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Atomic Energy Agencies

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the United Kingdom's annual contribution has been to the (a) European Atomic Energy Agency and (b) International Atomic Energy Agency since 1997; what proportion of each payment was made by the United Kingdom (i) public sector and (ii) private sector nuclear industries; and what plans he has to review the level of the annual UK contribution to each organisation. (81069)

As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UK is obliged to pay its contribution to the Regular Budget, which pays for most of the IAEA's work and the running of the Agency itself, and is expected to make a payment to the Technical Cooperation Fund, which pays for the IAEA's development programmes in less developed countries. As a UN Agency, UK Government have the responsibility for making these payments.

The UK's contributions to the Regular Budget and Technical Cooperation Fund since 1997 are as follows:

£

Regular budget

Technical cooperation fund

1997

7,670,799

2,249,969

1998

5,950,148

2,368,000

1999

6,143,449

2,267,527

2000

6,291,197

2,386,354

2001

6,561,613

2,577,181

2002

7,459,727

2,504,581

2003

8,019,673

2,470,974

2004

9,083,332

2,250,836

2005

9,811,000

2,405,954

2006

10,994,536

2,656,536

The UK's Regular Budget and Technical Cooperation Fund payments are fixed by reference to slightly modified standardised UN contribution rates. The modification arises because the state membership of the IAEA is not identical to that of the UN, and developing countries were initially “shielded” from paying the full costs of the safeguards component of the Regular Budget. The UK accordingly, this year, paid 6.137 per cent. of the total Regular Budget. The future level of the annual UK contribution to the IAEA will be determined by UN contribution rates at the time.

In addition, the UK has made a number of voluntary contributions to the IAEA since 1997, including contributions totalling £2.6 million to support the Agency's safeguards work, £2 million to the IAEA's Nuclear Security Fund, and £500,000 to support IAEA work to improve internal management processes. Additional non-financial “in-kind” support to help the Agency deliver its safeguards and other activities is provided through the UK nuclear industry, however the financial value of this could be calculated only at disproportionate cost.

The UK remains committed to our contribution to the IAEA and the only review of the UK contribution we would seek is to manage down the budget through the achievement of organisational efficiencies.

The UK's contribution to the European Atomic Energy Agency (EAEA) is paid through the UK's general contribution to the European Commission's budget. The EAEA's share of the UK contribution could be calculated only at disproportionate cost.