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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

2. The EU reaffirms its support for the inalienable right of all Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I, II and III of the Treaty. The European Union is strongly committed to the objectives of Article IV. Through multilateral and bilateral cooperation programmes, the EU supports many peaceful and beneficial applications of nuclear technology, in particular in developing countries.

3. The EU notes that a growing number of States Parties to the NPT shows interest in developing civil nuclear programmes aimed at addressing their long-term energy requirements and other peaceful purposes. The EU recognizes the clear necessity for the 2010 Review Conference to address this issue. Conscious of its obligations under Article IV of the Treaty, the EU will work towards promoting a responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy within its framework ensuring that sensitive technologies and goods are not disseminated for purposes other than peaceful uses. International co-operation based on a responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy indeed furthers implementation of the NPT and enhances the legitimacy of the global non-proliferation regime.

4. To that end, we call on the international community to work to promote the following action plan with a view to ensuring a responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in support of a successful NPT Review Conference in 2010:

    a. Assisting countries to plan and assess their various energy needs;

    b. Assuring a responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions;

    c. Actively supporting efforts to further develop multilateral schemes which may offer a credible alternative to the development of national enrichment and reprocessing capabilities;

    d. Promoting the most stringent non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security standards and practices by assisting willing partners to set up the right regulatory, administrative and human environments ;

    e. Encouraging countries, which have not done so, to join all relevant major nuclear conventions, in particular in the fields of nuclear safety, physical protection and civil nuclear liability;

    f. Promoting responsible management of spent fuel and nuclear waste, and assisting countries to plan waste management solutions, including regionally;

    g. Assisting countries to set up or to reinforce robust export control systems;

    h. Supporting IAEA assistance programs and IAEA nuclear security fund with funding and technical expertise;

    i. Supporting national, bilateral and international efforts to train the necessary skilled workforce required to ensure the responsible development of peaceful uses of the nuclear energy under best safety, security and non-proliferation conditions;

    j. In managing nuclear power programmes, governments should seek to ensure the maximum appropriate transparency and access to information;

    k. Promoting health and agricultural nuclear applications, in particular the fight against cancer in the developing world, hydrological applications, and helping developing countries to improve radio-protection.

Mr Chairman,

5. Nuclear power can be only developed with trust. It is thus important that the development of nuclear energy for peaceful uses takes place in the best non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security conditions. Let me recall, in that respect, that in the framework of the EURATOM Treaty, the EU has seen the development, over the past 50 years, of a world leading nuclear industry, based on these high standards.

6. Firstly, the peaceful nuclear activities and cooperation in this area are strongly related to the non-proliferation obligations that arise from the NPT. The EU recalls in that regard that the conditions laid down by the NPT for the exercise of the right to use nuclear energy are: the observance of non-proliferation commitments, the implementation of IAEA safeguards and the pursuit, in accordance with the good-faith principle, of peaceful purposes. The EU also reiterates the importance it attaches to the universalisation of additional protocols, as essential means of demonstrating that States parties are fulfilling their non-proliferation obligations and, thus, of enhancing the confidence necessary for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

7. Given the proliferation sensitive nature of enrichment and reprocessing technologies, the export of these technologies should meet the highest non-proliferation, safety and security standards, and should be consistent with a credible viable and civilian nuclear power generation programme.

8. In parallel, international efforts aimed at establishing multilateral mechanisms, may, by complementing the nuclear fuel markets, offer a credible alternative to the development of national capabilities for sensitive fuel cycle technologies. However, this is without any prejudice to the exercise of the right under Article IV.

9. Multilateral mechanisms would contribute significantly to reducing concerns about proliferation and nuclear safety and at the same time to allaying concerns regarding the security of supply by facilitating access to nuclear fuel and associated services. In this respect, the EU stresses the need for pragmatic solutions that reflect economic reality and the real needs of the recipient countries, and conform to the most stringent safety requirements and responsible waste management.

10. The EU has decided to support the initiative launched by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) on establishment of an IAEA Nuclear Fuel Bank with a financial contribution up to € 25 million once the conditions and modalities for the bank have been defined and approved by the Board of Governors of the IAEA. The EU appreciates financial contributions made by the NTI, USA, UAE, Norway and Kuwait. The creation of the bank will be a tangible step in moving from the theoretical debate on multilateral nuclear approaches to a concrete project.

11. In our view, the IAEA should keep a leading role in this debate. The EU requested the IAEA Secretariat to develop a concept for the establishment of the Nuclear Fuel Bank and to submit it to the Board at its June session. Discussions among all stakeholders could start without delay on this basis to determine the specific modalities for the bank. The nuclear fuel bank stock under the control of IAEA would correspond to one reactor fuel reload that would be used as the last resort, after the market has failed to complete the disrupted supply of material. Upon the approval of such a concept, the physical setting-up of the Nuclear Fuel Bank could be put in place in early 2010.

12. The EU also takes note with interest of additional detailed proposals by several States parties, in particular EU member states. Different solutions will have to be developed to meet different needs.

Mr Chairman,

13. It remains of the utmost importance to assure highest possible nuclear security and physical protection of nuclear materials.

14. In that regard, the EU calls on all States to adhere to the relevant conventions regarding nuclear safety, physical protection of nuclear materials, civil nuclear liability, or to introduce stringent national legislation in these fields. It is also important that, from the earliest phases of their development of nuclear power programmes onwards, recipient States pay particular attention to issues related to waste management in accordance with internationally defined standards.

15. The EU also recognizes the need to support States interested in developing a nuclear power programme, in particular developing States, in their efforts to establish the required safety, security, and non–proliferation infrastructure, by helping them to set up the right regulatory, administrative, and human environment and to train the adequate man power.

16. Conscious of its obligations under Article IV of the Treaty, the EU stands ready to help recipient countries, in particular developing countries, to meet these requirements and to set up the right environment, in close coordination with competent international organisations.

17. Bearing in mind paragraph 19 of the Decision on Principles and Objectives adopted in 1995, I would like to recall that the EU is engaged in many technical cooperation programmes. The 27 Member States of the EU collectively make an important contribution to the IAEA’s budget and provide a significant proportion of the voluntary contributions to its Technical Cooperation Fund.

18. The EU provides additional support to the Agency’s projects for improving nuclear safety and security through its relevant instruments, such as the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation, amounting to € 524 million, as well as through considerable bilateral support to IAEA Member States. The EU is also a major donor to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. The EU encourages the IAEA to continue education and training programmes that will contribute to the updating of nuclear knowledge so as to meet the needs of both developing and developed countries.

Mr Chairman,

19. The strengthening of the global non-proliferation regime and the responsible development of civil nuclear energy should go hand in hand. To this end, we have to promote a responsible development of civil industry. The EU thus calls on all NPT State Parties to be united in recommending the 2010 RevCon concrete means for ensuring a responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the best safety, security, and non-proliferation conditions by countries wishing to develop their capacities in this field.

Thank you.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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