It is expected that the use of nuclear energy will increase in the coming years. While recognising this fact, we should also bear in mind that nuclear energy may not always be the best way of meeting energy needs. In this respect, Norway supports the recent initiative on renewable energy and the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Although Norway does not produce nuclear energy, Norway fully recognises the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy enshrined in the NPT, including the right of any NPT State Party to determine its own energy mix. The international community must, however, ensure that increased production and use of nuclear energy does not undermine the non-proliferation regime or threaten human safety and the environment. We believe this is possible, for instance by strengthening the IAEA.
As you know, peaceful applications of nuclear technology extend beyond the energy sector. Nuclear technologies are also important in connection with health, food production, water management and environmental monitoring. Norway encourages the IAEA to expand its technical cooperation in these areas.
Multilateral approaches to nuclear fuel cycles can help to reconcile peaceful uses with global non-proliferation concerns. For example the establishment of a fuel bank under IAEA auspices would ensure a supply of fuel for reactors .A number of countries could then be spared the huge investments needed to develop their own fuel production capacity. Norway has pledged USD 5 million towards the establishment of such a fuel bank and would be pleased if the IAEA could brief the PrepCom on the status of this initiative. Norway also support other initiatives, such as the one put forward by Germany, to develop international cooperation on fuel production and waste management.
The conversion of stocks no longer required for military purposes is one way of ensuring supply of nuclear fuel for power plants. This demonstrates that implementation of Article VI on nuclear disarmament may in fact support the implementation of Article IV. The next Review Cycle should explore the potential of such conversion.
Another way to reconcile peaceful nuclear applications with non-proliferation concerns is to minimise the use of highly enriched uranium in the production of isotopes and in research reactors. It has been demonstrated that conversion to low enriched uranium is technically possible and not least financially viable. Norway encourages the IAEA to support voluntary conversion projects.
To conclude, sustainable application of Article IV will require a broad partnership, with a strengthened IAEA at its centre.
Thank you, Mr. Chair