UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan assigns the “highest importance” to ensuring the safety and security for the country’s nuclear programme, Ambassador Masood Khan told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
“Pakistan’s nuclear materials, facilities and assets are safe and secure,” the Pakistani ambassador said while commenting on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.
“We have an unblemished record of running a safe, secure and safeguarded civil nuclear programme for the last forty years,” he told the 193-member Assembly.
Over the years, Masood Khan said Pakistan had worked closely with the IAEA to strengthen nuclear security, and was implementing an Action Plan in cooperation with the agency.
“Our nuclear security regime is anchored in the principle of multilayered defense for the entire spectrum of any nuclear security threat – insider, outsider, and cyber threats – and is guided by the concept of the Five Ds, that is, to deter, detect, delay, defend, and destroy.”
“We have established extensive physical protection measures, robust Command and Control structures, comprehensive export controls and an effective regulatory regime to ensure safety and security of nuclear materials and installations,” the Pakistani ambassador added.
A specially trained and skilled force of 25,000 nuclear security officials ensures the security of the country’s nuclear assets. Besides, integrated intelligence component exercises vigil to provide depth in defence.
Stating that Pakistan has gained rich experience in nuclear security, he said a Centre of Excellence has been established to conduct specialized courses in nuclear security, physical protection and personnel reliability. “We are ready to share our experiences, best practices and training facilities with other interested states in the region and beyond,” the ambassador said. “We are currently deploying Radiation Portal Monitors at key exit and entry points to prevent illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials.”
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.
All nuclear power plants in Pakistan were under IAEA Safeguards, Masood Khan pointed out.
As an active, mainstream partner in the global non-proliferation efforts, he said Pakistan had experience, spanning four decades, of safely operating the nuclear power plants.
“We have the requisite expertise, well-trained manpower and infrastructure to produce civil nuclear energy. Pakistan therefore fully qualifies to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
“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. “Considerations of safety and security should facilitate, not hinder, the pursuit of peaceful uses of nuclear energy for promoting the development agenda, improving human lives and mitigating the adverse impact of climate change.”