16 September 2009Serbia will send its nuclear waste for reprocessing and disposal to Russia as part of a new agreement which will pave the way for economic and social development, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today. Serbia will send its nuclear waste for reprocessing and disposal to Russia as part of a new agreement which will pave the way for economic and social development, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today.The $25 million project – funded by Serbia and Russia, along with the Czech Republic, the United States, IAEA and the non-governmental organization (NGO) known as the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) – will send spent nuclear fuel back from the Vinca facilities, on the outskirts of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, back to Russia.Vinca was set up as a research centre in the former Yugoslavia in the 1950s, housing a civilian nuclear research reactor loaded with high-enriched uranium and also serving as a central radioactive waste collection centre for the country. Although it has been offline since 1984, radioactive waste from around the country continued to accumulate, with global concern mushroom in the wake of the nation’s break-up in the 1990s.IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said that the agency anxious over the state of the site, which he visited in July, from both the safety and security perspectives.Thanks to the new scheme spearheaded by the IAEA, “we got rid of the negative legacy and we are now opening a new chapter where we can work together to use nuclear energy in a very constructive way for economic and social development, in all areas from power generation to health, medicine and agriculture,” he said.The Serbian-Russian contract was signed during the IAEA’s 53rd General Conference in Vienna.In a message to the start of the annual gathering, Secretary-General Ki-moon noted that concerns stemming from the dangers of the proliferation of nuclear weapons underscore the importance of the safeguards system of the IAEA.Such worries also highlight the need for universal adherence to the additional protocol – a set of safeguards aimed at boosting the agency’s ability to ensure that a State does not have undeclared nuclear material – to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he stressed.

SerbiaRussia partnership on nuclear waste will hasten development UN says
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