It is not a surprise, given the Manifesto launch yesterday and the Leaders’ Debate later this week, that the prime Minister is not able to attend president Obama’s summit co0nference in Washington on nuclear security. However, given the Prime Minister’s skill at brokering deals at international summits, it is a real pity that he is not able to be there.
There are real concerns about nuclear materials falling into the hands of international terrorists and the UK Government is one of those with a real commitment to trying to make progress on this issue.
A few weeks ago I asked specifically about the summit:
- To ask Her Majesty’s Government who will be representing the United Kingdom at the United Nations nuclear security summit in Washington in April; and what outcomes they will be seeking at that summit. [HL2151]
The Government set out their aspirations for nuclear security in last summer’s Road to 2010 White Paper. Consistent with that vision, the UK will be seeking to: increase international awareness of the threat posed by nuclear terrorism; agree a robust set of guiding principles for nuclear security that will set the tone for developing international norms over the coming decades; secure commitment by participating nations to undertake a wide range of actions, domestically and in collaboration with other states, to improve the security of fissile material and sensitive information, and to prevent them from falling into the hands of malicious actors.
And I had also asked about some of the other initiatives that were being pursued by the UK:
- To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made in establishing the United Kingdom’s nuclear centre of excellence. [HL2153]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Road to 2010 White Paper (Cm7675) set out the Government’s commitment to establish a nuclear centre of excellence. Since publication of the White Paper the National Nuclear Centre of Excellence Steering Group, chaired by the Government’s chief scientific adviser, has overseen development of the centre, including the appointment of an interim director and agreement on the business model to be adopted. The project has strong support from key government, industry and academic stakeholders including the Technology Strategy Board, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Industries Association, UK research councils and universities. There has also been international interest in the centre of excellence.
- To ask Her Majesty’s Government what other countries support the Global Threat Reduction Programme; and what are its achievements so far. [HL2154]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Global Threat Reduction Programme delivers the UK contribution to the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. The Global Partnership was established at the G8 summit in June 2002. The contributions made by other states are set out in the G8 Global Partnership Working Group 2009 annual report, annex A consolidated data sheets (http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/ GPWG-Report-2009-AnnexA-Consolidated-Data-Sheets,2.pdf)
- To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many countries have now ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material; and what changes are being implemented in the United Kingdom following ratification. [HL2155]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Thirty-four countries have ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM).