ISANBUL he question o ura-nium enrichment lies at the core o the nuclear stando with Iran. heinternational community perceives theuranium enrichment activities carriedout by the ehran regime as a coverteort to obtain nuclear weapons.Iranian leaders view and deend theseactivities as perectly legitimate opera-tions allowed by international law. Asurkey strives to create a role or itsel in the settlement o this dispute, it isdoubtul urkish policy makers areaware o the real political opportunity this crisis has created or urkey.
Uranium enrichment and fuelsecurity
here are two main methods or ob-taining the enriched uranium necessary to operate nuclear power plants. heirst method involves the enrichmento uranium by the country itsel. hisoption requires physical inrastructurethat can gasiy and enrich naturally ound uranium to 3 percent. he costo this inrastructure is estimated at aew billion dollars. A nuclear powercapacity o 10,000-15,000 megawattsrepresents the threshold o economic viability or domestic uranium enrich-ment. hereore, the less expensivemethod o obtaining enriched uraniumis purchasing it rom the states thatlawully provide this issile material—United States, China, France, Japan,Pakistan, Russia—or rom the British-German-Dutch consortium URENCO.
The strained balance of the NPTregime
he Non-Prolieration reaty (NP)is the main international instrumentin the nuclear sphere. While the NPallows member countries to engagein uranium enrichment or civilianpurposesalbeit under the monitor-ing o the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)it also places a duty o nuclear disarmament on nuclearweapon states. he NP that enteredinto orce in 1970 rests on this delicatebalance o rights and responsibilities.he Iranian crisis has severely strainedthis delicate balance. he United States,under then-President George W. Bush,had even requested the suspension o Iran’s right to carry out enrichment as aresult o the deep mistrust generated by the country’s activities. Alternativeoptions or uranium enrichment arenow being brought to the ore. heobjective is to stop the diversion o
Nuclear Policy and Iran: An Opportunity forTurkey
by Sinan Ülgen*
Marh 22, 2010
Sinan Ülgen is the chairman o the Istanbul-based think tank EDAM (Center or Economics and Foreign Policy Studies). Theviews expressed here are those o the author and do not necessarily represent the views o the German Marshall Fund o theUnited States (GMF).
Summary: The question o uraniumenrichment lies at the core o thenuclear stando with Iran. As Tur-key strives to create a role or itsel in the settlement o this disputebetween Iran and the internationalcommunity, it is doubtul Turkishpolicymakers are aware o the realpolitical opportunity the crisis hascreated. Turkey, a country transitioning tonuclear power that neighbors acrisis-prone Iran and is locatedin a region where the switch tonuclear power is expected toaccelerate, needs to developa comprehensive nuclearstrategy. Such a policy changewould strengthen the country’scredentials as an indispensablepartner o the United States andthe European Union who, in theirrespective security strategies,have jointly identifed nuclearprolieration as a top securitychallenge.