New Swedish Initiative

The Swedish For­eign Minister Margot Wallström hosted on June 11 a meeting in Stockholm of high-level representatives (mostly foreign ministers) from 16 countries to elevate political attention to nuclear risks, and to inject new life into the nuclear disarmament commitments made by States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The participating governments include a mix of non-nuclear countries (Ar­gen­tina, Finland, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakh­stan, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland) and allied countries under extended nuclear deterrence policies (Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Re­public of Korea and Spain) making this a very credible and potentially effective group.

The ministerial meeting is part of a “Stepping Stones initiative” introduced by Sweden to the NPT Prep­aratory Committee meeting in May 2019.

“The situation in the world is critical, and the risk of nuclear arms use is greater than it has been for many years,” said Ms Wall­ström. ‘We are taking this initiative because we must make vigorous efforts for disarmament.”

This initiative could possibly bridge the divide between nuclear and non-nuclear States and build agreement at the 2020 NPT Review conference on a practical and substantive forward path to nuclear disarmament.

The specific disarmament measures being discussed as part of the initiative are outlined in a working paper entitled Un­locking disarmament diplomacy through a “stepping stone” approach, which Sweden sub­mitted to the 2019 NPT Preparatory Committee Meeting. The paper calls on nuclear armed and allied States at the 2020 NPT Review conference to agree to a number of measures including to:

  1. Strengthen the norm against nuclear weapons use, for example by affirming that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”;
  2. Prevent the outbreak of nuclear war by adopting sole-purpose and/or no-first use policies;
  3. Ratify all outstanding protocols to the regional nuclear-weapon-free-zones (NWFZs), and by doing so affirm that they would not threaten or use nuclear weapons against the states parties to NWFZs;
  4. Create a clear distinction between conventional and nuclear delivery systems, so as to avoid nuclear war by misunderstanding or missio33333 3reep;
  5. Increase the decision-making time for launching nulear weapons to avoid launches by mistake, and consider de-alerting all weapons and rescinding launch-on-warning policies.

For further background and analysis see “High-level meeting in Stockholm injects life into the NPT nuclear disarmament commitments” by PNND and Step­­ping Stones to Disarmament – Making Progress in a Pol­arised International Climate by Paul Ingram, British-American Security Infor­mation Council.

Source: Alyn Ware, Global Co­ordinator, Parlia­men­tar­ians for Nuclear Non­pro­liferation and Dis­arm­ament

Peace Work Recognized

Peace Magazine’s friend Mukti Suvedi was given a unique award for his peace work in Nepal by the president of that country in a special ceremony on May 19. The ceremony was witnessed by 4,000 people, including the president and prime minister, India’s state minister, and ambassadors from several countries. Congratulations, Mukti!

Cracks in Turkey’s Reactor

Turkey has signed an agreement with Russian state firm Rosatom to build four nuclear power plants, and the opening ceremony was held in April 2018. The first unit will be the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in southern Turkey. It was scheduled to go into service in 2023, and Rosatom laid the foundation right away. However, Turkey’s Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) discovered cracks in the concrete foundations and requested that all sections be excavated and re-done. The construction organization complied, but on the second time TAEK discovered cracks again and now TAEK seems indifferent.

Turkish environmental groups have opposed the move all along, doubting that it is necessary to build any nuclear power plant. According to energy specialists and activists, Turkey already has enough well-functioning conventional energy systems, such as wind and hydro plants.

This project raises another question: Is Rosatom capable of building these plants? They have not previously built one of that kind anywhere in the world.

Source: “Cracks discovered during construction of Turkey’s first nuclear plant” Ahval, May 6, 2019.

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2019

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2019, page 2. Some rights reserved.

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