Scientific Forum Opens in Vienna
Future Roles of IAEA in Nuclear Safety, Security, Safeguards and Development Debated
Participants at the Scientific Forum. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)
The nature and scope of the IAEA´s programme to 2020 and beyond was the theme of the Scientific Forum that opened today in Vienna. The theme was chosen to reflect on the challenges and issues facing the IAEA and the resources and requirements needed to meet them.
During the opening speech, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei described the magnitude of the issues lying ahead in the areas of nuclear safeguards, security, safety, and peaceful development. "We need to look at the big picture, where we are and where we wish to go. This is not only about the IAEA but the kind of world we want to live in, in terms of development and security and the links between those two areas," he said.
Referring to a report completed early this year by an international group of eminent persons, ElBaradei stressed the fact that under present conditions the IAEA is not entirely able to cope with the dramatic changes underway around the world because its financial resources and legal authority are insufficient to fulfill the task.
Former Prime Minister of Holland and Scientific Forum Chairman Ruud Lubbers then took the podium. He called for the competence, capacity and capability of the IAEA to be strengthened. "I hope that in this Scientific Forum we reach some common denominator among the IAEA and Member States."
Former US Senator and Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) Co-Chairman Sam Nunn, also a keynote speaker, pointed to the issue of scarcity of resources at a time when the world seems to be heading toward a dangerous direction. "There is a large and growing gap between the IAEA´s resources and the job needed to be done... It is my hope we give the IAEA the tools it needs to protect us all," he said.
The Scientific Forum will feature four sessions dedicated to nuclear energy, meeting development needs, nuclear safety and security, and IAEA safeguards and verification.
The Chairman´s summary of the Scientific Forum is to be presented to the Plenary assembly of the General Conference later in the week.