Statements of the Director General
15 September 2003 | Vienna, Austria
IAEA General Conference
Statement to the Forty-seventh Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference 2003
by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei
The past year has been a time of significant challenges and achievements for the Agency. In the area of verification, the Agency has been at the centre of attention and has demonstrated again its ability to perform objective and credible safeguards - but we continue to face a number of difficult and unresolved situations. In the area of safety and security, we see overall improvement and our work is making a difference, but much remains to be done. In the technology area, the Agency is contributing to sustainable development through its technical co-operation (TC) programme - with the benefits of nuclear applications increasingly recognized - but more partnerships are needed to optimize the use of these valuable technologies. And while nuclear power continues to hold great potential as a clean source of energy, it remains in a holding position due to a number of associated concerns.
Today is an opportunity for me to review with you in more detail some of the Agency’s activities in each of these areas.
Nuclear Power: Current Status and Outlook
The contribution of nuclear power to world electricity production has been stable, remaining at about 16% for the past few years. The world electricity market has been growing continuously during this period - at an average of 2.8% per year - and the growth in nuclear electricity generation has kept pace. Six new reactors were added to the grid in 2002, offsetting the retirement of four reactors during the year. This increased production has been complemented by further increases in on-line availability for nuclear power plants - as the result of better operational and outage management practices.
Looking ahead in the near term, there are now 33 reactors under construction, 20 of which are in the Far East or South Asia. In other regions, the more immediate focus is on power upgrades, restarts of previously shutdown reactors, and licence extensions. Sixteen reactors in the United States of America have had their operating licences extended to 60 years, with many more applications under review. The Russian Federation and a number of other countries are also beginning programmes of licence extension. The Agency manages a range of activities to assist interested Member States in various aspects of licence extension, including outage optimization strategies, outage performance indicators, predictive maintenance, modification of technical specifications and ageing management.
Medium term projections for nuclear power are, however, uncertain. Most studies predict that nuclear power generation will continue to increase in the near term, but Agency and other projections show the nuclear share falling to about 12% of global production by 2030. According to a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, even if nuclear power were only to maintain its current share of the world electricity market, this would require the construction of 700 new 1000 MW reactors by the year 2050 - nearly double the current nuclear capacity.
But any major increase in the number of nuclear reactors will require the nuclear community to meet a number of challenges: achieving advances in innovative and evolutionary technology; meeting concerns about waste, proliferation, safety and security; and demonstrating new nuclear energy applications outside the electricity sector, such as hydrogen production and seawater desalination. I will briefly note a number of Agency activities relevant to these challenges.
Nuclear Power: Evolutionary and
Nearly 20 Member States are currently involved in national and international projects for the development of evolutionary and innovative reactor and fuel cycle designs, as well as accelerator driven systems. A number of countries are also exploring the use of nuclear reactors for the co-generation of hydrogen - which could make a substantial contribution to demands for cleaner energy in the transportation sector - and the Agency’s co-ordinated research projects in this area are exploring technological options for hydrogen production from both high temperature gas reactors and evolutionary water cooled reactors. The Agency has technical working groups focused on each reactor type - including water, gas and liquid metal cooled reactors - to provide a forum among interested Member States for information exchange, collaborative assessment and co-operative research. The role of innovation as a factor critical to the future of nuclear power, and the status of global efforts in this area, were highlighted at an international conference in June on innovative technologies for the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear power.
The Agency’s International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) published its final report on Phase 1A in June. The report defined “user requirements” in five areas - economics, environmental impacts, safety, waste management and proliferation resistance - for incorporation into nuclear R&D projects. The report provided an assessment method for applying INPRO’s user requirements to specific innovative nuclear concepts and designs.
Nuclear Power: Addressing
Waste and Fuel Cycle Concerns
Regarding the long term management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, we are seeing slow but steady progress. In Finland and the USA, efforts are continuing towards the construction of geologic repositories at Olkiluoto and Yucca Mountain, based on approvals of the respective Governments. In Canada, the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act came into force this past November; this requires the owners of spent fuel to develop a management and disposal plan within three years. In Europe, the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport of the European Commission recently proposed a directive that would require Member States of the European Union to decide on repository sites by 2008 and to have the sites operational by 2018. In July, Russia took steps to implement a new law allowing the storage and reprocessing of foreign spent fuel, and a number of Asian countries have begun work on siting programmes and the characterization of potential sites for underground repositories for high level radioactive waste.
Technology advances are also underway in the waste area. Ongoing R&D activities in France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the USA are seeking to use accelerator driven systems to incinerate and transmute long lived waste, in order to reduce the volume and radiotoxicity of waste to be sent to geologic repositories. The Agency is supporting this area of research through co-ordinated research projects, information exchange in technical working groups and topical meetings, database support and training.
In June, at a major Agency conference on power reactor fuel storage, a number of organizations made clear that they are considering the extension of spent fuel storage times to 100 years or longer. This will require more advanced storage technologies, assessments of the safety implications of extended storage, the extension of storage licences for existing facilities, and sustainable institutional frameworks. We expect increasing demand for Agency assistance, therefore, as spent fuel accumulates and requirements expand for storage.
The number of successfully completed decommissioning projects is steadily increasing, together with confidence in the feasibility of safe decommissioning. Some Member States choose to immediately dismantle their nuclear facilities, while others continue to opt for long term safe enclosure and delayed dismantling. This choice depends on considerations such as the availability of waste disposal sites, spent fuel storage options, financial resources and radiological exposure. Based on currently licensed operating periods, the number of decommissioned reactors either being dismantled or awaiting dismantling is expected to grow to about 160 over the next 7–10 years. The Agency continues to provide technical assistance to ongoing decommissioning projects in Bulgaria, China, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine, and provides relevant safety standards and technical guidance. We expect to see an increasing demand for Agency assistance in this area as well in the next few years.
Nuclear Power: Building
Capacity in Member States
Almost two billion people - nearly one third of the population of the planet - remain without access to modern energy supplies. The Agency’s recognition of this situation underlies our assistance to interested Member States in conducting comparative assessments of energy options, to understand whether and when nuclear power would be an optimal source of energy, and to support the development of infrastructure and capability in those countries that decide to proceed with the nuclear power option. An initial country profile on sustainable energy development in Brazil is nearing completion, and we are also embarking on a similar profile for South Africa.
