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2 December 2010 | Vienna, Austria

Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Mr. Chairman,

You have before you the Agency´s Technical Cooperation Programme for 2011, as recommended by the TACC. Comments provided by Member States on the substance of the Programme and evaluation activities in 2010 will be carefully studied.

The greatest emphasis in the TC Programme is on human health, but as usual there are different trends across regions. Member States in Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Europe are showing increasing interest in nuclear power, with related growth in safety and radiation protection projects. Europe and Latin America are also seeing growth in the area of knowledge management and facing the challenges of ageing personnel and infrastructure.

We have noted a major improvement in the quality and timeliness of project concepts submitted by Member States, which will facilitate programme implementation.

Technical Cooperation/Nuclear Applications

During the past twelve months, the Agency has intensified its work on cancer control in developing countries. I am pleased to inform you that our efforts have borne fruit. Contributions to our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) have been running at record levels, exceeding US $5.7 million so far this year. I am very grateful to France, the Republic of Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, Spain, the United States and the OPEC Fund for International Development for their support, as well as to our new private-sector partner Hoffmann-La Roche.

Our cooperation with the World Health Organization is going from strength to strength. PACT is widely seen by our Member States as a valuable mechanism to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of the IAEA´s cancer-related activities. We have received a growing number of requests for imPACT review missions and several additional countries have asked to become PACT Model Demonstration Sites. Later this month, we will distribute a journal compiling the expert recommendations from the Scientific Forum on cancer control in developing countries. I will continue to pay close attention to cancer control in the coming years.

In October, we launched the Human Health Campus, a dedicated website which will provide educational resources to health professionals working in nuclear medicine, radiation oncology, medical physics, and nutrition. The idea is to offer continuous medical education with an insight into the different aspects of modern clinical practice.

In November, the International Symposium on Standards, Applications and Quality Assurance in Medical Radiation Dosimetry took place in Vienna. Nearly 400 scientists took part in this unique symposium, which provided an opportunity for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and best practices in dosimetry quality assurance. We will continue to work with Member States to find ways to better support their growing need for dosimetry audits.

Elsewhere in nuclear applications, we are seeing steady growth in Member State interest in the use of nuclear techniques for water resource assessment, agricultural water management, and protecting the marine environment. These are among the most important issues for sustainable development. The Agency has a niche role in helping States to improve scientific understanding and build related capacity. There are already more than 100 technical cooperation projects related to water.

During the coming year, I aim to strengthen our activities related to water and raise awareness of the Agency´s role in assisting States. We will continue to work closely with other international organizations active in this field.

Nuclear Energy

Turning now to nuclear energy, we continue to support Member States in exploring or starting nuclear power programmes. I draw your attention to the workshop on the Introduction of Nuclear Power Programmes: Management and Evaluation of a National Nuclear Infrastructure which will be held in February 2011.

This workshop is an opportunity for newcomers to share perspectives on developing nuclear power policies, including for waste. They will also share lessons learned from self-evaluations of their infrastructure readiness and from the Agency´s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions.

The expansion of existing nuclear power programmes is a high priority in a large number of countries. Of the 29 countries with operating nuclear power plants, 24 countries have plans for an expansion. This means that the main growth in global nuclear power capacity in the next few decades is expected from these countries. Since 2008, Agency workshops have been held in Argentina, China, Lithuania and here in Vienna, addressing different aspects of expansion.

In some areas, such as construction and project management, the guidance documents that we are preparing apply to both new and expanding programmes. In other areas, such as setting a national strategy, the challenges are different, so separate guidance is being developed for countries with expanding programmes.

I am pleased to acknowledge that we have received some of the funds pledged by the United States as part of the Peaceful Uses Initiative. I am also grateful for other pledges that have been made since I last addressed the Board. This is timely and very welcome support.

Nuclear Safety and Security

Last month, the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security hosted a meeting on facilitating adherence to the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. Responsibility for nuclear security rests with each State. Adherence to the CPPNM Amendment can reduce the risk of nuclear material, facilities and transports falling into the wrong hands.

Two countries ratified the Amendment in the last month. I believe it is in everyone's interest to ensure that the Amendment is brought into force as quickly as possible.

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
Since my last report in September, Andorra informed us that it had brought into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement. Bahrain has signed an additional protocol. Albania brought into force an additional protocol, bringing the number of States with additional protocols in force to 103. I strongly hope that remaining States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible.

I also ask the 17 States without NPT safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay, and call on States with small quantities protocols that have not yet done so to amend or rescind their protocols.

Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea
Mr. Chairman, still fresh in our memory is the call by the General Conference last September for the DPRK to fully comply with its obligations under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, to come into full compliance with the NPT, to cooperate promptly with the Agency in the full and effective implementation of comprehensive Agency safeguards, and to resolve any outstanding issues that may have arisen due to the long absence of Agency safeguards.

I also recall that Security Council Resolution 1874 requires the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes and to act strictly in accordance with the obligations applicable to parties under the NPT and the terms and conditions of the IAEA Safeguards Agreement.

Against this background, it was with great concern that I learned of recent reports about a new uranium enrichment facility, as well as the construction of a light water reactor, in the DPRK.

To my regret, the Agency has not had inspectors in the DPRK since April last year, and the DPRK has not permitted the Agency to implement safeguards in the country since December 2002.

I urge the DPRK to fully implement all of the relevant resolutions of the General Conference and the Security Council. As the only multilateral organization for nuclear verification, the IAEA has an essential role to play in verifying the DPRK´s nuclear programme.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
As my report on Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran again makes clear, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

Iran is not implementing the requirements contained in the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, including implementation of the Additional Protocol, which are essential to building confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran´s nuclear programme. In particular, the Agency needs Iran´s cooperation in clarifying outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme, including by providing access to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the Agency.

