U.S. Statement at NPT PrepCom in Cluster 3: Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Statement by the United States in Cluster 3: Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Statement by Mr. Min Chang
Deputy Counselor for International Atomic Energy Agency Affairs
United States Mission to International Organizations in Vienna

Geneva, May 1, 2018

Mr. Chairperson,

As we approach the NPT’s 50thanniversary, the United States reaffirms its commitment to promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with Article IV of the Treaty and in support of the development goals of NPT Parties.  For nearly 65 years, the United States has helped the international community pursue the development and widely share the benefits of nuclear energy, science, and technology.  This is made possible in large part by the confidence the NPT and the broader nonproliferation regime provide that such sharing and cooperation can occur in ways that preserve the profound security benefits provided to all by assurances that such knowledge will not be used for ill.  Unfortunately, the widespread benefits of peaceful nuclear energy and technology, the sharing of which has been a profound success of the NPT regime, are too often taken for granted in meetings like this.  The United States looks forward to deepened and sustained dialogue in this review cycle on how best to affirm, sustain, and enlarge these benefits for all NPT Parties.

Mr. Chairperson,

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the focal point for much of the engagement between States Party on peaceful uses.  The United States is pleased to be the single largest contributor to IAEA technical cooperation activities.  Since 2010 alone, we have provided voluntary contributions totaling more than $320 million to promote peaceful nuclear activities through the Agency.  The United States has also provided significant in-kind contributions through training and direct technical assistance to the IAEA and its Member States.  For example, we have helped fund capacity building to address urgent needs, such as meeting the Ebola and Zika crises, improving access to cancer therapy, fighting transboundary animal diseases and water shortages, and ensuring food safety and quality.  We have helped rebuild the infrastructure for this assistance by funding the Agency’s “ReNuAL” project for the Renovation of Nuclear Applications Laboratories at Seibersdorf, and we are well on the way to fulfilling our $50 million pledge to the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) for 2015 to 2020.  We also greatly commend the significant contributions of other donors and urge all who are in a position to do so to support states that are in compliance with the NPT and nuclear safeguards in responsibly using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Mr. Chairperson,

The United States has long been among the world’s strongest proponents of bilateral and multilateral civilian nuclear cooperation.  We have 23 agreements for peaceful nuclear cooperation in force with 50 partners that allow for the export of U.S. nuclear material, equipment, and technology to a broad variety of destinations.  The United States, in partnership with the world’s leading suppliers of nuclear goods and technology, supports and commits to high nonproliferation standards in the export of these items.  Exercising responsible supply policy through the application of export controls – and the insistence upon high nuclear safeguards standards in nuclear cooperation agreements, including the IAEA Additional Protocol – facilitates legitimate trade and gives confidence that items and technologies transferred will be used as intended in peaceful applications as envisioned in Article IV. The United States remains a leading proponent of various fuel assurance mechanisms, and since 2014 has operated a fuel supply available to U.S. cooperation partners in the event of an unforeseen disruption to the market.  Private sector U.S. nuclear suppliers are making greater efforts than ever before to enter emerging markets and share U.S. nuclear technology.  The U.S. Government, in turn, is providing increasing political and economic support to current and next-generation nuclear technologies, help in preparing to comply with applicable safeguards rules, and regulatory development assistance to ensure responsible oversight of materials and technologies for countries that need such aid.

Ultimately, the highest guarantee of the benefits promised under Article IV is a diverse and stable international market for the supply of nuclear technology, goods, and materials.  That diversity is put at risk – and the entire nuclear cooperation enterprise endangered – when the nonproliferation principles that underwrite Article IV are compromised and subverted by irresponsible suppliers.  It is incumbent upon suppliers to expand access and assistance to nuclear newcomers and maintain high standards of integrity to ensure that states embarking on nuclear power programs have the tools and expertise necessary to operate a program safely, securely, and consistent with nonproliferation standards.  In turn, it is incumbent upon newcomer states to make use of the assistance available in order to ensure that the Article IV guarantee, based on a strong nonproliferation foundation, remains viable and credible.

Mr. Chairperson,

The United States echoes the longstanding and well-founded view that nuclear safety is paramount, and that the widespread adoption of high nuclear safety standards is an essential factor in ensuring continued access to peaceful nuclear technology.  Since 2011, the international community has recommitted itself to the vital goals of nuclear safety, and the IAEA has played a leading role in that regard.  The IAEA’s efforts continue to focus worldwide attention and resources on improving safety standards worldwide, and the United States is proud to be a major contributor to these efforts.  The United States also provides bilateral nuclear safety assistance to scores of states on a variety of issues.  Indeed, we are already planning for participation in the 2020 Convention on Nuclear Safety Review Meeting, and we are continuing our efforts to enhance the global nuclear liability regime through our promotional activities for the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. The United States is fully committed to continue to lead global efforts to support universal implementation of robust nuclear safety standards worldwide.

The United States is also among the world’s strongest supporters of global efforts to enhance the security of nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities. We believe in the fundamental principle that meeting rigorous security objectives facilitatesstates’ access to peaceful uses of nuclear technology, rather than impeding it.  Accordingly, the United States has contributed more than $150 million dollars to the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund since 2002, to support the IAEA’s role in helping states ensure adequate security for their nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities.  The United States also provides extensive support in helping the IAEA develop consensus guidance on all aspects of nuclear security.  Additionally, we offer millions of dollars annually, from a number of different U.S. Government agencies, to international partners on a range of nuclear security-related activities.  The extent of our assistance in this area demonstrates our strong, ongoing commitment to promoting nuclear security and to the principles contained in Article IV.

Mr. Chairperson,

By promoting high standards of nuclear safety and security, alongside rigorous and effective nonproliferation measures, helping states meet their obligations, and facilitating the exchange of best practices in both regards, the United States seeks to promote the fullest possible exchange of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes called for in the NPT.  States that uphold their nonproliferation commitments should know that they have a strong partner in the United States toward that end.

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

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