Nuclear Knowledge Management:
a Cross-Cutting Issue
Whether or not nuclear power witnesses an expansion in the coming decades, it is essential that we preserve nuclear scientific and technical competence for the safe operation of existing facilities and applications. Effective management of nuclear knowledge should include succession planning for the nuclear work force, the maintenance of the ‘nuclear safety case’ for operational reactors, and retention of the nuclear knowledge accumulated over the past six decades.
This is a growing concern for many of our Member States, and is a topic that relates to all areas of Agency activity. Two pilot projects are already underway, one to preserve knowledge on fast reactors and a second to build a knowledge base on high temperature gas cooled reactors. The establishment of an Asian network for higher education in nuclear technology will be used to pool, analyse and share regional nuclear knowledge and experience, and an Asian nuclear safety network is already doing the same for safety knowledge and experience; both are envisaged to serve as models for other regional networks for nuclear knowledge management. And a substantial area of Agency activity involves assisting Member States with capacity building and human resources development - through education programmes, hands on training, and knowledge transfer - in ways best suited to their desired uses of nuclear technology.
The launch of the World Nuclear University (WNU) earlier this month in London, at the annual symposium of the World Nuclear Association, is in my view a positive development. The WNU will essentially consist of a global network of established academic institutions and research centres with programmes in nuclear science and engineering. The key objectives will be to foster co-operation for mutual benefit among these institutions, and to promote a broader appreciation - particularly among students choosing career paths - of the opportunities available in nuclear vocations. The Agency plans to participate in WNU studies on various aspects of nuclear education and training, and we will endeavour to maximize the accessibility of WNU courses to students from Member States.
on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Before leaving my discussion of nuclear power and the nuclear fuel cycle, I should mention that both the INPRO report and other studies have stressed the fact that the area of fuel cycle design and operation may face a number of critical choices for the future, in part to address proliferation and waste management concerns. This is an important issue that has been discussed over the years, but in my view now merits serious consideration, as part of our effort to cope with the increasing non-proliferation, safety, security and technical challenges facing nuclear power. Such a consideration should include the merits of limiting the use of weapons usable material (plutonium and high enriched uranium) in civilian nuclear programmes, by permitting it only under multilateral control. Similarly, we should also consider limiting the processing of such material - and the production of new material through reprocessing and enrichment - to international centres. These limitations would need to be accompanied by appropriate rules of transparency, control and above all assurance of supply. It is clear that strengthened control of weapons usable material is key to our efforts to strengthen non-proliferation and enhance security.
Our consideration should also include the merits of multinational approaches to the management and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste. Not all countries have the appropriate conditions for geologic disposal - and, for many countries with small nuclear programmes for electricity generation or for research, the financial and human resource investments required for research, construction and operation of a geologic disposal facility are daunting. Considerable economic, safety, security and non-proliferation advantages may therefore accrue from international co-operation on the construction and operation of international waste repositories. In my view, the merits and feasibility of these and other approaches to the design and management of the nuclear fuel cycle should be given in-depth consideration. The convening of an Agency group of experts could be a useful first step.
Nuclear Power: Looking
Next year will mark 50 years since electricity generated by nuclear power was first connected to a national grid, in Obninsk, Russia, in June 1954. I believe it is important to review the achievements and the lessons learned from 50 years of nuclear power generation - a topic that will be the focus of an international conference under Agency auspices in Obninsk next June. Later in 2004, we also plan to hold a conference at the ministerial level in Paris, to examine the policies and prospects for nuclear energy in the 21st century.
The choice of whether to use nuclear power remains a national prerogative. The Agency’s statutory role, however, is to foster safety, security and technological development, to support efforts to ensure the continued availability of nuclear energy for those who want to make use of it.
In the coming year, the Agency will focus on a number of high priority issues related to nuclear power: supporting innovative approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle; promoting quality assurance; assisting Member States with energy planning assessments; promoting research, training and other forms of co-operation on waste management; assisting Member State with their licence extension and decommissioning efforts; supporting new nuclear energy uses; and improving the management of nuclear knowledge.
A major part of the Agency’s technology related activity is focused on the sharing and transfer of nuclear technology in applications other than nuclear power. Under both the regular budget and technical co-operation programmes, many of these applications are gaining increasing importance as tools for social and economic development. Our approach continues to be needs driven, guided by comparative assessments to ensure that nuclear technologies are used only when they provide the best solution.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of new cancer cases in the developing world is expected to double to ten million annually by 2015, as life expectancy increases and lifestyles change. However, most developing countries do not have enough health professionals or radiotherapy machines to treat their cancer patients safely and effectively. Indeed, some 15 African nations and several countries in Asia lack even one radiation therapy machine. And in many cases the safety and regulatory infrastructure must be built up considerably before the relevant equipment - and the associated radioactive sources - can be safely and securely transferred.
The Agency provides training, expert missions and equipment to support national and regional efforts to improve cancer therapy and other human health programmes, working with key partners such as WHO. A highly visible result of Agency support through TC projects across Africa has been an increase of approximately 35%, over the past five years, in the number of cancer patients receiving treatment in participating countries of the African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA) - an increase of approximately 6500 patients per year. In addition, Agency training has led to a reduction in machine downtime and helped to improve the managerial skills of radiation oncologists and radiographers, which in turn has lowered the overall cost of treatment.
The Agency also has a number of key initiatives related to nuclear medicine. Over the past year, in West Asia alone, five nuclear medicine courses were held to provide specialized training for more than 100 physicians and technologists from the region. In Albania, with the Agency’s support, the first technetium-99m radiopharmaceutical kits were produced locally last year, for use in Albanian hospitals. And we have been working hard to develop advanced information and communication tools that can promote broader access to nuclear medicine in developing countries. A ‘tele-nuclear-medicine’ link has been established between Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, to facilitate remote diagnosis and treatment, and another such link is being established among 15 countries in Latin America. We have also developed an Internet based training programme that will be made available to all nuclear medicine professionals in developing countries.
