In mid-March 2007, the Russian Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) and the IAEA conducted a workshop in Angarsk, where the issues above were discussed and follow-on action plans for both sides were coordinated. They agreed to establish a joint working group, which has already convened several times. The working group is tasked with developing common approaches for IAEA participation in the IUEC and/or LEU reserve operations, and for IUEC involvement in IAEA assurances of supply mechanisms.
Global perspectives on the expanded use of nuclear energy raise concerns about the security of the nuclear fuel supply and increased risks of the proliferation of sensitive nuclear technologies. In recent years, there have been various initiatives put forward by governments and other stakeholders to address this issue. They are largely complementary and may provide valuable input to the development of a new framework for utilization of nuclear energy.
Assurance of supply may become a rare type of insurance, where the insurer (supplier states) pays the premium in the expectation of receiving something from the insured in return (refraining from sensitive activities). It is becoming increasingly clear that no foregoing of rights to develop/use civil nuclear technologies (mandatory and forever) can be acceptable for potential consumer states. Only voluntary options are viable, and only for as long as the consumer states wish to be members of an assured supply mechanism. The mechanism shall guarantee that there are no retaliations (penalties) on those countries, which may choose to refrain from joining the mechanism. Assured supply and non-proliferation objectives can be achieved by a clear demonstration of the benefits (economic, political and others) of being a part of the international assurances of supply mechanism and by peer pressure from the member countries.
The International Uranium Enrichment Centre in Angarsk is the first step in implementing the Russian President’s initiative of January 2006, and is believed to be a promising approach to addressing concerns related to the globalization of nuclear power, assurances of supply of NFC products and services, and the risks of nuclear proliferation.