Wednesday, January 20, 2021

US Suspects Pakistan Of Black-Marketing Nuclear Assets; Suspends Pact: Reports

Pakistan’s controversial history of nuclear proliferation is one of the prime reason the US has now suspended the export of nuclear byproducts under a blanket general licensing system to the Islamic Republic. 

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The decision by the Trump administration comes after several government agencies and private contractors were blacklisted. Washington has been apprehensive that the nuclear weapons might reach terror groups in Pakistan as violence in the country grows exponentially as per reports.

The nuclear black market is flourishing after Nuclear Scientist — AQ Khan stole technology to build Pakistan’s nuclear bomb and then passed it on to other countries like Iran, Libya etc. Another reason for the concern is the rise of nuclear black markets in Iran, Libya and North Korea.

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The decision was announced in the government journal called the Federal Register on Wednesday. It stated that the new rules do not prohibit the export of these nuclear materials, but make it obligatory for exporters to seek the government’s approval every time and for every specific consignment.

The nuclear byproducts constitute Radionuclides which are radioactive elements used widely in medicines and irradiation of food.  But due to Pakistan’s questionable nature, the export license was cancelled as per reports.

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“The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an order to suspend the general license authority under NRC regulations for exports of byproduct material to Pakistan,” stated the announcement in the register.

Although the reason for the suspension was said to be “necessary to enhance the common defence and security of the US and is consistent with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act”, Pakistan’s questionable proliferation record can be the main reason.

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The announcement came after US President Donald Trump and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan had a tele-conversation about the coronavirus pandemic.  Joshua White, a former top White House official said, “We can’t be certain what prompted this move by the NRC. It may have been undertaken in response to a series of technical violations or regulatory oversights, or it may be in response to broader US concerns related to Pakistan’s nuclear programs or non-proliferation commitments.”

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