Statement by Foreign Minister Westerwelle at the High Level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security

Sep 23, 2011

(as delivered)

Excellencies Co-Chairs,
Mr. High Representative Duarte,
Mr. Under Secretary General Amos, 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed to this important meeting. Above all I would like to thank His Excellency the Secretary-General for his leadership.

After the tragic events in Japan, we decided to phase out the use of nuclear energy with an even more ambitious timeline than envisaged before. The last nuclear plant will now shut down by 2022.

Notwithstanding this decision, Germany remains a committed partner in all  matters concerning civilian use of nuclear energy, and in ensuring the highest possible safety standards in particular. We fully respect the right of each nation to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This implies a shared responsibility. We have to further develop a global nuclear safety culture in order to prevent nuclear accidents. Germany always was and  will remain a  reliable partner in this respect.

 

Excellencies,

 

Domestically, we have decided to phase out our nuclear power plants. For us, the future lies in the use of renewable energy. A modern, energy-efficient and low-carbon way is the path we want to follow. We will dramatically increase the production of energy from renewable sources as well as energy efficiency. Our objective is to produce 35% of our electricity from renewables in 2020, 50% in 2030 and even 80% in 2050.

 

Major investments and innovations are needed, but eventually great economic and technological opportunities will be created. It will open up new technological and economic prospects to ensure our economic competitiveness.

 

The European Union has also reacted on the Fukushima accident. Europeans are currently implementing a comprehensive and transparent risk and safety assessment of nuclear power plants. This exercise will enhance nuclear safety in the EU. Our neighbours and other states worldwide are invited to join this exercise and do the same.

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency plays a key role in this respect. The Nuclear Safety Action Plan subsequently prepared by General Director Amano has just been endorsed today by the General Conference in Vienna. Germany welcomes this plan as an important step in the right direction. At the same time international efforts clearly need to be more ambitious to meet our peoples' expectations and to make the use of nuclear energy worldwide as safe as possible.

 

Effective implementation of high international standards in nuclear safety will require international peer reviews and an amended legal framework, as well as intensified research in the field of nuclear safety.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

the effects of nuclear accidents do not stop at national borders. This is why we need a global nuclear safety culture and we need it now. Germany is a committed partner to this end.

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