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Statement by Mr Urmas Paet, Estonian Minister of Foreign affairs at the high-level meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security

22.09.2011

Mr Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, allow me to express my appreciation to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for hosting this high-level meeting under the auspices of the UN General Assembly’s sixty-sixth session which allow us to discuss how to ensure higher safety and security standards.

Fukushima was a wake-up call for the global nuclear regime and industry. It underscores that even in a country with a very high level of development in nuclear technology, and high safety standards, the residual risk of a serious accident exists and thus cannot be underestimated.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is predictable that the share of nuclear energy in global energy production will grow in the future. Many states will not give up nuclear energy because it helps them meet targets of reducing green house gas emissions.

In Estonia we are exploring the ways to diversify our energy portfolio as well. We view nuclear energy as one possible source of emission-free energy. For this reason, Estonia wants to reiterate and emphasise our support for all measures leading to a higher standard of security both nationally and internationally.

Even a single incident at a nuclear plant can have a larger regional impact as nuclear disasters respect no borders. We welcome the recommendations made in the United Nations system-wide study on the implications of the Fukushima accident for states to take steps to improve disaster risk preparedness.

There can be no concessions in the field of nuclear safety. We call upon all states to ensure greater levels of safety at nuclear installations, to assess their safety regularly and systematically, and to make the results of the stress tests public as operatively as possible.

Today, one of our tasks is to ensure transparency, to re-build confidence and to restore public faith in nuclear power. We support the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency who has pledged to play a central role in it.

Now it is time for decisive deliberations about the future of nuclear energy policy and I hope today’s discussion will bear fruit and will permit us to move on and build a better and safer world for all of us.      

I thank you for your attention.

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