The Road to 2010 White Paper (Cm7675) set out the Government's commitment to establish a nuclear centre of excellence. Since publication of the White Paper the National Nuclear Centre of Excellence Steering Group, chaired by the Government's chief scientific adviser, has overseen development of the centre, including the appointment of an interim director and agreement on the business model to be adopted. The project has strong support from key government, industry and academic stakeholders including the Technology Strategy Board, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Industries Association, UK research councils and universities. There has also been international interest in the centre of excellence.
The Global Threat Reduction Programme delivers the UK contribution to the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. The Global Partnership was established at the G8 summit in June 2002. The contributions made by other states are set out in the G8 Global Partnership Working Group 2009 annual report, annex A consolidated data sheets (http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/ GPWG-Report-2009-AnnexA-Consolidated-Data-Sheets,2.pdf)
Thirty-four countries have ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM).
There are 142 states which are parties to the CPPNM. The amended convention will enter into force once it has been ratified by two-thirds of these parties. The amendment to the convention will strengthen its effectiveness by making it legally binding for states parties to protect civil nuclear facilities and material in peaceful, domestic use, storage and transport. It also provides for expanded co-operation between parties on rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 contains provisions, brought into force on 30 November 2009, which implement the amendment. The relevant provisions are Section 75 and Schedule 17, which created a number of new criminal offences—including extraterritorial offences. These new offences relate principally to acts directed at a nuclear facility, the misuse of nuclear material with intent to cause damage to the environment, and involvement outside the UK in the unlawful importing, exporting or shipping of nuclear material. It was also necessary to increase the penalty for existing UK offences relating to the import, export and shipment of nuclear material.