Mark Hibbs Thinks Developing Countries Can’t be Trusted with Nuclear Power (Apparently)Posted: July 6, 2013
Am I the only one who thinks that this article by Mark Hibbs comes across quite condescending and paternalistic?
“Look at ’em – they can’t even control a fire! How can we trust them with nuclear power plants!?”
I think the lessons of Fukushima can be understood quite diferently to how Mark sees them. Along with the Fukushima accident in Japan, where have the other major nuclear accidents occured? That would be Three Mile Island in the U.S., and Chernobyl in the Soviet Union. All three powerful, advanced technological countries, with strong governments. And in each case, the responsible government has been criticized for the way in which it handled the aftermath of the accidents – the worst case of course being Chernobyl, followed by Fukushima. So it seems to me that the technologically advanced countries that have had nuclear power plants for years, have to be a bit careful in quite how high they sit on their proverbial high horses, looking down in disdain upon developing countries, and explaining to them how they’re just not ready to be trusted with nuclear technologies.
This is not to mention how very non – “Atoms for Peace” this view is, and how disharmonious it is with Article IV(2) of the NPT, which obligates supplier states to:
co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
While I’m writing, I might as well also quickly address Mark’s other recent piece over at Arms Control Wonk. This one is entitled Closing the Iran File, and contains Mark’s prescription for how Iran can normalize its relationship with the IAEA. I honestly don’t see much that is novel in this piece. It seems to just be saying that Iran should do everything the IAEA and UNSC says it should do, and that if they do, in time the IAEA may back off on its scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear program and normalize its safeguards relationship with Iran. The piece doesn’t seriously engage with any of Iran’s objections to the substance or process of IAEA/UNSC actions regarding it, or with Iran’s proposals for normalizing relations with the IAEA. It appears to offer no new insights into how the dispute between Iran and the West can practically be resolved.
It is of course all wrong in its fundamental assumption, upon which the entire piece is based, that the IAEA should be investigating “potential military dimensions” in Iran, or anywhere else for that matter. But I’ve made this point so many times before that I didn’t really see it as worth the time or effort to do so again in comments to this new piece.