large levels of waste, nuclear energy yields a massive amount of power with only a small level of waste.

 

Concerns Against Nuclear Energy

 

            However, there are those who are hesitant to see a global shift to nuclear power.  They are not without reason.  Opponents see nuclear power as a dangerous type of energy.  Nuclear energy can be used against mankind as a weapon in the same manner the United States of America used against the Empire of Japan in 1945 to bomb the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Such power has the potential to wipe out entire cultures and contaminate the environment with radiation for decades.  An international reliance of nuclear energy may proliferate the use of more nuclear weapons.  Furthermore, even if states choose not to create new nuclear weapons, accidents can still happen.  In 1986 a nuclear reactor accident in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant of the Soviet Union caused a massive release of radiation into the environment.  Additionally, nuclear energy production bears a massive cost in financial resources.  Perhaps one of the greatest concerns of opponents of nuclear energy is the problem of nuclear waste.

 

The Problem of Nuclear Waste

 

            The central problem of nuclear waste is simply that no one is quite sure what to do with it.  Storage and disposal are the two most popular answers.  As the reliance of nuclear energy continues to grow, states must seriously consider the applications of the resulting waste.  Low –level radioactive waste can generally be stored above ground in high-security sites, however, the global community seems to agree that dispersing highly radioactive waste underground is a temporary solution to the problem, however, it does not solve the issue the larger issue: how exactly should the world deal with the long-time storage of radioactive waste?  In the wake of security concerns and in the interest of protecting human lives today, future generations, and the sustainability of the planet, the demand for international regulation is growing louder.  Using the aforementioned advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, the goal of this body will be to decide (1) if any regulation measures need to be taken, (2) if so, which regulation measures should be put into practice, and finally (3) how these measures, if any, should be implemented.

 

What is Nuclear Waste?

 

            Simply put, nuclear waste results from the use of nuclear materials (such as uranium) to produce electricity through nuclear fission.  The vast majority of nuclear waste is produced through the mining and milling of resources.  Waste classification and vocabulary tends to be unique to each nation.  Delegates will need to research how their nation state defines, measures, catalogues, and classifies nuclear waste.  Additionally, it would behoove delegates to explore the basic principles of nuclear energy and radioactive waste.

            Nuclear waste can come in many forms including gaseous (ventilation exhaust from facilities work with nuclear materials), liquid (spent fuel that has been reprocessed in research facilities), and solid (contaminated trash from a medical facility).  It can range of slightly radioactive to highly radioactive.

            The preferred method to managing radioactive waste is by concentration and containment of radionuclides as opposed to dilution and dispersion into the environment. However, as part of a waste management strategy, some nations release radioactive substances into the air, water, and soil as long the amount dispersed is minor and authorized by the government.

 

What are some of the potential dangers?

 

            Releasing nuclear waste into the air in small, easily soluble amounts, is a reasonably inexpensive method to disposing of nuclear waste.  However, it is also an unreasonably hazardous threat to human and ecological welfare. Over time residue from nuclear waste may eventually compile and create an undue burden on future generations.

 

            Furthermore, no nuclear facility is immune to human error.  Accidents such as the aforementioned Chernobyl or Three Mile Island (United States, 1979) incidents could happen anywhere and at anytime.  Finally, if the nuclear waste generated by the plant were to be left unprotected it could be stolen and used as a radiological weapon, also known as "dirty bomb" by terrorist organizations.  Moreover, terrorist would not need to steal the waste.  A well-executed strike at a nuclear waste storage or disposal facility would be catastrophic.

 

Types of Facilities

 

            Storing radioactive waste tends to be safe over time and can be reliably provide safety as long as active surveillance and maintenance is ensured. Such governance requires time and resources that may not be available to all countries.  In contrast, geological disposal promises long-term safety without surveillance and maintenance, however, disposal facilities may be more vulnerable to a terrorist strike.  Storage facilities tend be more expensive over time with a larger operating costs, however, disposal facilities tend have larger capital cost, but is cheaper over time.

 

Storage Facilities

            Depending on the characteristics, nuclear waste can be stored through different methods.  Typically spent fuel is stored underwater (the water acts as shield for the radiation) after use for three to five years and then transferred to a dry location.  Some types of waste are stored in non-corrosive containers and then secured in a concrete structure (the concrete acts as a radiation shield).  Inevitably, secured containers in storage facilities are susceptible to degradation and those materials must be transferred.  The longer nuclear waste remains stored, the more liable it is to degradation[i].

