HC Deb 31 March 1976 vol 908 cc514-6W
Mr. Carter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Her Majesty's Government's policy is on exports of nuclear equipment, material or technology; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. James Callaghan

When considering the export of nuclear equipment, material or technology we shall study each case on its merits. Our first consideration will always be the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Euratom Treaty, and whether or not the prospective customer has concluded a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Our detailed requirements will include the application of IAEA safeguards or comparable safeguards which are verified by the IAEA to exported nuclear equipment and material; an assurance that whatever we export will not be used to manufacture nuclear explosives for any purpose; an assurance that our exports will be adequately protected against the possibility of theft or sabotage; and assurances that if the equipment or material that we export is re-exported, then the new purchaser will be required to give the same assurances on safeguards, non-explosive use and physical protection as were given by the original customer.

We shall also study with particular care proposals for the export of sensitive equipment or technology. By sensitive I mean equipment or technology which could lead to the construction of uranium enrichment plants, reprocessing plants or heavy water production plants. In general we shall exercise restraint in the export of such plants or their technology, and we are at present contributing to the IAEA's study of the feasibility of including such plants in regional fuel centres in the future. When we decide to export them we shall, of course, require assurances that any sensitive plants using transferred technology, now or in the future will be subject to IAEA safeguards. We shall also need to be consulted before our customers can re-export any sensitive nuclear materials or sensitive equipment or technology to a third country.

I wish to emphasise that the foregoing is the policy of Her Majesty's Government. It is not for me to say what policy other Governments will adopt. They will make their own decisions on their policies and in what to say about them. On the whole question of non-proliferation and nuclear exports, we are of course in close touch with other interested Government and international bodies and organisations.