Burma reaffirms ‘peaceful’ nuclear programme

Any nuclear programme underway in Burma is “for peaceful developmental purposes” and not for military means, Burma’s delegate to the UN nuclear watchdog has stated.

Speaking at the annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assembly in Vienna yesterday, Tin Win said that evidence released by DVB in June of a nascent nuclear weapons programme was false.

“There have been unfounded allegations reported by international media…that Myanmar [Burma] is attempting to develop a nuclear weapon programme,” he told the assembly.

“We would like to reiterate that the applications of nuclear science and technology in Myanmar are only for peaceful developmental purposes and Myanmar will never engage in activities related to the production and proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

He added that the Burmese junta “firmly supports global nuclear weapons non-proliferation and a nuclear weapons-free world” and has “constantly contributed to regional peace and stability”.

A five-year investigation by DVB uncovered evidence that Burma was exploring nuclear technology that is “useful only for weapons”, according to a former director in the IAEA, Robert Kelley, who analysed the material, although the programme is at a primitive stage.

Following the airing of Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions on Al-Jazeera in June, the IAEA wrote to Tin Win questioning whether the reports were. The junta responded in the state-run New Light of Myanmar that allegations were “groundless and unfounded”.

An official at the IAEA told DVB today that it continued to keep a close eye on Burma. “Myanmar’s was one of 150 statements [given at the conference], but the statement doesn’t really prompt anything because of the sheer volume given. Plus from what I’ve seen in the statement there was nothing new.”

Burma is a member of both the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the 151-member IAEA.

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