Disposal Facilities

            The major difference between storage and disposal is that there is no intention to ever retrieve disposed nuclear waste.  Wherever disposed waste is “stored,” it is intended to be permanent.  There is a general consensus that “geological disposal” is the best means of discarding nuclear waste.  Waste is isolated and contained in an area from civilians and then placed deep below in the ground.  On one hand, because nuclear waste is stored underground in unmarked areas, disposal facilities provide greater security against terrorists.  Furthermore, disposal sites are usually a reasonable distance away from civilian access.  However, because disposal facilities are far less supervised, they are still vulnerable to theft or attack[ii].

 

Relevant Documents

            The last document produced by the IAEA on the topic of nuclear waste is GC(51)/RES/11: “Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management[iii].”  The document calls upon nations to boost regulation matters and resources for regulatory bodies.  It also calls upon states to establish operation feedback programs in all nuclear installations and to share success and failures with the international community.  Additionally, the resolution encourages member states to strengthen development and implementation safety standards.  It also supports augmenting preparation and response capabilities to incidents, emergencies, and accidents.

 

            Another document of vital important to this agency is the IAEA’s “Principles of Waste Management.  The document “defines the objectives of radioactive waste management and the associated set of internationally agreed principles. These principles provide a common basis for the development of more detailed IAEA Safety Standards, Safety Guides and Safety Practices[iv].”

Who Has Access to Nuclear Energy?

 

            Today, only eight countries are known to have a nuclear weapons capability. By contrast, 56 operate civil research reactors, and 30 countries have some 435 commercial nuclear power reactors with a total installed.  Some 30 further power reactors are under construction while over 70 are firmly planned[v].

 

The Americas

            The United States is the world's largest supplier of commercial nuclear power, with more than 100 licensed commercial nuclear power plants.  These reactors generate about 20% of the country's national energy production[vi].  Furthermore, about 16% of Canada's electricity comes from nuclear power, using indigenous technology.  Nuclear energy contributes some $5 billion per year to the Canadian economy and provides 20,000 direct jobs  and many more indirect jobs.  The total nuclear electricity generated has a value of about C$ 3.7 billion per year and helps Canada minimize emissions from electric power generation[vii].

 

North Asia

            Mainland China has 11 nuclear power reactors, how they only  meet 1% of the country's energy demands. The government plans to increase nuclear power generation, with construction under way on five more reactors and about to begin on several others[viii].  Despite being the only country to have suffered the devastating effects of a nuclear strike, Japan has embraced the peaceful use of nuclear technology to provide a substantial portion of its electricity. Today, nuclear energy accounts for almost 30% of the country's total electricity production.  Japan needs to import some 80% of its energy requirements[ix].  Additionally, North Korea was a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state, but it delayed concluding its safeguards agreement with the IAEA and in April 2003 it withdrew from the NPT. In October 2006 it exploded a nuclear device underground.  In February 2007 the DPRK agreed to shut down and seal the Yongbyon reactor and related facilities including reprocessing plant within 60 days and accept IAEA monitoring of this, in return for assistance with its energy needs. North Korea has taken steps to disable their nuclear reactor; however, reports prove that those efforts have been suspended.  Further assistance would follow the irreversible disabling of the reactor and all other nuclear facilities[x].

 

South Asia

            Nuclear power supplied 2.5% of India's electricity in 2007 this will increase steadily as new plants come on line. India's fuel situation, with shortage of fossil fuels, is driving the nuclear investment for electricity, and 25% nuclear contribution is foreseen by 2050, from one hundred times the 2002 capacity[xi].  Because Pakistan is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, due to its weapons program, it is largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which hinders its development of civil nuclear energy[xii].

 

The Middle East

            A large nuclear power plant is nearing completion in Iran.  The country also has a major program developing uranium enrichment, and this was concealed from the international community for many years.  Despite high-profile and serious disagreements with IAEA over uranium enrichment, the IAEA continues full involvement with Iran on nuclear safety issues[xiii].  Israel has not confirmed that it has nuclear weapons and officially maintains that it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Yet the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is a "public secret" by now due to the declassification of large numbers of formerly highly classified US government documents which show that the United States by 1975 was convinced that Israel had nuclear weapons[xiv].

 

Africa

            A nuclear energy policy for South Africa confirmed in June 2008 addressed growing electricity demand and the country's 87% reliance on coal for this.  Building upon 24 years of experience with nuclear power it outlines an extensive program to develop all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, drawing on private investment.  South Africa has two nuclear reactors generating 6% of the country’s electricity[xv].

