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International panel drafting nuclear treaty to counter US proposal

[JURIST] The International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) [official website] is developing a global treaty banning the further production of nuclear materials such as weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. The IPFM, which is comprised of independent arms control experts from 15 countries, is working on a treaty and an analysis of the verification issues associated with the treaty that will rival a draft treaty already submitted by the United States. In May 2006, the US introduced [JURIST report] the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) [FAS backgrounder], presented [press release; prepared statement] by Stephen G. Rademaker [official profile], assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, at a meeting of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament [official website] in Geneva. IPFM member Frank von Hippel [official profile] noted at a meeting of the UN Disarmament Commission [official website] Wednesday that the IPFM treaty would provide for compliance verification while the US draft treaty does not include verification measures but allows each individual government to detect and report violations by other nations.

Rademaker urged the Conference on Disarmament to conclude a treaty by September since a pressing need exists for a new FMCT because of the developing nuclear programs in Korea and Iran [IAEA backgrounders]. Research scientist Zia Mian testified that while the five nuclear weapon nations have stopped producing enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons, they have also set aside large amounts of the materials for future military and civilian use. AP has more.

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