Article ID: CBB419739482

Three tons of uranium from the International Atomic Energy Agency: Diplomacy over nuclear fuel for the Japan Research Reactor-3 at the Board of Governors’ meetings, 1958–1959 (2021)


Kenji Ito (Author)

History and Technology
Volume: 37
Issue: 1
Pages: 67-89

Publication Date: 2021
Edition Details: Special Issue: Nuclear Diplomacies
Language: English

This paper combines renewed attention to science diplomacy with the rising interest in material and ontological aspects of science studies. It examines nuclear diplomacy by reviewing negotiations over three tons of natural uranium that the Japanese government requested from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1958. The uranium was half the amount required for the Japan Research Reactor-3, which reached criticality in 1962 and became Japan’s first domestically developed nuclear reactor. Japan’s request provided an opportunity to reaffirm the IAEA’s raison d’être and set in motion the process of establishing a safeguarding system against the military use of atomic energy. The IAEA Board of Governors deliberated on the issue from October 1958 to April 1959. Although Japan’s request was generally welcomed, it sparked confrontations between countries that accepted IAEA safeguards and those against them. By analysing the IAEA Board’s official records, this paper shows how the negotiations transformed the uranium into a ‘diplomatic object’.

Associated with

Article Kenji Ito; Maria Rentetzi (2021) The co-production of nuclear science and diplomacy: Towards a transnational understanding of nuclear things. History and Technology (pp. 4-20). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Rentetzi, Maria
Fujigaki, Yuko
Gabriella Ivacs
Alexandros-Andreas Kyrtsis
Mitchell, Mary X.
Kenji Ito
History and Technology
Environmental History
Journal of the History of Biology
Business and Economic History On-Line
British Journal for the History of Science
Palgrave Macmillan
Johns Hopkins University Press
Nuclear power; atomic energy
Nuclear reactors
Foreign relations; diplomacy
Disasters; catastrophes
Nuclear industry
Environmental pollution
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
United States
Latin America
Pennsylvania (U.S.)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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