Estonia pushes global nuclear security agenda

  • 2010-05-12
  • By Ella Karapetyan

TALLINN - Meeting with executive secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Toth, in New York, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia supports the work of the CTBTO in building up a verification regime for nuclear testing.

Paet stated that an effective monitoring system helps to achieve security regarding the appropriate use of nuclear energy and nuclear testing. “Uniting the restriction of nuclear arms and the ban on nuclear testing is necessary to increase the nuclear safety of the world, but it must happen alongside global security measures and monitoring systems being made more effective,” said Paet. “Building up the system will hopefully give additional security to nations that have not yet joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It is essential that the international community would be provided with information on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” noted the Estonian foreign minister.

At the Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in New York, Paet said that the restriction of nuclear arms must take place alongside the formulation of security measures, so that transparency and security could be ensured in the civilian use of nuclear power as well.

Paet emphasized that, looking into the future, there is great potential for the civilian use of nuclear energy. “The rapid growth of the use of nuclear fuel for civilian purposes deserves support for its environmental protection aspects,” said Paet. “Energy security and battling climate change continue to be important goals. Taking into account the explosively growing interest towards peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Estonia supports the establishment of a Low Enriched Uranium bank under the control of the IAEA,” he added.

During his meeting with Toth, Paet confirmed that Estonia as a European Union member state actively supports the role of the CTBTO in restricting nuclear testing and in its monitoring work. Estonia also supports the work done to persuade countries to join the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Speaking at UN Headquarters, Paet noted that the Review Conference on Nuclear Non-Proliferation was taking place against a backdrop of positive developments in arms control around the world, but despite this, it should be taken into consideration that quite a few nations have yet to join the NPT. “The renewed strategic arms reduction agreement between the United States and Russia is an important milestone for arms control that takes us a step closer to a safer world,” stated Paet. “However, we must be realists. This is why Estonia fully supports future nuclear security and the advancement of the monitoring systems that support it. Effective monitoring in nuclear testing and civilian use of nuclear energy is necessary,” said the Estonian foreign minister.

The CTBT was opened for signing in 1996. Estonia signed the agreement and it was ratified by the Riigikogu in 1999.
At the Review Conference the primary topics that were discussed were practical measures for nuclear disarmament; nuclear non-proliferation, including the promoting and strengthening of safeguards; measures to advance the peaceful use of nuclear energy; regional issues, such as the creation of a nuclear arms-free zone; measures to address withdrawal from the Treaty; the universality of the Treaty; and promoting disarmament education around the world.