Norway fully recognises the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as an inalienable right of all states parties to the NPT. By complying with their safeguards obligations under the NPT and the Additional Protocol, states parties inspire confidence in the peaceful nature of their nuclear activities. High standards of nuclear safety and security are crucial to ensuring the sustained use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank Facility was recently inaugurated. Multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle offer opportunities for countries that are seeking the benefits of nuclear energy, without these countries having to develop costly enrichment or reprocessing facilities. We extend our appreciation to Kazakhstan for volunteering to host the IAEA LEU Bank. The Bank is a good example of how peaceful uses of nuclear technology and non-proliferation can be mutually reinforcing.
As a coastal state, Norway attaches particular importance to ensuring that nuclear and other radioactive materials are transported in accordance with the highest standards of safety, security and environmental protection. We note the increased interest of some states in the construction and deployment of reactors that are transportable by sea. Before any sea transport of a fuelled reactor can take place, the consent of the relevant coastal states must be obtained.
We observe with interest the IAEA’s efforts to develop a strategic approach to the issue of reactors that are transportable by sea. The ultimate aim of this approach should be to close any gaps in the Agency’s existing safety standards, guidance and regulations. Norway is pleased to see that an increased number of IAEA member states are now taking an active interest in this discussion.
Norway calls for the full and universal implementation of the relevant legally binding international instruments in the field of nuclear safety and security. The primary responsibility for safety and security lies with the states concerned. Nonetheless, we emphasise the urgent need to further enhance international partnerships, technical cooperation, best practices, peer-review mechanisms and other forms of assistance in this area. The IAEA has a vital role to play in coordinating efforts. It is also important to continuously engage with the nuclear industry and relevant private sector actors on these matters.
For many years, one of Norway’s key priorities has been to minimise the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian nuclear installations. In this regard, we commend Nigeria for the recent conversion of its miniature neutron source reactor from HEU to LEU fuel. We also commend the nuclear medicine company Curium for the conversion of the whole of its target manufacturing process to LEU.
The worldwide HEU-minimisation trend is gaining momentum. Norway strongly encourages countries to continue their efforts in this area. Improved nuclear security will provide an environment that is more conducive to the peaceful applications of nuclear technologies.
Norway joins other states parties in stressing that peaceful applications of nuclear technologies go far beyond the generation of electricity. Isotopes have important uses in a number of sectors, including health, food production, water management, environmental monitoring, and conservation of cultural heritage.
Broader applications of nuclear technology will continue to form a large part of the IAEA technical cooperation programme. We urge all states parties to pay their assessed share to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund on time, and to consider making other voluntary contributions.
We recognise the important role applications of nuclear technology can play in promoting peace, health and prosperity, and thus in supporting efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
Thank you, Mr Chair.