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Nuclear Explosion Policy

Volume 387: debated on Monday 14 November 1977

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether it is the Government's view that peaceful nuclear explosions may be conducted except within the framework of the International Atomic Agency.

In the Government's view, so-called peaceful nuclear explosions may be conducted only in accordance with international obligations, including those under the Partial Test Ban Treaty and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Under the latter, nuclear weapon States are the only Parties which may conduct peaceful nuclear explosions: but potential benefits from such explosions may be made available to non-nuclear weapon States Parties to the Treaty by nuclear weapon States bilaterally or through the intermediary of the International Atomic Energy Agency.The above describes the Government's view of the position in international law. However, as the noble Lord is aware, the United Kingdom is engaged in negotiations with the United States and the Soviet Union with a view to the achievement of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Our objective in those negotiations is a multilateral Treaty which would ban all nuclear explosions.