In his April 5 disarmament speech in Prague, President Barack Obama endorsed constructing "a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation."
An international uranium fuel bank seeks to address one of the fundamental problems with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) -- namely, that it allows countries to acquire sensitive nuclear technologies that they can then rapidly convert from civilian to military use. According to the most common interpretation of the treaty, states can develop extensive uranium-enrichment and plutonium-reprocessing capabilities while a member in good standing with the NPT, then legitimately withdraw from the treaty simply by giving 90-days' notice as specified in Article 10 of the treaty. They can then use these technologies to make nuclear weapons.
To address this problem, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), several of its member governments, and certain nonproliferation groups have offered various proposals to bring the most proliferation-prone elements of the nuclear fuel cycle -- especially uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing -- under greater multilateral control.