March April 1998 Editorial
Pass the hat round !
What is a recent figure for German plutonium stocks?
Germany belongs to a group of nine countries which agreed in December
1997 to publish basic information on their plutonium policy according
to common "Guidelines for the Management of Plutonium". Therefore
it seemed an easy question. It seemed.
Dieter Hornschild, a top official from the German Foreign Office argued
in a letter dated 2 April 1998 that with the signature of the EURATOM
Treaty in 1958, Germany does not have its own State System of Accountancy
and Control and "therefore EURATOM transmits to the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna [data on] the plutonium stocks
and quantities as defined in the Plutonium Guidelines". Mr Hornschild
states: "I regret not being able to respond to your request and
suggest that you turn directly to EURATOM." That's what we did.
Wilhelm Gmelin, director of EURATOM Safeguards declared over the phone:
"We do not even process such information. We do not have the resources.
We can hardly carry out our legally required tasks. We are poor !".
Intolerable ! Picture EURATOM inspectors passing the hat round
outside the plutonium facilities which mobilize almost half of the EURATOM
control budget. By the way, German utilities spent about $US 4 billion
producing their current stockpile of plutonium, safeguarded by EURATOM.
You got a buck ?
The IAEA does not seem to be better off than EURATOM. A note on the
bottom of the IAEA communication on management of plutonium dated 16
March 1998 reads: "For reasons of economy, this document has been
printed in a limited number".
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