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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Cluster 3 USA, May 1999

Cluster 3

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for the opportunity to intervene on the issue of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technical cooperation under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Along with setting and strengthening the global norm against the spread of nuclear weapons, the NPT embodies another key commitment among its parties. Article IV of the Treaty affirms that all states party to the Treaty have an inalienable right to benefit from the peaceful uses of the atom. It further commits the parties to cooperate with one another in the development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The peaceful nuclear cooperation and assistance

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enjoined by Article IV of the NPT have provided tangible benefits in such diverse fields as medicine, nutrition and agriculture, industrial uses, safety, physical protection and waste disposal.

Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Through the IAEA

The U.S. has done a great deal over the years to fulfill its Article IV commitment to provide peaceful nuclear assistance to developing countries. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has assumed a key role in implementing Article IV, is one important vehicle through which the U.S. channels much of its technical assistance. U.S. support for the technical cooperation (TC) programs administered by the IAEA has enabled many nations to make great strides in the application of nuclear technologies in many diverse and important fields. The Agency's TC program is based upon individual country requests and is therefore tailored to meet that country's specific needs. The IAEA is emphasizing the development of regional and interregional programs resulting in improved "Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries" and broadened Article IV activities. The U.S. is pleased to support this important work.

The majority of U.S. support to IAEA technical cooperation programs is administered through the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF). This Fund is distributed to IAEA Member States requesting assistance. The U.S., through its voluntary contribution to the TCF, annually endeavors to contribute approximately 25 percent to the Fund's target figure. In this decade alone, U.S. support to the TCF exceeded $136M. This is part of the overall $298M of U.S. extra-budgetary support to the IAEA.

The U.S. believes it is of the utmost importance for the IAEA to broaden the financial base of the TCF. Only a few Member States are providing the overwhelming majority of TC funds. We thus encourage Member States to pledge and pay their share of the annual TCF target, and for TC recipients to pay assessed program costs, which amounts to only 7 percent of the funds received by a country from the TC program and which supports project implementation.

Bilateral Technical Cooperation

As a component of peaceful nuclear development, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Department of Energy (DOE) have provided nuclear safety assistance to NPT parties through bilateral cooperation agreements and support to multilateral institutions such as the IAEA. For example, NRC has arrangements or letters of agreement signed with counterpart regulatory organizations of thirty-two countries, including South Africa, Ukraine and Egypt. Bilateral cooperation has included information exchange, hosting of training courses and foreign assignees at domestic facilities, provision of nuclear safety-related computer codes, regulatory documents, equipment and legal support for developing regulatory infrastructures.

Through their respective bilateral nuclear safety cooperation programs, NRC and DOE provide extensive assistance to NPT parties such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in areas such as management and operational safety, engineering and technology, plant safety assessments, and development of institutional and regulatory infrastructures. In addition to an IAEA extrabudgetgary contribution for nuclear safety, DOE and NRC also provide in-kind assistance to the IAEA for safety-related Technical Cooperation and Department of Nuclear Safety activities.

Sister Laboratories -- A Special Form of Bilateral Collaboration

In the early 1980's, the U.S. launched a new initiative to establish cooperative institutional relationships between its own nuclear research laboratories, which are DOE National Laboratories, and counterparts in developing countries which have supported the NPT. Currently such arrangements exist with Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Thailand and Romania, and plans are being made to implement an arrangement with Uzbekistan. These arrangements generally provide for exchange of scientific and technical information; short visits to the U.S.; training of scientific and technical personnel though fellowship, seminars or courses; and exchange of samples, materials and instruments.

Summary

Summarizing, Mr. Chairman, the U.S. remains the leading supporter of the IAEA's technical cooperation program, which plays a central role in implementing Article IV of the NPT both in terms of direct financial support and support "in kind." We also continue to provide significant assistance on a bilateral basis in a wide variety of areas with the participation of many U.S. agencies.

Thank you.