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The UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament gave a UK statement in the Cluster 3 session of the 10th NPT Review Conference.
Madam Chair, congratulations on your election to this important function. You can be assured of my delegation’s full support and cooperation.
Access to the peaceful use of nuclear technology is a vital part of the NPT. The United Kingdom reaffirms this inalienable right and we are proud of our role in supporting the safe, secure, and safeguarded use of peaceful nuclear technologies around the world.
At the centre of this effort is the International Atomic Energy Agency’s work to research, develop and transfer peaceful nuclear technologies to its member states, which the UK strongly supports. We have contributed over £25 million to Technical Cooperation since the last Review Conference, including through the Peaceful Uses Initiative.
We have also provided extrabudgetary contributions to projects such as the Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship Programme – which aligns with our commitment to ensuring that women make up 40% of the UK nuclear workforce by 2030 – as well as to efforts to renovate the IAEA’s climate laboratories, to support the global effort on COVID19, and to tackle the scourge of marine plastics. Peaceful nuclear technologies demonstrate the day-to-day impact the NPT has and play a role in tackling global challenges, like the pursuit of the SDGs and the fight against climate change.
Yet, some States Party are still unable to reap the benefits of nuclear technologies. Many people around the world still cannot access lifesaving radiotherapy or safe or sustainable food, and are at risk from preventable diseases. Many actors – including development agencies – do not realise that nuclear technologies can be part of the solution to these issues.
To address this problem, the UK is proud to be part of a group of States Parties who have come together to initiate a new Sustained Dialogue on Peaceful Uses, set out in working paper number 46. We believe that States Parties can break new ground by working together to:
We believe that this new effort has the potential to make a real difference in the deployment and use of peaceful nuclear technologies for those that need them most. We continue to welcome support from States Parties for the Sustained Dialogue at this Review Conference and beyond.
Madam Chair, for the UK, the vital role of nuclear technology includes nuclear power generation. While we recognise that not all countries wish to pursue nuclear power, this technology remains an important tool in the fight against climate change and is firmly part of the UK’s strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and to improve our energy security. Other countries should have that choice, including the choice to pursue and deploy advanced nuclear technologies.
Whatever the application, however, it is essential that public confidence in the safety and security of nuclear technologies is maintained. That is why the United Kingdom continues to support robust nuclear safety and security standards and guidelines that support the use of nuclear technology. The UK is a Contracting Party to relevant international nuclear safety instruments such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, in addition to the Paris Convention on nuclear third party liability and the Brussels Supplementary Convention. The UK has also ratified the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amendment. We call upon all States Parties to ratify, implement and uphold the safety and security conventions that enable peaceful uses, so that future generations can continue to reap their benefits.
Madam Chair, unfortunately, the actions of one State Party, the Russian Federation, have demonstrated a blatant disregard for nuclear safety and security. Russia’s illegal, unjustified and brutal invasion of Ukraine has undermined public confidence in nuclear technologies and has put at risk millions of lives that would be affected by a nuclear incident in Ukraine.
Russia’s reckless actions – including its attack on a fuelled and functioning nuclear power plant – are unprecedented in the history of nuclear power. Its decision to take control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility and install ROSATOM officials there is contrary to fundamental principles of nuclear safety and security.
IAEA Director General Grossi has stated that the Russian Federation’s actions have violated almost all of his 7 pillars of nuclear safety and security. We call upon all States Parties to recognise the importance of these principles of nuclear safety and security and urge the Russian Federation to cease all use of force against, and in the vicinity of, Ukrainian nuclear facilities.
Madam Chair, we find ourselves in challenging times, but the NPT continues to be a vital part of the non-proliferation architecture; supporting the use of peaceful nuclear technologies and the benefits they provide has never been so important. We want to create an impetus for concrete action under this pillar and ask States Parties for their support to continue a Sustained Dialogue for Peaceful Uses to improve and expand peaceful uses assistance.
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