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Uranium Institute: Nuclear lobby organisation

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
(April 9, 1999) The London-based Uranium Institute has decided to become the world's main nuclear lobby organization. Until now it represented the interests of the world's uranium producers. The UI is proud of its influence on results of the OSPAR Convention agreement; it claims it secured nuclear interests in the fifth's Framework Program of the EU and it also is very active in discussions on the climate-change issue.

(508.5000) WISE Amsterdam - When the Uranium Institute (UI) was funded in 1975, the UI occupied itself with problems around accusations of a uranium cartel and high uranium prices. After 1980, the price drop of uranium and market problems kept them busy. The new lobby strategy is dominated by globalization and the importance of international guidelines. Its new subtitle is now: "The International Association for Nuclear Energy". The new strategy is based on two types of activity -data collection and information circulation, and generation of arguments to influence international policy-making.

Until the UI took on its new role, there was in fact no nuclear industry group lobbying at international institutions. To realize its plans, the UI has sought and found the status of NGO at international bodies like the International Maritime Organization and the OSPAR Convention. In contrast to the early years of the UI, when nuclear programs were determined by national programs, energy and environmental policies are now discussed on an international level. Therefore, the UI wants to steer international decision making like the Kyoto agreement in a direction favorable to nuclear power. Their objective is clear: "revival and growth of nuclear power worldwide by 2010", said chairman Rougeau, who is also president of Foratom, a federation of European atomic fora. The UI will cooperate with other most national nuclear lobby organizations like the US Nuclear Energy Institute, the JAIF from Japan and the KAIF from South Korea. These groups formed the International Nuclear Forum that lobbied in Kyoto.

Successful lobbying
In the runup to the OSPAR Convention agreement, the UI claims it helped to produce a livable compromise for reprocessing industry on reduction of radioactive emissions into the North Atlantic to "close to zero". The preliminary version aimed for zero releases and contained no technical exceptions. Due to footwork by the UI before the meeting they say, the final agreement was so worded that it did not pose major problems for the French and British reprocessing industries, Cogema and BNFL: a close-to- zero reduction in 20 years with several exemptions (see WISE NC 495.4888 on more on OSPAR agreement).
A prime target of lobbying would be the European Union (EU), because several EU countries have cut their nuclear research and the European Commission is now managing the big spending. The UI has fought hard and with success, it claims, to keep nuclear fission and new reactors, like the high-temperature reactor and the Rubia accelarator system, as items in the EU's 5th Framework R&D Program. Lobbying in Europe was the job of Foratom, but given the size of the task, the much bigger UI now supports the small Foratom staff.

On the agenda of UI's 24th annual symposium this September, there is not a word about uranium or the fuel cycle. Instead the main themes will be: nuclear competitiveness, financing, CO2 emission trading and technology development. A new working group will explore the competitiveness of nuclear power. But another new panel will investigate the issue of "non- mine" uranium sources, which by now supply 45% of total uranium supply. Typical non-mine uranium sources: civil inventories, surplus defense materials, enrichment tails and recycled uranium plus plutonium. Both working groups will report by mid-2000. In the year 2000 the UI will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Source: Nuclear Fuel, 8 March 1999
Contact:Uranium Institute
12th Floor, Bowater House West
114 Knightsbridge
London SW1X 7LJ
Tel: +44-171-225 0303; +44-171-225 0308