Water Resources Management
Improving the availability of the world’s water resources is recognized as an area of crucial importance for development. More than one sixth of the world’s population lives in areas without adequate access to safe drinking water - a situation that is expected to worsen significantly unless the international community takes prompt and effective action. Isotope hydrology is being used, in more than 80 TC projects, to map underground aquifers, manage surface water and groundwater, detect and control pollution, and monitor dam leakage and safety. An ongoing regional isotope hydrology project in Latin America has brought together more than 30 water institutes to address water shortages, with the successful completion of conceptual models for a total of seven aquifers in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. In Yemen, the Agency has assisted with the assessment of the deep and shallow groundwater system in the region of the Sana’a basin. In Africa, Member States have requested a number of sub-regional projects related to shared aquifers, such as the sustainable development and equitable use of the common water resources of the Nile Basin, the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, the Iullemeden Aquifer and the North Western Sahara Aquifer.
The Agency is also supporting Member State efforts to explore desalination of seawater using nuclear energy. At the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan, a reverse osmosis facility has been in service since 2000, producing about 450 cubic metres of fresh water per day. In India, at the Kalpakkam nuclear power plant, a desalination plant designed to produce 6300 cubic metres of fresh water per day is undergoing commissioning. And in the Republic of Korea, a design has been developed for a nuclear desalination plant, using the SMART reactor, which would supply 40 000 cubic metres of fresh water per day and 90 MW of electricity.
Plant Mutation and Breeding
For many years, the Agency has been working with Member States on mutation breeding of major food crops, and we are now seeing important results emerging in the form of commercial crops. One example is the improvement in rice varieties in Asia and the Pacific region; following trials for mutant varieties of rice in nine Asian countries, we were able to identify many strains that yield very well in different ecological conditions. Last month in Indonesia, Members of Parliament attended a harvesting ceremony to recognize the positive and sustained economic impact of a variety of rice with higher yield and better quality, produced using gamma rays, which has successfully been introduced in 20 Indonesian provinces. We anticipate the release of at least seven new varieties of rice in the region during the next three to five years. A regional TC project completed last year has also brought new, valuable mutated germplasm - the basic genetic material for plant breeding - to 12 countries of Asia and the Pacific region.
Sterile Insect Technique
In past years I have reported extensively to the General Conference on our efforts to use the sterile insect technique (SIT) to control the tsetse fly in Africa - and our work in that area is continuing. I would also note, however, our success with using SIT against other insect pests. For example, over the past six years, the Agency has been collaborating with authorities in Thailand in combating the oriental fruit fly, and recently the Guava fruit fly, by integrating SIT with other monitoring and control methods.
In the area of humanitarian de-mining, the PELAN fast neutron mine detection system was field tested last year in Croatia, in co-operation with scientific staff from the Croatian Mine Action Centre. Testing showed that the device could reliably identify certain sizes of mines at various depths under the soil in dry conditions, but more work has to be done to enable reliable detection of the smaller anti?personnel mines and for detecting mines in wet soil conditions.
The laboratories at Seibersdorf continue to support Agency programmes related to agriculture, human health, nuclear instrumentation, water resources, radiation protection and safety, and safeguards. The laboratory also continues to provide assistance to Member States in the calibration of dosimeters for national standards laboratories, and audit services to ensure the reliability of radiation doses delivered in radiotherapy hospitals and research institutes worldwide. Annually, we perform about 60 system calibrations and 400 dosimeter checks for hospital radiotherapy beams, in addition to training dozens of medical physicists.
This year we also inaugurated a small mosquito rearing laboratory at Seibersdorf, to develop SIT technology for malaria-transmitting mosquitoes - including mass rearing techniques, radiation sterilization strategies and the development of genetic sexing strains. Several years of research will be needed before extensive field trials will be practicable.
In the near future, we intend to introduce terrestrial radioecology programmes at Seibersdorf, to create urgently needed capacity for the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites after both radioactive and conventional pollution.
Last November, the Agency’s new deep underground counting laboratory was inaugurated in Monaco, with additional funding from Japan and the Monagasque Government. The underground location reduces background interference from cosmic radiation and other sources, and allows significantly reduced measuring times and/or sample volumes, greatly enhancing the efficiency of both field sampling and laboratory work.
Co-ordinated Research Projects
Demand for participation in Agency co-ordinated research projects (CRPs) remains high, as a means of bringing together research institutes in developing and developed Member States to collaborate on topics of interest. Currently, the Agency spends about $6.4 million per year on 132 active CRPs, which cover most aspects of the technical work of the Agency, including cutting edge nuclear techniques related to liver cancer therapy, drug resistance, child health, the development of radiation modified crops for harsh environments, and - as part of recently expanded efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism - research to improve the sensitivity of instruments used to detect illicit trafficking of nuclear material.
Participation in a CRP helps Member States to understand the potential of a given nuclear application, and CRP results, such as those from research into new plant strains, often lead to TC project requests. In an effort to make the CRP system more transparent and accessible to Member State research institutions, we have developed a new interactive web site that provides much more information online to Member States. We are also continuing to introduce so-called ‘doctoral CRPs’, which pair young PhD students in developing countries with professors from research institutions in developed countries, thus combining educational and research objectives.
Future Challenges in Nuclear
Looking forward, it is clear that we must increase our efforts to provide Member States and the public at large with objective information about the range of nuclear technologies available - to achieve a more balanced view of the benefits of nuclear energy - and using comparative assessments, where applicable, to enable Member States to make informed choices about how best to use these technologies to address development needs. Where applicable, we will pursue partnerships with other organizations when their technical expertise can enhance the benefit of a given nuclear application. And we will continue to pursue additional applications for isotope hydrology, improved global access to nuclear medicine and radiotherapy techniques, further research into plant strains adaptable to harsh environments, and the development of terrestrial radioecology techniques that can assist with the cleanup of nuclear legacy and other contaminated sites.
The safety and security of nuclear activities around the globe remain a key factor for the future of nuclear technology. It is gratifying to note that nuclear safety continues to improve at power plants worldwide, that more and more countries are raising their standards of performance in radiation protection, and that significant steps have been taken in the past two years to improve nuclear security. However, more work needs to be done, particularly as public demands for greater transparency and accountability on safety issues are widely voiced in many countries. The need for a more effective and transparent global nuclear safety and security regime, therefore, continues to be a high priority.
