G8 Leaders Voice Support for IAEA Work
Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA Director General, and Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director General (left to right foreground), arrive in St. Petersburg to attend the G8 summit. (Photo: http://en.g8russia.ru/)
Leaders of the Group of 8 countries backed the IAEA´s work at their annual summit held 15-17 July 2006 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A concluding summary statement endorsed IAEA programmes and initiatives in areas of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards.
Global energy security was a major focus of the summit, with G8 leaders agreeing that dynamic and sustainable development of our civilization depends on reliable access to energy. "It is best assured by strengthened partnership between energy producing and consuming countries, including enhanced dialogue on growing energy interdependence, security of supply and demand issues", the statement said.
The G8 nations adopted a St. Petersburg Plan of Action to increase transparency, predictability and stability of the global energy markets, improve the investment climate in the energy sector, promote energy efficiency and energy saving, diversify energy mix, ensure physical safety of critical energy infrastructure, reduce energy poverty and address climate change and sustainable development. Under this plan, G8 nations undertake to reduce barriers to energy investment and trade, making it possible for companies from energy producing and consuming countries to invest in and acquire assets internationally.
G8 countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union also participates in the summit. At the St. Petersburg Summit, leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa and heads of the African Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the International Energy Agency, the IAEA, the United Nations, UNESCO, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization were invited to participate in the discussions.
In a statement on global energy security, the G8 said countries who have or are considering plans for nuclear energy believe it will contribute to global energy security while reducing air pollution and addressing climate change. The G8 said it acknowledged the efforts made in development by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) and the IAEA´s International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO). GIF and INPRO both bring together countries to develop next generation nuclear energy systems, including small reactors, very high temperature reactors and supercritical water-cooled reactors.
Recognizing that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, along with international terrorism, remains the central threat to international peace and security, the G8 nations reaffirmed their determination and commitment to act in concert and together with other States and organizations to fight proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including with a view to preventing WMD falling into the hands of terrorists.
The G8 Summit adopted a special statement on non-proliferation, which included:
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
The G8 reaffirmed its full commitment to all three pillars of the NPT and called on all States to comply with their NPT obligations, including IAEA safeguards as well as developing effective measures aimed at preventing trafficking in nuclear equipment, technology and materials.
The G8 is seeking universal adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements and is actively engaged in efforts to make comprehensive safeguards agreements together with an Additional Protocol the universally accepted verification standard. "We will also work together vigorously to establish the Additional Protocol as an essential new standard in the field of nuclear supply arrangements."
Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy
The G8 noted that an expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy must be carried forward in a manner consistent with nuclear non-proliferation commitments and standards. It discussed concrete proposals on multinational centres to provide nuclear fuel cycle services and recent initiative regarding a concept for a multilateral mechanism for reliable access to enrichment services for nuclear fuel.
G8 nations will continue to discuss these issues jointly with the IAEA to ensure that all States that conscientiously fulfil their non-proliferation obligations have guaranteed access to the benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Nuclear Safety and Security
The G8 supported the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, announced by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George Bush. "We look forward to working together with other like-minded nations and the IAEA to expand and accelerate efforts that develop partnership capacity to combat nuclear terrorism on a determined and systematic basis."
The G8 addressed the proliferation implications of Iran´s advanced nuclear programme and confirmed its commitment to see those implications resolved.
G8 leaders also addressed nuclear and other security concerns as well as humanitarian issues regarding North Korea. They expressed support for UN Security Council resolution 1695, condemning North Korea´s launches of ballistic missiles and urged the country to re-establish its pre-existing commitment to a moratorium on missile launching and to respond to other security and humanitarian concerns of the international community.
The G8 called upon all States to become parties, as soon as practicable, to the two most recent universal instruments to combat nuclear terrorism; namely, the International Convention for the Suppression of Act of Nuclear Terrorism, and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
They noted the results of the IAEA International Conference "Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems" held in Moscow in early March. An effective, efficient nuclear regulatory system is essential for our safety and security, they said, re-affirming the importance for national regulators to have sufficient authority, independence, and competence.
Safety & Security of Radioactive Sources
The G8 nations noted progress made to improve controls on radioactive sources and to prevent their unauthorized use. They reaffirmed commitment to fulfil the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources provisions, working to put into place the controls over the import/export of radioactive sources at the earliest possible date.
They welcomed the fact that more than 83 countries have committed to implement the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and urge all other states to adopt the Code. The G8 said it will continue to support international efforts to enhance regulatory controls on radioactive sources, in particular the Regional Model Projects, the IAEA program to help establish effective and sustainable regulatory infrastructures.