Thursday, 16 July 2009

Prime Minister sets out blueprint for addressing global nuclear challenges

The Prime Minister today set out a number of wide-ranging measures to address the key nuclear challenges of the modern era and to lead international efforts to promote greater global nuclear security.

The Road to 2010 paper published today sets out an ambitious plan of action across the full range of global nuclear challenges - from establishing the right conditions for nuclear power to play its part in combating climate change, global poverty and energy shortages, to ensuring that nuclear material is held securely across the globe, to urgent action to address the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and progress in building the international partnerships we need to deliver a world free from nuclear weapons.

It sets out a detailed plan of action by the UK – in partnership with other countries – in the run up to next year when the world will gather to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Among the specific measures announced today are:

* A new Nuclear Centre of Excellence in the UK to promote wider access to civil nuclear power across the world, to make a reality of the right of all countries - enshrined in the NPT - to the peaceful use of nuclear power. It will promote the development of cost-effective civil nuclear technology which cannot be diverted for use in weapons programmes. This Centre, to be developed in partnership with industry and other countries, will receive initial funding of £20million from the Government.

* A renewed emphasis on nuclear security and preventing nuclear terrorism. In order to help reduce the risk that nuclear material will be lost or stolen, the Prime Minister has offered assistance to any nation with security improvements should they request our help, building on our long experience as a nuclear nation. The Road to 2010 also announces £3million of new funding for nuclear forensics work in the UK. This is part of a strategy to establish nuclear security as a new pillar of the global nuclear framework.

The Prime Minister said:

“The world needs a renewed global bargain for nuclear energy. We need this to make the world safer, more prosperous, and better able to combat climate change and to secure the energy supply we need.

We must seize the new momentum for meeting this challenge. Our Road to 2010 plan sets out an ambitious but achievable set of reforms across the entire nuclear question. Next year's Review Conference gives us the opportunity I want to renew and re-invigorate the bargain at the heart of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

For nuclear weapon states, this bargain means we have a responsibility to show leadership on the question of disarmament and being at the forefront of developing global solutions to allow wider and safe access to civil nuclear power. For non-nuclear weapon states the bargain means continuing to forego nuclear weapons, while accessing - if they wish - civil nuclear power.

Iran is a test case. The UK and the international community stand ready to help Iran achieve a peaceful civil nuclear programme. We make the same offer to Iran as to other countries - we will help you gain access to nuclear power for peaceful purposes, but we will do everything we can to prevent weapons proliferation. The new Centre of Excellence we are announcing today is proof of our intention to develop the science needed for the peaceful, proliferation-free expansion of nuclear power.

The world also needs to pay more attention to the challenge of nuclear security. Britain will play a leading role in this global effort. That is why today we are announcing further funding for our world-leading nuclear forensics work. Building on recent discussions at the G8, I am also calling on international partners to work with us to establish nuclear security as a new pillar of the international nuclear framework. A major milestone on the path to achieving this is President Obama’s nuclear security conference in March, and we will work with him and leaders across the globe to deliver on this agenda.”

Taken together, the measures announced today will help the UK to lead international efforts over the next 12 months and beyond in achieving material and sustainable global nuclear security.

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