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U.S. Statement-11th Preparatory Commission of the Parties to the NPT
As Delivered by Ambassador Bruce Turner
August 3, 2023

Statement by the United States 

Cluster I 

The 11th Preparatory Commission of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) 

Statement by Ambassador Bruce Turner 

Vienna, Austria 


Today, more than at any other time since the Cold War, we are reminded of the NPT’s enduring contribution to peace and stability. 

Last year, President Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the NPT and to continue working toward the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons. 

The United States stands by our obligation under the NPT to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures on nuclear disarmament – in bilateral treaties, through multilateral fora, and actions to advance NPT disarmament goals. 

It is a commitment based on our national security interests and our understanding of the humanitarian impacts of the use of nuclear weapons. 

Our national report to the 2022 Review Conference, like those we submitted in 2010 and 2015, lays out in detail many of the actions we’ve taken to implement our disarmament obligations. To name just a few: 

We have reduced the number of nuclear weapons in our stockpile by over 88% and, while fully cognizant of the current security environment, continue to seek opportunities to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national defense strategy. 

We maintain a moratorium on the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and continue to press for negotiation of an FMCT in the Conference on Disarmament, urgently needed to forestall a return to an era of nuclear arms racing. 

With respect to existing fissile material, we have made public historical U.S. production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, and we have declared hundreds of tons of such material excess, in many cases with IAEA verification of its storage and disposition. 

To help provide confidence that fissile material in civil use is not diverted to weapons, we make all our civilian nuclear facilities available for IAEA safeguards and we report annually to the IAEA our civil plutonium holdings; we are also looking at taking steps to report our civil holdings of highly-enriched uranium. 

As stated in our Nuclear Posture Review, we also provide negative security assurances to all NPT non-nuclear-weapon states that are in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations. Further, we have repeatedly reaffirmed that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at any other state. 

The United States is the largest single supporter of the CTBTO PrepCom’s International Monitoring System, and we maintain a zero-yield moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. 

We played a key role in establishing the Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament initiative and the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, both of which bring together diverse groups of countries to help define political and technical challenges to nuclear disarmament and work to overcome them. 

As stated last week in the Working Group and our working paper on the subject, and in last year’s draft Final Document, we remain ready to allocate dedicated time in the review cycle for this discussion of national reports. 

In short, the United States matches its words with its actions. Unfortunately, not all Nuclear Weapons States can say the same. 

Mr. Chair, 

It is not the United States that has attacked a neighboring country without provocation. It is not the United States that has undermined a half century of progress on bilateral arms control, engaged in irresponsible and dangerous nuclear rhetoric, endangered civilian nuclear energy facilities, or moved nuclear weapons closer to others’ borders. 

It is also not the United States that is actively engaging in one of the largest peacetime nuclear build-ups in history, with minimal transparency into those activities. 

Nor is it the United States that has declined to report on its civil plutonium holdings since 2017 and is building out its capacity to produce fissile material using advanced nuclear reactors that remain outside of IAEA safeguards. 

Mr. Chair, 

All this notwithstanding, our National Security Advisor has made clear that the United States is ready to engage in bilateral arms control discussions with Russia and with the PRC, without preconditions. 

In parallel, the five nuclear weapons states must continue to engage in multilateral arms control and risk reduction efforts; they have an urgent responsibility to work together to prevent nuclear war and avoid arms races. As the P5 Chair, the United States has held multiple expert level meetings in 2023 to that end. 

Mr. Chair,

There is much to be done. 

It is time for Russia to return to compliance with New START and engage with us to manage nuclear risks and discuss a post-2026 nuclear arms control framework. 

It is time for the PRC substantively to engage with us on strategic nuclear issues in order to avoid risks of miscalculation and miscommunication. 

It is time for negotiating an FMCT. We should take all possible steps in the CD to initiate negotiations on this crucial next step to prevent future nuclear arms races. 

Pending that negotiation, it is time for all states to declare moratoria on the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices and to provide transparency into their civil production of weapons usable material. 

And pending the entry into force of the CTBT, we must provide the resources needed for long-term sustainability of the CTBT verification system and declare and maintain zero-yield moratoria on nuclear explosive testing. 

Mr. Chair and my colleagues, despite the serious challenges we face, the opportunities for progress are real. Through persistent, pragmatic, and progressive actions, the United States continues to believe that, together, we can achieve results that bring us closer to building a world free of nuclear weapons. 

I thank you. 


For more information on U.S. participation in the 2023 NPT Preparatory Committee, please go to 2023 NPT Preparatory Committee – United States Department of State.