The Agency actively promotes the sharing of nuclear facility operating information. National regulatory bodies and the nuclear power industry also actively share operating experience, and both the IAEA and the World Association of Nuclear Operators communicate the lessons learned from international experience through their peer review programmes. But despite continued efforts by the entire nuclear community to share lessons learned from events that have occurred in nuclear facilities throughout the world, incidents with similar root causes continue to recur - often with safety culture implications. This has been seen in Member States with both robust and evolving regulatory infrastructures, as evidenced by occurrences in recent years in countries such as France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Sweden and the USA. A focused commitment is needed to ensure that lessons learned in one country are effectively and thoroughly communicated to all countries, and that these lessons are incorporated into the operational and regulatory practices of all relevant nuclear facilities.
Safety of Research Reactors
Currently, over 270 research reactors are in operation around the world, more than 200 are shut down and nearly 170 have been decommissioned. The safety of research reactors and the associated management and disposal of research reactor fuel continue to be areas of Agency emphasis. In that regard, the USA in 1996 initiated efforts to have spent research reactor fuel of US origin returned to the USA for disposal, and I am pleased that efforts towards the same objective for research reactor fuel of Russian origin are being discussed. A broad Agency initiative in this area is the development of a Code of Conduct on the Safety of Research Reactors, which I intend to submit for the consideration of the Board in due time.
Status of International Conventions
The development and adoption of legally binding international agreements has proven to be a powerful mechanism for enhancing safety worldwide. One area of current focus is the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, for which the first review meeting starts in Vienna on 3 November 2003. Thirty-two contracting parties have submitted their own national reports, and are now reviewing and commenting on those of the other contracting parties. At the review meeting, they will discuss these reports and compile a summary of their observations and conclusions. This summary will provide a first snapshot of the state of the safety of spent fuel management and radioactive waste management in States party to the Convention. I would note, however, that many States are not yet contracting parties, and in that sense this snapshot will be far from global. All States, including those with no nuclear power plants or research reactors, have radioactive waste that must be managed safely. I would urge all States to adhere to the Convention.
Within the framework of co-operation established under the Early Notification and Assistance Conventions, the Agency completed missions to assist Bolivia, Ecuador, Nigeria and the United Republic of Tanzania with the recovery, characterization and securing of radioactive sources seized in illicit trafficking incidents. And in June, 55 Member States participated in the second meeting of representatives of competent authorities identified under these conventions - a step that I hope will begin the transformation of the emergency conventions from purely reactive to more proactive mechanisms for enhancing emergency preparedness and response.
The Convention on Nuclear Safety is now approaching its third review cycle. Contracting parties will need to submit their national reports by next September, in advance of the review meeting in April 2005. To assist in this process, and at the request of last year’s review meeting, the Agency is preparing a report for the contracting parties describing generic issues and trends in the safety of nuclear power reactors as identified by the Secretariat through our various services.
In the past two years, 20 additional States have become party to the 1979 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), making a total of 89 States parties. This increase reflects the importance being given to the CPPNM as part of the international nuclear security regime. In September 2001, I convened an open-ended group of legal and technical experts to prepare a draft amendment to the CPPNM. Finally, this past March, the group was able to adopt a report, which I have distributed to all States parties. The possible amendments identified in the report would extend the scope of the CPPNM to cover, inter alia, the physical protection of nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport, and the protection of nuclear material and facilities against sabotage. However, the prepared text still contains a number of bracketed clauses on which the group was not able to reach agreement. I would urge States parties to work rapidly towards consensus on these outstanding issues, in order to have a Diplomatic Conference to adopt the proposed amendments at an early date.
Establishment of Global
I am pleased to report good progress in the continuing revision and updating of Agency safety standards. Our aim is to complete our upgrades to all existing Agency standards by late next year. In addition, we hope to have filled in the remaining gaps in coverage - such as establishing internationally accepted safety standards on geologic waste repositories - and to implement a more coherent structure for the body of safety standards, over the next three to four years. Our aim is to have these standards accepted and implemented worldwide, as the global reference for protecting people and the environment.
The Agency’s safety review and appraisal services assist Member States in the application of IAEA safety standards, and provide useful feedback on their effectiveness. These services originated predominantly in the field of nuclear installation safety, but now extend to cover many areas of radiation, radioactive waste and transport safety as well. I should note that, in particular, safety services and assistance to countries of Central and Eastern Europe operating power reactors has been at the centre of the technical co-operation programmes of those countries for the past decade - resulting in a broad and significant positive impact on the operational safety of those facilities.
Demand for Agency services continues to be very strong; the Annual Report for 2002 lists more than 60 safety missions of various types to 29 States. Collectively, the results of the services constitute a substantial body of safety experience from around the world.
As part of the Agency’s efforts to enhance global safety, I should mention that I have reconstituted the International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group with new terms of reference and membership, with the aim to have it as an authoritative source of recommendations and opinions on current and emerging safety issues in nuclear installations.
International Expert Group
on Nuclear Liability
I should also mention that, with a view to fostering a global and effective nuclear liability regime, I have decided to establish an International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX). The Group will serve three major functions, namely: to explore and provide expert advice on general issues relating to nuclear liability and the need to develop further the Agency’s nuclear liability regime; to promote global adherence by nuclear and non-nuclear States to this regime; and to assist Member States in developing and strengthening their national legal frameworks related to nuclear liability.
Safety of Transport of Radioactive Material
While the transport of spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive material has been conducted for decades successfully and without serious accidents, many Member States continue to express concern over the risks involved in maritime transport. As part of the Secretariat’s efforts to promote dialogue among Member States, a widely attended international conference was held here in Vienna in July. Most of the technical issues were successfully addressed during the conference; however, given the complexity of some topics - notably, nuclear liability and communications - not all areas of disagreement between Member States were resolved. The Agency will continue to promote constructive dialogue on these topics.
Transport Safety Appraisal Service (TranSAS) missions have been conducted this year to Turkey and Panama, and a pre-TranSAS visit was made to France. Together with previous missions to Brazil, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, the TranSAS service has now covered some of the key States involved in the maritime transport of radioactive material. I would hope that these missions can help to build confidence in the safety of international radioactive material transport, and that these successes will encourage other States - particularly those with large programmes for transporting radioactive material - to request this service.
