The energy sector plays a crucial role in greening the economy. Green energy contributes to energy security and independence, unlike imported fossil fuels. Nuclear power, for example, will play an important role in carbon-fee energy sectors of the future. The UK’s Energy Security Strategy, published earlier this year, pledges to significantly accelerate the UK’s production of nuclear power.
Nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy generation, but the harnessing of nuclear power requires the utmost diligence and precaution. Yet as we sit here, the largest nuclear power station in Europe risks becoming the next Chernobyl disaster because of the reckless behaviour of the Russian military.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion, nuclear facilities in Ukraine have been struck by military ordnance on at least four occasions and at least five Ukrainian nuclear facilities have experienced significant disruptions to their normal operations. As the IAEA’s Director General said in June, of the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security, almost all have been violated by Russia’s actions.
Another area of energy sectors’ future is critical minerals. We need lithium, cobalt and graphite to make batteries for electric cars; silicon and tin for our electronics; and rare earth elements for wind turbines. The UK’s first ever Critical Minerals Strategy commits us to collaborating with international partners; and enhancing international markets to make them more responsive, transparent and responsible.
Finally, we call on Russia to stop its weaponisation of energy, which is having a destabilising effect on energy sectors and impacting homes across the OSCE region. We must continue to explore further measures to prevent Russia from profiting from its war of aggression. As we phase out Russian energy from our domestic markets, we will seek to develop solutions that reduce Russian revenues from hydrocarbons; support stability in global energy markets; and minimise negative economic impacts.
Our targeting Russia must be complemented by support to Ukraine.
Ensuring Ukraine has access to available energy will not only make sure the economy continues to function, but will also keep people warm and allow hospitals to provide emergency healthcare when it’s needed. Also, the provision of vital equipment can enhance the detection of illicit movement of materials within Ukraine and across its borders, helping the country recover from Russian control of the Chernobyl site.
The UK has announced a £5 million support fund designated to providing safety and security equipment to Ukraine’s civil nuclear sector, restoring safety and security at Chernobyl and Ukraine’s other nuclear sites following Russian attacks. We are also helping Ukraine reconnect power across the country and repair energy infrastructure.
As well as fuelling a green transition, energy systems play an indispensable role in ensuring national security and economic resilience. These systems are threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with consequences that can be felt across the OSCE region. We encourage all States to continue to reduce their dependence on the Russian energy that fuels this conflict; to condemn the wildly irresponsible actions of Russia that threaten the safety of Europe; and to stand by Ukraine and its energy sector as it helps the country recover from Russia’s brutal invasion.