Via Steve LeVine, it seems Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev is continuing his years-long push for a global “bank” for uranium. The idea behind the bank is simple: a consortium of uranium-producing countries (and maybe other stakeholder countries, such as uranium-poor-but-nuclear-armed-and-powered France) create a stable, registered, and tracked reserve whereby non-nuclear countries can purchase uranium for power generation.
This still isn’t especially big news: Nazarbayev has been proposing this for a good two years now (maybe longer). What is big news now, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that President Obama is considering this a big deal. It would make for a dramatic departure from the heady days of 2007, when Americans freaked out over a Kazakh bid to purchase a share of the U.S. company Westinghouse, which produces nuclear power plants.
Where Obama intends to go with this proposal remains to be seen—it languished under President Bush. But given the tone of this Reuters dispatch, which hints that Obama might see such a uranium bank as a way to give Iran nuclear power while denying it nuclear weapons, there is an outside chance there is more sophisticated diplomatic maneuvering behind the scenes. Then again, since the idea first saw the light of day there has been rampant speculation that the uranium bank was designed to defuse the Iran standoff. At the moment, things are far too preliminary to make an informed guess where they’ll head—it could easily go either way.
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