Nuclear Security and Protection Against Nuclear Terrorism
Agency efforts to help Member States increase their nuclear security are continuing at an exceptionally fast pace on multiple fronts. Measures to prevent the theft of nuclear material and the sabotage of nuclear facilities remain a high Agency priority, and concerns about the threat of radiological terrorism have given increased emphasis to measures to improve the security of other radioactive material and to counter illicit trafficking.
Since September 2001, working in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, we have conducted a total of 40 advisory and evaluation missions, and convened a total of 60 training courses, workshops and seminars. A major international conference was held last October in Karlsruhe, Germany, focused on helping States to make use of advanced analytical methods for nuclear material seized in illicit trafficking incidents, and to improve co-ordination between the nuclear scientific community and the law enforcement community. International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) missions and follow-up missions were carried out in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine. Requests for eight additional IPPAS missions in Latin America, Europe and Asia are currently being processed. Regional training courses in physical protection were held in Asia, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, and similar courses are to be given in Africa and Latin America. One international course in the USA is taking place now, and another is planned for next month.
The identification and protection of vulnerabilities in nuclear installations is one area in which safety and security aspects merge. Workshops on safety measures contributing to the security of nuclear installations were held in Hungary, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey. On a related note, at an Agency conference in Rabat, Morocco earlier this month, Member States acknowledged the positive impact of the Agency Model Projects to upgrade national radiation protection infrastructures - but, in addition to noting the continuing need for radiation safety enhancements, asked for Agency guidance on how to reconcile the need for transparency, in matters of radiation safety, with the need for confidentiality, from a security perspective.
Evaluation missions have been held throughout Eastern Europe, Africa and Central America to assess Member State capabilities to detect nuclear and other radioactive material at their borders, and to help them respond to illicit trafficking. Significant progress has been made in developing and revising existing guidance to assist Member States in the development of emergency plans to respond to radiological emergencies resulting from malicious acts, and in the detection of and response to acts of illicit trafficking.
The Agency is also strengthening its co-operation with other international organizations, including the UN and its specialized agencies, Interpol, Europol, the Universal Postal Union and the European Commission. Activities in this regard include international conferences, training and exchange of information, as well as collaboration through interagency co-operation committees.
A total of nearly $23 million has been pledged to the Nuclear Security Fund in voluntary contributions from 21 countries and one donor organization, of which over $13 million has been received. Clearly, much more work remains to be done in this important area, and I encourage more and continued financial support.
Safety and Security
of Radioactive Sources
Despite the increased level of attention given to the security of radioactive sources since September 2001, many countries still lack the programmes and the resources to properly respond to the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism. Information in the Agency database of illicit trafficking, combined with reports of discoveries of plans for radiological dispersal devices, makes it clear that there is a market for obtaining and using radioactive sources for malevolent purposes. Given the apparent readiness of terrorists to disregard their own safety, the personal danger from handling powerful radioactive sources can no longer be seen as an effective deterrent. Although fortunately there have been no instances of the use of a radiological dispersal device, it is clear that the potential for such devices must be guarded against.
These concerns were the focus of a major international conference held here in Vienna in March. The conference emphasized the need for the Agency to assist States with locating and securing orphaned radioactive sources, encourage the development of strong national regulatory oversight bodies and national source registries, provide training and assistance on improving border controls and preventing illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials, and promulgate guidance on how to strengthen these national and international efforts. Findings from the conference have been reflected in the revision of the action plan for the safety and security of radioactive sources and the revision of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Sources - both of which were approved last week by the Board of Governors. Implementation of the action plan and the Code of Conduct will greatly improve safety and security in this area.
The three-way initiative by Russia, the USA and the Agency, which seeks to secure vulnerable radioactive sources within the countries of the former Soviet Union, has so far resulted in missions to the Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan, with further missions scheduled for seven additional countries. The Agency has also been working to assist developing countries in ensuring that sealed sources can be used and disposed of safely and securely. For example, we have assisted Angola, Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire in organizing the return of sealed sources to their manufacturers.
Future Challenges in Nuclear Safety
While much has been achieved in the area of nuclear safety and security, I should conclude my review of this area by emphasizing the improvements still needed in remaining areas of apparent vulnerability - such as learning from recurring events, enhancing research reactor safety, continuing to enhance transport safety and tightening the control of radioactive sources. The strengthening of a global nuclear safety culture - characterized by broad adherence to existing safety conventions, the adoption of legally binding agreements for the remaining areas of nuclear activity, the universal application of the complete set of safety standards, and increased collaboration with relevant international organizations such as the OECD/NEA and WHO - will do much to address these vulnerabilities. And while the volume and scope of activities relevant to protection against nuclear terrorism demonstrate the Agency’s ability to respond rapidly and with flexibility to emerging priorities, it is clear that we must be able to sustain the pace of this effort if we are to be successful - particularly in the combating of illicit trafficking; the protection of nuclear installations and nuclear and other radioactive material from sabotage; and the response to threats that could lead to radiological emergencies.
The strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime is becoming more important than ever. Events of the past year have placed the regime under stress on multiple fronts, and have made it clear that concrete steps to strengthen the regime are urgently required. The Agency’s role as an independent, objective verification body remains central to the effectiveness of the regime.
Safeguards Implementation Report
In the Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) for 2002, the Agency concludes that, in 145 States (and Taiwan, China) with safeguards agreements in force, with the exception of the nuclear material in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the nuclear material and other items placed under safeguards remained in peaceful use or were otherwise adequately accounted for. Moreover, in the case of 13 States having in force both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol, the Agency, having found no indication of the existence of undeclared nuclear material or activities, was also able to provide broader assurance, concluding that all nuclear material in those States had been declared and remained under safeguards.
Status of Comprehensive Safeguards
Agreements and Additional Protocols
In response to last year’s General Conference resolution, the Secretariat increased its efforts to promote the strengthened safeguards system through the conclusion of safeguards agreements and additional protocols. Regional seminars were held in Malaysia, Romania and Uzbekistan, with the financial support of Japan and the USA. These seminars were intended to deepen the understanding of participating State officials about the role of safeguards agreements and additional protocols in promoting global and regional non-proliferation and security objectives.
