Remarks by Timothy Liston, Deputy Counselor, United States Mission to International Organizations, Vienna
Third Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference
United Nations, New York City
The United States welcomes this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy as called for under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower outlined a strategic vision for the world in his Atoms for Peace speech before the UN General Assembly. The United States has since been a leader in international civil nuclear cooperation and in facilitating access worldwide to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with the highest standards of safety, security, and nonproliferation.
We applaud the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and many of its Member States for their leadership and support in efforts to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We take particular note of the IAEA’s continued efforts to diligently carry out its safeguards mandate. Today, as the result of our collective efforts, the world is indeed realizing the peaceful promise of the atom.
That said, much remains to be accomplished. Today’s increasing global population and demand for energy mean that far too many people around the world lack access to affordable and reliable energy supplies. For states that choose to pursue it, nuclear power can help to provide that access. Peaceful nuclear applications in health, agriculture, industry, and resource management can also play a critical role in facilitating sustainable global development.
The United States fully supports the right of all Parties to the NPT to use nuclear energy and nuclear applications for peaceful purposes, in conformity with their nonproliferation obligations. Now more than ever, the United States actively lends support to NPT Parties that are in compliance with their NPT obligations to help them develop the infrastructure needed for safe, secure, and safeguarded nuclear power programs and other peaceful nuclear applications. This support includes promoting international cooperation that enables nuclear supplier states to have the confidence that the assistance they provide will be used solely for peaceful purposes. For the next few minutes, I would like to highlight some specific examples of our contributions to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The United States is pleased to be the single largest contributor to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF) and IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI).
Since 2010, the United States has provided more than $85 million to the Technical Cooperation Fund, or approximately 25 percent of the TCF’s annual funding. We commend the positive humanitarian impact that IAEA Technical Cooperation projects are making throughout the world in fields that include nuclear medicine, agriculture and food security, isotope hydrology, and nuclear energy. We also commend the TC program’s unique support to newcomer countries pursuing nuclear energy and to international development more broadly.
In addition to these TCF contributions, the United States announced support of $50 million over five years towards the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative, and we are on track to provide this amount before the 2015 NPT Review Conference. We are pleased that 17 other countries and the European Commission have pledged an additional roughly $26 million to the Initiative. The PUI has already benefited more than 120 NPT Parties and given the IAEA greater flexibility and resources for high priority IAEA Member State projects, including responding quickly to unforeseen challenges. These projects support areas such as human health, water resource management, food security, protection of the environment, and nuclear power infrastructure development. On the occasion of this NPT Preparatory Committee meeting, the United States wishes to reiterate its full support for the PUI, express its appreciation to the other PUI donors for their generosity, and applaud the IAEA for its strong commitment to, and effective and efficient leadership of, the PUI. We urge all states that are in a position to do so to make PUI contributions toward specific PUI-supported projects, either individually or partnering with others.
The United States is also pleased to have a long history of civil nuclear cooperation with other states, working generously to support emerging and existing nuclear power programs through a variety of bilateral and multilateral cooperative mechanisms. Let me highlight a few.
The framework for our civil nuclear cooperation dates as far back as the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954. We now have formal cooperation agreements, or “123 Agreements,” with 48 countries (including the 28 nations of EURATOM), the IAEA, and the authorities on Taiwan. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have technical cooperation arrangements with over 50 countries. We are delighted that many states with thriving nuclear power programs today benefited in some way from U.S. civil nuclear cooperation arrangements. However, the scope of our peaceful uses cooperation does not stop there.
The United States has been a major supporter of international efforts to ensure that newcomer countries and others receive the necessary nuclear safety guidance and support. For example, we have contributed over $20 million in extrabudgetary funding to the IAEA for nuclear safety projects in the last decade, and have played a significant role in the development and implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. We have actively supported the 2nd Extraordinary Meeting and the 6th Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, which is a vital instrument of international nuclear safety. We have also actively supported a variety of multilateral nuclear safety organizations, including the Asian Nuclear Safety Network, the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network, and the International Framework on Nuclear Energy Cooperation. Moreover, the United States funds bilateral efforts that promote nuclear safety, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s International Regulatory Development Partnership.
The United States has also been a major supporter of international efforts to ensure that states have access to a reliable nuclear fuel supply. For example, we have been strong proponents of the establishment of the IAEA’s low-enriched uranium (LEU) bank, and the Russian and United Kingdom fuel assurance mechanisms for IAEA Member States. Additionally, the United States announced the availability of approximately 230 metric tons of LEU from the American Assured Fuel Supply (AAFS), which resulted from the downblending of 17.4 metric tons of U.S. surplus highly enriched uranium (HEU). The AAFS – the largest LEU fuel bank in the world – will serve as a backup fuel supply in the event of a fuel supply disruption. These proactive approaches to the fuel cycle advance efforts to fully implement Article IV of the NPT by enabling countries to rely on the global market for nuclear fuel without increasing proliferation risks.
The three pillars of the NPT – disarmament, nonproliferation, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy – are mutually reinforcing and progress in all three is needed to keep the Treaty strong. I appreciate this opportunity to focus on some of the ways in which the United States demonstrates its commitment to the peaceful uses pillar. States that uphold their nonproliferation commitments should know that they have a partner in the United States in pursuing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and their benefits.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.