 

 

 

Eastern Europe

            Russia opened the world's first nuclear power plant in 1954. Industry expansion slowed down after the Chernobyl disaster. Nuclear power plants produced 6% of the energy consumed in 2005. The industry is now growing again, with the government aiming to produce more nuclear energy for export[xvi]Slovakia has five nuclear reactors generating half of its electricity and two more under construction.  Electricity consumption in Slovakia has been fairly steady since 1990 and generates about 57% of the country’s electricity[xvii].  Lithuania’s first commercial nuclear power reactor began operating in 1983.  Lithuania has one nuclear reactor generating almost 70% of its electricity. Plans for a new reactor involve neighboring countries such as Poland, Latvia, and Estonia[xviii].

 

Western Europe

            France has more than 50 nuclear power plants, which produce 79% of its electricity output. The nuclear fleet meets just under half of the nation's energy needs. France is a substantial exporter of nuclear electricity to other European countries. France's energy policy stems from its reaction to the oil crises of the 1970s, when the government decided to pursue nuclear power as a means of assuring its energy security[xix].  An estimated 12% of Germany's electricity consumption in 2006 came from nuclear power. However, Germany plans to shut down all its nuclear reactors by 2020. The government is investing in other energy sources, such as wind power, but there are concerns that the decision could propel the country into an energy crisis[xx].  The United Kingdom has 19 reactors generating one-fifth of its electricity and all but one of these will be retired by 2023.  New-generation plants are expected to be on line about 2017[xxi].

           

Some developing nations, such as Uganda, have natural uranium reserves and are looking to generate nuclear power in the next two decades.  Some developed nations, such as Australia for example, have decided not to pursue developing nuclear energy. Although not every nation has the same resources or leverage in the nuclear world stage, it is in each nation’s vital interest (whether nuclear-powered or not) to advocate for a world where nuclear energy is safe.  The threat of nuclear waste is a concern to every sovereign state.

 

The Mandate

            Since the middle of the twentieth century, nuclear energy has been used to generate electricity that has led to magnificent breakthroughs in research, medicine, and technology.  Despite some concerns and risks, it is safe to assume that nuclear energy is here to stay.  Furthermore, all signs indicate that nuclear energy will become more available in the next decade.  It is the duty of this body to ensure the protection of both human health and the environment.  Just a few vital questions and challenges are:

1)      Is nuclear waste a significant problem right now, in light of the other issues occurring world-wide?

2)      Who is ultimately responsible for cleaning the waste?  Should each country be responsible for the waste it produces?  Should the nations that produce greater amounts of nuclear energy have greater responsibility?

3)      What happens when another nation’s waste interferes with bordering nations?

4)      The best way to reduce nuclear waste is to minimize the amount generated in the first place.  Is there a way to limit the about waste produced?  Is there a safe and efficient means to recycle and reuse nuclear waste?

This body must encourage the peaceful use (or disuse) of nuclear energy while mitigating the threat of nuclear waste.  Regulation is needed; however, delegates must skillfully balance the security of the international community with the sovereignty of their respective states.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] www.freeman.org

 

[i] “Long Term Storage of Radioactive Waste: Safety & Sustainability”

[ii] “Long Term Storage of Radioactive Waste: Safety & Sustainability”

[iii] GC(51)/RES/11 “Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management.”[iii]< http://www.iaea.or.at/About/Policy/GC/GC51/GC51Resolutions/English/gc51res-11_en.pdf>

[iv] “Principles of Waste Management”

[v] “Nuclear Power in the World Today: WNA”

[vi] “Nuclear Power Around the World.”

 

[vii] “Nuclear Power in Canada.” < http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf49.html>

[viii] “Nuclear Power Around the World.”

 

[ix] “Nuclear Power in Japan”

[x] “Nuclear Power in North and South Korea.”

 

[xi] “Nuclear Energy in India.”

 

[xii] “Nuclear Power in Pakistan.”

 

[xiii] “Nuclear Energy in Iran”

[xiv] “Nuclear Weapons – Israel.”

[xv] “Nuclear Power in South Africa”

[xvi] “Nuclear Power Around the World.”

[xvii] “Nuclear Power in Slovakia.”

[xviii] “Nuclear Power in Lithuania.”

[xix] “Nuclear Power Around the World.”

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] “Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom”