Starting August 1, the United Nations (UN) will hold a conference on the review of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) in New York. In the conference which will last until August 26, the Indonesian delegation will be led by the Director General of Multilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tri Tharyat.
In a virtual press conference, on Sunday (31/7) evening, Tri said Indonesia had submitted a proposal on the NPT last week. Currently, six countries own nuclear-powered submarines, namely the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and India. Meanwhile, Brazil and Australia are in the process of building nuclear-powered submarines.
Tri admitted that the rapid development of nuclear-powered submarine programs in various parts of the world in recent times has raised pros and cons. Countries that developed this technology stated that it was still in line with various international agreements, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Another concern, Tri continued, is the potential for risks that are not small, namely the potential for radiation in the process of transportation, treatment, and use, as well as radiation that can be generated and its impact on humans and marine resources.
In addition, in the context of a nuclear power plant (NPP) it is very difficult to locate the radiation location in the sea rather than a leak on land. Not to mention the potential diversion of the nuclear-powered submarine program into a nuclear weapons development program. Therefore, Indonesia plans to send a proposal that can bridge the interests of both parties.
“The purpose of the Indonesian proposal is to build awareness about the risks and dangers of using nuclear-based energy to power submarines. Then concrete efforts to save human and humanitarian lives,” said Tri.
According to him, Indonesia was supposed to convey the rules for the use of nuclear energy for submarines, strict monitoring by the IAEA, making security agreements and at the same time asking countries to exercise restraint and take non-conducive actions.
In the press conference, Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations Arrmanatha Nasir explained that this year’s conference on NPT was important because it was held at a time when the world was facing a very dynamic global situation, including the war in Ukraine. Indonesia will continue to push for this year’s NPT conference to produce more advanced commitments from nuclear weapons countries regarding nuclear disarmament.
Arrmanatha sees that now there is a division, namely that there are Western countries that support Ukraine and countries that are closer to Russia.
“This is what we are trying to avoid in the context of the NPT. Because if this continues, including in the context of the NPT issue, it will continue to complicate any process that goes forward in multilateral discussions,” said Arrmanatha.
Allows Indonesia to Push for a Nuclear Free Zone
International Relations Observer from Padjadjaran University Teuku Rezasyah explained that the idea of a nuclear-free Southeast Asia region must be made relevant to the latest developments. Because if not monitored properly, the movement of nuclear-powered submarines is very threatening to the surrounding countries.
Rezasyah gave an example that if it is not managed properly by the United Nations, many countries will use nuclear-powered submarines. Therefore, Indonesia must cooperate with regions that have implemented nuclear-free rules, such as in the South Pacific and Latin America.
If Australia has a nuclear-powered submarine, then eastern Indonesia will become a critical area, because once a submarine is based nearby, other countries will monitor the area. In addition, the risk of radiation and nuclear waste is not yet known.
“We must move in two directions. First, cooperation at the level of restrictions but also strengthening socialization with countries that have the same problem, South Pacific countries and Latin American countries. They must be aware. At the time of voting, we must be united that we all ban submarines. null,” said Rezasyah.
The NPT was signed by 191 United Nations countries, mainly countries with nuclear weapons and countries that do not have nuclear weapons. The NPT has three objectives, namely nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The NPT Review Conference is held every five years and the last one was held in 2015. The conference was supposed to be held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to this year, from 1-26 August 2022. [fw/em]