Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am very pleased to have the chance to speak today to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as called for under Article IV of the Treaty. We will address the important issues of safety and security during the third specific issue session.
The United States has consistently been a leader in providing financial, technical, and political support to strengthen this important pillar of the Treaty, including through bilateral agreements and our contributions to programs being implemented by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). U.S. support to the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation program has been significant and long-standing. Last year, the United States contributed nearly 22 million dollars to the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF), and we pledged over four million dollars in additional funding towards training, fellowships, and cost-free experts. We encourage all countries to meet their TCF obligations, which provide critical stability in the planning and implementation processes.
Over and above our TCF contributions, the United States in 2010 pledged $50 million over five years to a new IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI), and to work with others to match that pledge. PUI support provides the Agency with additional resources and flexibility to respond to urgent and unanticipated needs, such as monitoring radioactivity in the marine environment from the Fukushima accident and responding to sustained drought in the Sahel region.
The United States has now contributed nearly $26 million to the PUI. This includes over $2 million in new PUI funding to enhance nuclear infrastructure capacity building in states introducing or expanding nuclear power. And in the next several weeks we will commit additional PUI funding for projects on food safety in Latin America, sustainable uranium mining and milling in Africa, protection of the marine environment, and a pilot project to strengthen national capacities to interpret hydrological data and improve the sustainable use of water resources.
The United States would like to welcome the contributions of 13 other countries to PUI and the many other parties that support related efforts to enhance peaceful nuclear cooperation.
In particular, we welcome the partnership of Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, France, Indonesia, Brazil, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Kazakhstan, and we encourage other states to contribute to this effort.
In the area of food security, we particularly appreciate the partnerships of Japan and South Africa in supporting an IAEA project on the establishment and strengthening of veterinary diagnostic laboratories in Africa. We are interested in developing new partnerships to fully implement this high priority project that will help prevent disease and increase livestock productivity.
We would also like to commend the IAEA for launching the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center at last year’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. The United States and several other IAEA Member States are providing PUI support for this project. We encourage others to contribute, particularly as the Agency turns its focus to the environment in 2013. For contributors who do not support nuclear power, this project and the PUI more broadly provide a good way to direct support toward non-power applications of nuclear technology.
The catastrophe at Fukushima in 2011 has not altered the underlying factors that have led to an increased interest in nuclear power, including increasing global demand for energy and concerns about climate change, energy security, and uncertainty about fossil fuel supplies. The United States strongly supports the safe and secure expansion of nuclear power for NPT Parties that are in compliance with their obligations under the Treaty, and we look forward to participating in the upcoming International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century in St. Petersburg. We appreciate the efforts of the IAEA, the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Russia for organizing and hosting this important event.
Such conferences can usefully highlight the global scale of ongoing nuclear cooperation. For our part, the United States has in place bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements with 48 countries, the IAEA, and Taiwan, and we are negotiating others with States that share our commitment to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nonproliferation. The global market for access to peaceful nuclear technology is robust and working: from 2009-2012, for example, U.S. exports to NPT Parties were valued at $13.6 billion.
We also strongly support international efforts to develop multilateral approaches to the fuel cycle. This includes the IAEA fuel bank that has been funded through contributions from the United States, the EU, the UAE, Kuwait, Norway and the U.S. Nuclear Threat Initiative, as well as complementary initiatives approved by the IAEA Board of Governors. The United States also recently established the American Assured Fuel Supply, which is using over 17 metric tons of highly enriched uranium removed from military programs and down-blending it to low enriched uranium to be available to states facing an interruption in fuel supply. This serves as a powerful example of the mutually reinforcing nature of the NPT’s pillars.
Such multilateral approaches to the fuel cycle will help facilitate implementation of Article IV, support our common goal of expansion of peaceful nuclear energy without increasing the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation, and reinforce the option of states to rely on the global market for their fuel service needs.
I appreciate the opportunity to reaffirm the importance we attach to promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to learn more about other NPT Parties’ peaceful uses priorities and how we can best cooperate to support these efforts. Support for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is a critical component of the NPT and global efforts to achieve sustainable development goals, and we are proud to be in the company of many that share our goal of expanding support in this area.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.