Since my statement at last year’s General Conference, safeguards agreements have entered into force for Burkina Faso and Georgia, and the validity of Albania’s comprehensive safeguards agreement under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was confirmed by an exchange of letters. Additional protocols entered into force for Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Georgia, Jamaica, Kuwait and Mongolia. At this time, additional protocols have been signed with 76 States and have entered into force for 36 of those.
Clearly, the number of safeguards agreements and additional protocols in force remains well below expectations. Forty-seven States have yet to fulfil their legal obligations under the NPT to bring safeguards agreements with the Agency into force, and more than six years after the Board’s approval of the Model Additional Protocol, over 150 countries still do not have an additional protocol in force.
I strongly urge all States that have not done so to conclude and bring into force the required safeguards agreements and additional protocols at an early date. As I have repeatedly stated, without the conclusion of the required safeguards agreements, the Agency cannot provide any assurance about compliance by States with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. And without the additional protocol, the Agency can provide little to no assurances about the absence of undeclared material or activities. For the Agency to provide the required assurances, it must have the required authority.
Last year I reported to you that the conceptual framework for integrated safeguards was completed, meaning that the necessary safeguards concepts, approaches, guidelines and criteria were sufficiently developed to begin implementing integrated safeguards in States where the requisite safeguards conclusions had been drawn. As I have mentioned before, integrated safeguards aims to improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of verification activities by integrating traditional nuclear material verification activities with new strengthening measures, particularly those of the additional protocol. We also continue to develop and improve our technological capability to detect undeclared nuclear materials and activities. At this point, integrated safeguards are being implemented in three States: Australia, Indonesia and Norway.
The first States in which integrated safeguards have been implemented have relatively small nuclear programmes. In the near future, we expect to begin implementing integrated safeguards in States with much larger nuclear programmes, including Canada, Hungary and Japan.
In this context, I should mention that I have recently initiated an evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of the safeguards strengthening measures we have been implementing. The evaluation will be undertaken by independent external evaluators, under the auspices of the Agency’s Office of Internal Oversight Services. I have also asked the Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation (SAGSI) to undertake a focused technical review of the safeguards criteria.
Implementation of Safeguards
in the DPRK
The situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to pose a serious and immediate challenge to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
As I have reported repeatedly to the Board, since 1993 the Agency has been unable to implement fully its comprehensive NPT safeguards agreement with the DPRK. The Agency has never been allowed by the DPRK to verify the completeness and correctness of the DPRK’s initial 1992 declaration - specifically, that the DPRK has declared all the nuclear material that is subject to Agency safeguards under its NPT safeguards agreement. From November 1994, the Agency was only allowed to monitor the “freeze” of the DPRK’s graphite moderated reactor and related facilities, in connection with the “Agreed Framework” between the DPRK and the USA. This continued until the end of December 2002, when the Agency’s inspectors were withdrawn at the request of the DPRK. Since that time, the Agency has not performed any verification activities in the DPRK and cannot therefore provide any level of assurance about the non-diversion of nuclear material.
The six-party talks that recently took place in Beijing were clearly a step in the right direction towards a comprehensive resolution of the Korean crisis. I do hope that the dialogue will continue, and I trust that any future settlement will ensure the return of the DPRK to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and that the Agency will be given the necessary authority and resources, and be provided with all available information, to be able to fulfil its responsibilities under the NPT in a credible manner. I also hope that the Agency will be consulted at an early stage on verification requirements.
Implementation of United
Nations Security Council Resolutions Relating to Iraq
After an interruption of nearly four years, last November the Agency resumed verification activities in Iraq under the mandate provided by UN Security Council Resolution 687 and related resolutions. In December 1998, we had reported to the Security Council that, based on our inspections over a period of more than seven years, there was no indication of Iraq having achieved its goal of producing a nuclear weapon, nor were there any indications that there remained in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons usable material of any practical significance.
Between November 2002 and March 2003, Agency inspection teams carried out extensive inspection activities in Iraq. The Agency sought to determine what, if anything, had changed in Iraq over the previous four years relevant to Iraq’s nuclear activities and capabilities.
At the time the Agency ceased its Security Council verification activities in Iraq - in consultation with the President of the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General, and out of concern for the safety of its staff - we had found no evidence of the revival of nuclear activities prohibited under relevant Security Council resolutions. However, considering the four-year absence of Agency inspectors from Iraq, the time available for the renewed inspections was not sufficient to permit the Agency to complete its overall review and assessment.
The Agency’s mandate in Iraq under various Security Council resolutions still stands. In May, the Security Council adopted resolution 1483 in which, inter alia, it expressed its intention to revisit the mandates of the IAEA and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). We are awaiting the results of that review and further guidance from the Council. In the meantime, I hope to be kept informed of the outcome of any current activities in Iraq that are relevant to our mandate. Nonetheless, I should emphasize that, irrespective of our mandate under Security Council resolutions, we have the continuing responsibility under Iraq’s NPT safeguards agreement with the Agency to ensure that, in accordance with that agreement, Iraq does not have any proscribed nuclear material or activities, and that all nuclear activities in Iraq are for peaceful purposes. We will continue, obviously, to fulfil that responsibility.
In July I reported to the Board and to the Security Council on our verification mission to Iraq in June. Our request for this mission was triggered by persistent media reports of looting. The mission was confined to verification of material subject to safeguards at ‘Location C’ Nuclear Storage Facility near Tuwaitha, where the looting had reportedly taken place. Our report noted that a small quantity of uranium compounds could have been dispersed. While fortunately neither the quantity nor the type of material involved would be sensitive from a proliferation point of view, I have called upon the Coalition Authority to ensure the physical protection of the entire nuclear inventory in Iraq.
Application of Agency Safeguards
in the Middle East
Pursuant to the mandate given to me by the General Conference, I have continued to consult with the States of the Middle East region on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in the Middle East, on the development of model agreements, and on a forum on the experience of other regions that would contribute to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Once again, I regret to report that due to the prevailing situation in the region I have not been in a position to make progress on the implementation of this important mandate, which is of direct relevance to non-proliferation and security in the Middle East. As before, I will continue to exert every effort within my authority. With the active co-operation of all concerned, I hope to move this mandate forward in the coming year.
