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Carnegie endowment as PR-firm for nuclear industry

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
WISE Amsterdam

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace turns out to be nothing more than a PR-machine for the global nuclear industry. In what they call 'unprecedented Principles of Conduct' a voluntary, non-legally binding set of rules has been articulated, meanwhile adopted by nine companies based in Canada, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

The Carnegie Endowment began this initiative in early 2008 by contacting each company that it knew to be exporting nuclear power plants at the time. The list was expanded subsequently in response to market developments. If, in the future, additional companies seek to export nuclear power plants, they "will be invited to subscribe to the Principles and participate in their future review and implementation."

The 'Principles of Conduct' was announced on September 14 as follows: "Please join the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in-person or by phone for the announcement of an unprecedented initiative in the nuclear power industry." Well, we don't receive an invitation like that every week, so we couldn't wait.

"No such voluntary, comprehensive, export-oriented code of conduct has previously existed in the nuclear industry", according to the Carnegie Endowments on September 15.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to "advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States". Founded in 1910, its work is nonpartisan and dedicated to "achieving practical results". The Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program is "an internationally acclaimed source of expertise and policy thinking on nuclear industry, nonproliferation, security, and disarmament."

The first line of the Preambule of the Principles explains a lot: "Considering that responsible use of nuclear power plant technology is vital to help meet global energy requirements and address climate change in a sustainable manner."

And the last lines read: "These Principles are voluntary, create no legal duty, and are not legally binding, but nevertheless reflect the genuine aspiration of the participants to apply these principles and make a good faith effort to achieve these goals."

But what are those goals? Well, it is stated in the Preambule too: "Committing to export strictly in compliance with Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines and with the laws and policies of Vendor and Customer States".

So there it is: a voluntary, non-legal binding set of principles to follow the "laws and policies" of states and "strictly" in compliance with international guidelines.

So, whats to be excited about?

One more quote: "This initiative is unique in the history of the nuclear industry, helping to enhance confidence in the commercial nuclear power plant sector," said Jessica T.

Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "While

recognizing the preeminent regulatory role of governments, these companies are

reaffirming their own vigilance as responsible stewards of nuclear technology."

Or could this be more than just a PR-thing? Is this the beginning of a movement away from international treaties and State laws, and a first step towards the direction of 'self-regulation' by the nuclear industry.

Sources: Press releases Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 14 & 15 September 2011 / Website