UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan assigns the “highest importance” to ensuring the safety and security of the country’s nuclear programme, a senior Pakistani diplomat told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
“We have an unblemished record of running a safe, secure and safeguarded civil nuclear programme for the last forty years,” Khalil Hashmi, a minister at the Pakistan Mission to the U.N., said while commenting on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.
“Pakistan attaches highest importance to nuclear security because it is directly linked to our national security,” he told the 193-member Assembly.
Over the years, Hashmi said Pakistan had worked closely with the IAEA to strengthen nuclear security, and was implementing an Action Plan in cooperation with the agency.
The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Agency had based its regulations on Agency safety standards, and offered itself for independent peer reviews. Since the Fukushima accident, he said, Pakistan had conducted successful stress tests of its plants.
Pakistan’s security regime covered physical protection, material control and accounting, border controls, and radiological emergencies, the Pakistani diplomat said.It had deployed radiation detection mechanisms at several exit and entry points to prevent illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials, and was voluntarily contributing to the Agency’s information resources.
Pakistan, he said, had fully complied with its obligations under the safeguard agreements of the Agency’s verification regime.
All nuclear power plants in Pakistan were under IAEA Safeguards, he pointed out.
Pakistan, he said, was facing a severe energy deficit, as industrial, agricultural and consumer demand for electricity increases with the growing population, and Islamabad was tapping into all sources hydro power, solar and wind power, and nuclear energy — to meet that demand.
“Pakistan believes in an equitable, non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach to advance the universally shared goals of non-proliferation and promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” he said, adding that his country was an active and mainstream international partner.
He reiterate his call for inclusion of Pakistan into Nuclear Suppliers Group.