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Board this year has given considerable attention to the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Last week the Board adopted a resolution urging Iran to show proactive and accelerated co-operation, and to demonstrate full transparency by providing the Agency with a complete and accurate declaration of all its nuclear activities. It is essential and urgent that all outstanding issues particularly those involving high enriched uranium — be brought to closure as soon as possible, to enable the Agency to provide the required assurances. As I have often stated, the more transparency that is provided, the more assurance we can give. This is in the interests of both Iran and the international community. I look forward, therefore, to a period of enhanced co-operation with Iran.
Agency Participation in Nuclear
For many years, I have reported to you on progress made under the initiative by Russia and the USA to submit nuclear material released from their military programmes to Agency verification, with a focus on the associated technical, legal and financial issues. Last September, I agreed with Minister Rumyantsev and Secretary Abraham that the initial phase of the work could now be concluded. We agreed that the verification concepts explored under that initiative would allow the Agency to derive credible and independent verification conclusions, while the States concerned would be able to ensure that sensitive information relating to the design or manufacture of nuclear weapons would not be divulged. The legal framework developed is ready to be used as the basis for the negotiation of agreements between the Agency and either State. We have yet to receive a request by either of the two States.
Future Challenges in Nuclear Verification
Agency verification continues to be a critical component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The effectiveness of Agency verification, however, is dependent on the Agency having the necessary authority and the required information and resources. An immediate priority of direct relevance to our work, therefore, is the conclusion of comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols by all States that have made non-proliferation commitments. It is also essential that Member States provide the Agency with all the information relevant to its work. Our aim is to continue to implement safeguards in a manner that increases overall effectiveness and efficiency. On the broader front, it is essential that the international community continues to work towards the universal application of the Agency’s safeguards system. This is key to the long term viability of the non-proliferation regime.
The Agency’s TC programme continues to be a principal mechanism for implementing the Agency’s basic mission: “Atoms for Peace”. Given our needs-driven approach, we continue to see wide variations in the TC programmes delivered to different countries and regions: while many States and regions focus primarily on development needs, other national and regional priorities are directed towards nuclear power plant safety, border controls, and other safety and security issues.
The Secretariat continues to work on measures to ensure that TC projects achieve lasting and concrete benefits to recipient Member States. Efforts are proceeding to improve the planning of national TC strategies through early and direct dialogue with Member States, to ensure strong government commitment and to focus on fewer but higher quality TC projects. Eighty-seven country programme frameworks are now in place as planning tools to design TC projects within the context of national priorities - 29 more than in the previous year. Thematic plans - which highlight particular technical areas in which a nuclear technology could have a significant impact - were prepared for food irradiation, river basin management and the use of isotopic techniques in the control of communicable diseases. We have also expanded our monitoring of the impact of TC projects, in order to increase project quality, relevance, effectiveness and sustainability.
Development of Partnerships
We continue to build and expand partnerships with other international organizations and development partners, with a view towards leveraging the Agency’s limited resources, attracting greater attention to the benefits of nuclear technologies, and in some cases drawing on the technical expertise of other organizations to enhance the impact of a nuclear technique.
For example, in the Agency has been recognized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an important resource in its initiative on the reduction of micronutrient malnutrition in Asia. Investigations carried out in Indonesia using stable isotopes to measure the effectiveness of fortified wheat flour have also attracted the co-sponsorship of UNICEF. The Indonesian experience is being used by other participating countries, such as China and Pakistan, to perform studies to formulate nutrition policies.
Another example builds on an Agency study in Cuba and Chile, in which isotope labeled water was used to understand energy expenditure in young children, and the results are now being used by an FAO/WHO/UNU expert committee to recommend revised child nutrition requirements. The outcomes will be used for two additional Agency studies - on low birth rates, and on obesity in adults - which in turn will be shared with the WHO for potential further uses.
Regional and Cross-regional
Technical Co-operation Among Developing Countries (TCDC)
The Agency is also working to reinforce technical co-operation among developing countries - that is, the pooling of their technical co-operation resources and expertise in areas of mutual benefit, both within and across regions. For example, Mexico and Guatemala currently have bilateral arrangements under which Mexico provides technical expertise to Guatemala in the implementation of a TC project. Chile and the Republic of Korea recently initiated bilateral co-operation, with Agency support, to share expertise on medical cyclotron applications and other nuclear techniques. And at the end of 2002 there were seven regional resource centres designated by AFRA to pool efforts in the areas of non-destructive techniques, plant mutation breeding, radiation oncology, radioactive waste management and the maintenance of scientific equipment.
Self-Reliance of Nuclear Institutions
Most of the nuclear institutions in developing countries are dependent largely on government or donor funding for their operations. This funding has been progressively decreasing, thereby endangering the survival of the institutions and risking the loss of their nuclear capacity. Several nuclear institutions have identified the inability to generate and retain revenue from services and products as a major barrier to self-reliance and sustainability.
The Agency has been providing these institutions with guidance and training on how to achieve self-reliance, in part by reviewing managerial practices, evaluating core competencies, and refocusing their operations on areas relevant to national development efforts. In Africa, through support provided under AFRA, at least ten national nuclear institutions have used this approach to become less dependent on external funding. In the East Asia and Pacific region, a regional project has similarly focused on helping nuclear institutes to achieve self-reliance by providing needed services and products to both the public and private sector, thereby generating sources of income and contributing directly to national development.
New External Communications Approach
Although the sharing and transfer of nuclear technology are used to address many development objectives in Member States, the public at large - as well as national and international decision makers - are often relatively unaware of these achievements. To address this gap in awareness, I have asked the Secretariat’s technical co-operation and public information experts to work together on a new ‘external communications approach’, with the participation of Member States. Through better communication, focused on a few thematic areas and a well defined audience - including donor groups and international development organizations - we hope to demonstrate the soundness of investments in nuclear technology and know-how for economic and social development.
Programme implementation in 2002, measured in financial terms, increased to an all-time high of $74.6 million, well above the previous record of $71.0 million attained in 2001. However, I should mention that implementation of the TC programme for 2003 has been constrained by world events - including the SARS epidemic and travel and transport restrictions resulting from closer attention to security issues - and will likely decrease somewhat in overall numbers. In addition, these constraints have made it increasingly difficult for the Agency to place fellows from many developing Member States in traditional host countries, and difficulties in obtaining visas have prevented a large number of participants from taking part in training courses, workshops and meetings. Your co-operation in helping us to address these difficulties is important.
