AFRICA: Ready To Accede lo the np1
Afttr delaying someean. South Africa appears ready to accede to the yon-Proliferation Treatyossibly as early as this spring. The International Atomic EnergyAEA) trill face the unique problem of developing procedures to safeguard nuclear material in an ostensiblyapons country that probably has nuclear weaponsarge inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU).
Safeguards,nd Nuclear Weapons
Souih Africa has two uranium enrichmentilot planto-called sem(commercial one. both using an aerodynamic enrichment process. Pretoria's inventory of HEV was produced in the pilot plant, which was to shut down asebruary. |fjjjj|
Existing international safeguards are intended to verify ihai enrichment plants do not produce highly enriched uranium, and the IAEA has inspection procedures only for enrichment by the centrifuge process. The IAEA currently has no procedures for inspecting enrichment plants of the aerodynamic type operating in South Africa nor for plants that have produced HEU nor for HEU inventories. Before IAEA safeguards can be applied in South Africa, such inspection procedures would have to be developed and agreed to by the IAEA and Pretoria. I
The perception that bout
Africa joined the NPT whileuclear weapons capability could significantly damage the treaty's credibility.
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South Africa expects lhat ihe international community will enthusiastically welcome its accession to the MPT.ove may prompt other African NPT holdouts to join and would rid the IAEA of the contentious political issue of South African nonadherencc. which has led to the perennial calls for expelling Pretoria from the IAEA. South African NPT membership would also give advocates of theense of momentum for ihe fourth NPT review conference, set for later this year, flj
Pretoria's key motivations probably are to get access lo nuclear technology and io reduce its international isolation. South Africa does not yet have the infrastructureelf-sufficient nuclear power industry and apparently believes it will gain access to foreign nuclearspile of antiapartheidit acceded io ihe
South Africa does accede.the NPT review
conference with full rights and privileges. Pretoria isin discussing Article IV of the treaty, whichght io the "fullesi possible exchange ofand scientific and technological informationh
Africa has had technicaln Koeberg and its enrichment facilities at Valindaba. Pretoria may view accessioneans of getting help with these problems. Accession might also help President de KJerk's attempts to reduce South Africa's international diplomatic and political isolation and enhance its security in the region. |
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