HL Deb 21 February 2005 vol 669 cc161-2WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to expedite negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a Verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty which would, on a designated schedule, end the production of highly enriched uranium for all purposes. [HL1331]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The United Kingdom has been active since 1993 in efforts to begin negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices, but progress has been prevented by linkages with other issues and, more recently, discussions on whether an FMCT could be verified. We would prefer to see a verifiable FMCT, but we have been encouraging the commencement of negotiations, without preconditions, to prevent further delay.

We ceased production of fissile material for defence purposes in 1995 and have placed fissile material not for defence purposes under international safeguards.