I request Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations.

I would also like to welcome the forthcoming meeting between Iran and the EU 3 + 3 scheduled for next week in Geneva.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
Concerning the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Syria has not cooperated with the Agency since June 2008 in connection with the unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and some other locations. As a consequence, the Agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving the outstanding issues related to those sites.

I wrote a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic on 18 November 2010 to request the Government to provide the Agency with prompt access to relevant information and locations related to Dair Alzour. I also requested Syria´s cooperation regarding the Agency´s verification activities in general.

Assurance of Supply

Mr. Chairman,

As you know, Member States have for several years been discussing possible mechanisms to ensure reliable supplies of nuclear materials and nuclear fuel for their nuclear power plants. On 27 November last year, the Board authorized me to conclude and implement an agreement with the Russian Federation to establish a reserve of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) for supply to Member States. I am pleased to announce that the Russian Federation informed me this week that all necessary conditions for the entry into force of the agreement have been met. All of the LEU has been placed in the guaranteed reserve at Angarsk and the facility is under Agency safeguards.

At the request of a number of Member States, the Board decided to discuss the issue of assurance of fuel supply at its current meeting. I continue to believe that the Agency remains the appropriate forum for discussions on assurances of supply and I hope that a constructive outcome will be achieved. The Secretariat remains ready to provide further assistance to Member States as they consider possible additional arrangements to ensure supply of nuclear materials and nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants.

Information Security

I draw the Board´s attention to the Note on Information Security at the IAEA which was circulated last month. As the Note indicates, the Agency has for some years been constantly re-evaluating and improving the way in which confidential information is handled. We are now committing more resources than ever before to this issue. A dedicated position to deal with these matters has been established in the Secretariat and a new security awareness campaign for all staff has just been launched, which includes completion of a mandatory online training course.

Medium-Term Strategy

I note with appreciation that the Medium Term Strategy for 2012-2017 is ready for consideration by the Board. I congratulate the Chair of the Open-ended Working Group, Ambassador Feruta of Romania, and his team for their sterling work to produce this important document. The Strategy identifies priorities, serves as a roadmap for our future activities and provides clear guidance for the Secretariat as we prepare the Programme and Budget for 2012-2013. I hope that the Board will take note of this document so that the Secretariat will be able to finalise the Programme and Budget in a timely manner.

Budget

Let me turn now to the draft Programme and Budget for 2012-2013, which is due to be issued in February.

Formulation of the budget proposals for 2012-2013 involves a significant challenge. The budget must maximize efficiency, reflect changing priorities, strike an appropriate balance among the Agency´s activities, and, at the same time, take into account the current financial challenges faced by most Member States and constantly increasing demands for the Agency´s services.

To assist Member States to decide the budget level - as I informed the Board in September -I launched a two-stage budget preparation process with the aim of achieving efficiency gains and meeting new and expanding needs. In this process, I am following the guidance given to the Secretariat by the Board in June 2010 and taking into account the priorities to be identified in the new Medium-Term Strategy. At this stage, I assume that the budget proposals to be submitted next February will involve reasonable real increases.

I take this opportunity to thank the Government of Canada for notifying me of its intention to make a contribution of one million Canadian dollars to the ECAS - Enhancing Capabilities of the Safeguards Analytical Services - project. And I urge all Member States which are in a position to do so to consider contributing to this project that is so fundamental to the Agency's mandate.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me remind you that, for the Secretariat, the early months of next year will not be "business as usual". In January we will be starting with the first phase of an enterprise resource planning system -the AIPS project -and at the same time introducing the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).

Each of these undertakings represents a major change management exercise; taken together they will rank among the most profound functional changes in the Agency´s history. It is the equivalent of a heart transplant as far as the Agency´s financial, procurement and project management practices and procedures are concerned.

The changeover to the new ways of doing business will inevitably result in a period of reduced functionality, including a two-week "black-out" period in January, during which a number of internal administrative services will be available on a greatly reduced basis. I ask for your understanding during this difficult period. The ultimate objective, of course, is to deliver to Member States the benefits of increased efficiency and transparency.

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, I wish to pay tribute to three colleagues who will shortly conclude their functions as Deputy Directors General.

Mr. Werner Burkart has, during his ten and a half years as Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications, successfully implemented a dynamic Major Programme. Among other achievements, he developed innovative approaches such as PACT and the IAEA Collaborating Centre scheme.

As DDG for Technical Cooperation for the past eight years, Ms. Ana Maria Cetto has made an important contribution to the Agency. The most senior female officer in the Agency´s history, she can take pride in her achievements in helping to bring the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology in all areas to developing countries.

Mr. Yury Sokolov has strengthened the Department of Nuclear Energy in his seven years as Deputy Director General. Interest among Member States in introducing nuclear power increased significantly during his term of office and he played a key role in ensuring that the Agency responded effectively.

I know I speak for all of you when I sincerely thank Werner, Ana María and Yury and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

Before I conclude, Mr. Chairman, I would like to note that it is almost exactly a year since I took up my position as Director General. It has been a challenging and, I believe, a very productive year in which the Agency again demonstrated its ability to bring about concrete results in improving the well-being and prosperity of Member States and strengthening international peace and security.

I am grateful to all of you for your support. The challenges we face are substantial, but I have no doubt that, with your continued support and the dedication of our outstanding staff, we will prove more than equal to them.

Thank you.