OSCE session – greening the economy and the role of the energy sector: UK statement

The energy sector plays a crucial role in greening the economy. Green energy, unlike imported fossil fuels, contributes to energy security and independence. For example, nuclear power will play an important role in the future zero-carbon energy sectors. The UK’s Energy Security Strategy, published earlier this year, pledges to significantly accelerate UK nuclear energy production.

Nuclear power is one of the safest forms of energy production, but the use of nuclear power requires extreme care and caution. But as we sit here, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is threatening to become the next Chernobyl disaster due to the ruthless behavior of the Russian military.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, nuclear facilities in Ukraine have been hit by military ordnance at least four times, and at least five Ukrainian nuclear facilities have experienced significant disruptions to their normal operations. As the IAEA Director-General said in June, almost all of the seven pillars of nuclear safety have been violated by Russia’s actions.

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Another area for the future of the energy sector 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 working with international partners; and improving international markets to make them more responsive, transparent and accountable.

Finally, we call on Russia to stop its energy armament, which is having a destabilizing effect on energy sectors and affecting budgets across the OSCE region. We must continue to look for 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 Russia’s hydrocarbon revenues; supporting stability in global energy markets; and minimize negative economic impacts.

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Our focus on Russia must be complemented by support for Ukraine.

Ensuring Ukraine has access to available energy will not only keep the economy functioning but also keep people warm and allow hospitals to provide emergency medical care when needed. Also, providing vital equipment can improve the detection of illegal material movements within Ukraine and across its borders, and help the country recover from Russian control of the Chernobyl site.

The UK has announced a £5 million support fund intended to provide security equipment to Ukraine’s civilian nuclear sector to help restore security at Chernobyl and other Ukraine nuclear sites following Russian attacks. We are also helping Ukraine to restore electricity supply across the country and repair energy infrastructure.

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In addition to promoting a green transition, energy systems play an indispensable role in ensuring national security and economic resilience. These systems are being threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with repercussions being felt across the OSCE region. We encourage all states to further reduce their dependence on the Russian energy that is fueling this conflict; to condemn the completely irresponsible actions of Russia, which threaten the security of Europe; and to stand by Ukraine and its energy sector as they help the country recover from Russia’s brutal invasion.

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