I would also note that new resources received for the 2002 programme were down to $67.7 million, the lowest level since 1998. And although the target rate of attainment for contributions was set at 85% for 2002, the actual payments received corresponded to only about 80%. Pledges and payments to the Technical Co-operation Fund (TCF) so far in 2003 show an encouraging upward trend. Nevertheless, I would urge all Member States that have not already done so to pledge and pay their full share of the TCF target for 2003, in order to allow the TC programme to be fully implemented as planned and to provide a solid basis for the programme currently being finalized for 2004.
Future Challenges in Technical
While the TC programme continues to respond successfully to the needs and priorities of Member States, and the Agency consistently experiences increasing demand for TC support activities, it remains a challenge to secure sufficient resources to meet the demand. In the near term, we will continue to pursue ways of enhancing the impact of TC projects - through better up-front planning, increased monitoring of results, expanded partnerships, encouragement of self-reliance in national nuclear institutions, and reinforcement of technical co-operation among developing countries. We will also pursue a more proactive approach to external communication, to raise awareness of the developmental benefits of nuclear technologies and thereby to attract greater financial support.
Programme and Budget
I am pleased to say that - after many months of intensive consultations — the Board has recommended regular budget proposals for 2004 which, when coupled with the Board’s plan to phase in further increases over the next few years, up to and including 2007, should go a long way towards easing the Agency’s budgetary problems and enabling us to carry out our programme priorities. I am grateful for the hard work of the Board and of those Member States that participated in the discussions of the open-ended working group.
Naturally, the Secretariat and I remain mindful of the fact that with added funds there come additional responsibilities, and we continue to be committed to ensuring efficient and effective delivery of the Agency’s programme. As you know, in 1998 we introduced a process of management reforms, and since then have implemented a number of important changes, including: results based management; the medium term strategy; annual senior management conferences; streamlining of the structure and internal processes in the Secretariat; the use of information technology to enhance efficiency and organizational capacity; and most recently the appointment of co-ordinators for cross-cutting issues.
In addition to the safeguards programme reviews I mentioned earlier, an internal review is currently underway to examine our processes for managing the TC programme, including human resource requirements.
Overall, we are making efforts to ensure that the various management initiatives and reforms that have been introduced over recent years become part of the culture of the Secretariat.
We are coming soon to the end of the first full biennium employing full results based management. We will naturally be looking closely at the experience we have gained in order to apply lessons learned to the next programme and budget cycle. In this connection, I would urge all Member States that have not yet done so to accept the amendment to Article XIV.A of the Statute, which was approved at the 1999 General Conference, on the introduction of biennial budgeting. To date, only 33 Member States have lodged the required instrument of acceptance with the depositary government. This change is an important component in the Agency’s new results based approach that would enable us to fully implement a more effective programme and budgeting process.
Staffing of the Agency
In recruiting Agency staff, I am guided by principles articulated in Article VII of the Statute, where efficiency, technical competence and integrity are the paramount considerations in recruiting staff of the “highest standards”. In addition, I am mandated by the Statute and by General Conference resolutions to take into account: the contributions of Member States to the Agency; the importance of recruiting staff from as wide a geographical distribution as possible, including unrepresented and under-represented countries; increasing the number of staff from developing countries in senior level positions; and the need for equality of gender representation in Professional positions.
In the past six years, every effort has been made to implement the above criteria. I would like to inform you that the Agency now has 20% more Professional staff from developing countries. I will continue to fulfil my responsibilities with the best interests of the Agency in mind, and in accordance with Article VII of the Statute, the relevant General Conference resolution, and the Board approved staff regulations. However, I would need your help, as Member States, to assist the Agency by identifying and encouraging well qualified candidates from your countries to apply for vacant positions in the Agency.
International interest in nuclear issues continues to be at a high level, serving to raise the Agency’s media and public profiles. This high profile provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the Agency’s role not only in areas of immediate interest, but also with respect to all aspects of Agency work. The Secretariat strives to do this, inter alia, through its responses to the news media, on its web pages, and by its targeted multimedia products. For example, in the hundreds of media interviews over the past year related to non-proliferation issues, we have frequently taken the opportunity to remind our audiences of the many other areas of the Agency’s work. And just a few months ago, a press campaign on the role of radiotherapy in combating the growing problem of cancer in developing countries generated television, radio and press stories worldwide. We hope to be able to continue to generate broader awareness of all the ways in which our work benefits Member States.
After a number of years of reform efforts, I believe we can be proud of having achieved a ‘cutting edge’ degree of effectiveness and efficiency - but we continue to aim for better performance. Our TC programme has become much more results focused, but resources for the programme need to be more reliable - and we need to continue to expand our work with recipient governments and other partners to enhance the effectiveness of the programme.
On the technology front, while global warming is becoming an ever more serious threat worldwide, it is clear that the extent of the role of nuclear power, as a clean source of energy that could mitigate this threat and contribute to sustainable development, will depend on the success of the nuclear community in developing innovative technology and new approaches to address concerns. Non-power nuclear applications continue to demonstrate their increasing value, but we must use comparative assessments to ensure that the applications are employed only when they present the best solution, and we must continue to work with other technologies where they can enhance the benefits of a given nuclear technique.
On the safety and security front, we can take satisfaction in the degree of progress, but we must remain vigilant, and clearly much work is still urgently needed. In the verification area, we are working in an environment in which the non-proliferation regime is under growing stress. The Agency must therefore have all the required authority, information and resources to be able to provide the international community with credible assurances. The international community must also work on achieving the universality of the regime, addressing incentives for proliferation, achieving better control of weapons usable material, establishing a system of collective security that does not depend on nuclear weapons and making steady and accelerated progress towards nuclear disarmament.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ‘Atoms for Peace’ speech by US President Eisenhower, in which he articulated a vision, shared by many world leaders, that would enable humanity to make full use of the benefit of nuclear energy while minimizing its risk. It was this vision that led to the establishment of the Agency. Much has changed since that time, and I believe it is appropriate for us to take stock of our successes and failures - and to resolve to take whatever actions are required, including new ways of thinking and unconventional approaches, to ensure that nuclear energy remains a source of hope and prosperity for humanity, and not a tool for self-destruction.