IAEA Contribution to International Peace, Security and Prosperity

Jakarta, Indonesia

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and honour for me to visit Indonesia and to speak to you here at the Ministry of Research and Technology.

Indonesia has been a strong and reliable partner of the IAEA for decades. Your country is party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), with both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol in force, as well as to the main international conventions on safety and security.

The IAEA has a large and active technical cooperation programme in Indonesia, supporting many peaceful nuclear applications in human health, agriculture, water and other areas. Since Indonesia took the decision some years ago to embark on a nuclear power programme, we have worked more and more closely together in this area.

And that is where I would like to begin my speech to you today - by talking about the global outlook for nuclear energy, especially in the aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan

As you can imagine, the accident, and its aftermath, have taken up much of my time in the past seven months. The IAEA was actively involved in assisting Japan in dealing with the consequences of the accident and in sharing information with other Member States. I would like to thank the Indonesian authorities for offering their assistance to Japan.

Our assessment of the current situation at Fukushima Daiichi is that the reactors are essentially stable. The expectation is that the "cold shutdown" of all the reactors will be achieved as planned. Attention has already turned to decontamination of the affected areas.

At our annual General Conference last month, the IAEA's Member States adopted a 12-point Action Plan on Nuclear Safety which, I believe, represents a significant step forward in global nuclear safety. It includes an agreement by all Member States with nuclear power programmes to assess the design of their nuclear power plants against extreme natural hazards, and to take corrective action where necessary.

The Action Plan also strengthens the framework for IAEA peer reviews. These involve dispatching international expert missions to assess the safety of a country's nuclear reactors, its emergency preparedness and response capabilities and the effectiveness of its nuclear regulatory system. I am pleased to note that Indonesia hosted an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission in 2009. I believe all countries have much to learn from the peer review process.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the Fukushima Daiichi accident, a large number of countries continue to regard nuclear power as an important option. In fact, the latest IAEA projections show that global use of nuclear power will continue to grow quite significantly in the coming decades, although at a slower pace than in our previous projections. There are 432 operating nuclear power reactors in the world today. Our latest projections suggest that this figure is likely to increase by at least 90 by 2030, and possibly by as much as 350. Asia looks set to remain the main focus of the expansion.

The factors that contributed to increasing interest in nuclear power before the Fukushima Daiichi accident have not changed: these include increasing global demand for energy, as well as concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and security of energy supply. A few countries have decided to scale back, or even terminate, their nuclear power programmes, but many others are proceeding with ambitious expansion plans. In particular, the resolve of many developing countries to introduce nuclear power to meet their increasing energy needs remains undiminished.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ensuring that nuclear science and technology are used exclusively for peaceful purposes is the basic pillar upon which the IAEA was established more than five decades ago. A central Agency function is to verify that States are fully complying with their non-proliferation obligations and to confirm that nuclear material is being used for peaceful purposes.

Non-Nuclear-Weapon States party to the NPT are required to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency, under which we conduct regular inspections of their nuclear material and activities. I also encourage all countries to conclude an additional protocol to their safeguards agreements. This instrument, introduced in 1997, greatly enhances the IAEA's verification capability by giving us expanded access to information and to relevant locations. It enables us to provide credible assurance not only about the non-diversion of declared nuclear material - that is, material about which a country has notified us - but also about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. So far, 110 countries have brought additional protocols into force. Because Indonesia is one of them, the Agency is able to draw the so-called "broader conclusion" that all nuclear material in your country has remained in peaceful activities.

My approach to nuclear verification since taking up office in December 2009 has been very straightforward: all safeguards agreements between Member States and the Agency, and other relevant obligations such as UN Security Council resolutions, should be implemented fully. A number of safeguards issues have occupied the IAEA Board of Governors for some years.

First, Iran. The Agency can verify that nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement is not being diverted. However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. I urge Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of all relevant obligations in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

In the case of Syria, the Agency recently came to the conclusion that it is very likely that a building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site in 2007 was a nuclear reactor which should have been declared to the Agency. I continue to engage with Syria to resolve related outstanding issues.

The nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remains a matter of serious concern. As you may know, since April 2009 the Agency has not been able to implement any safeguards measures in that country. Last year's reports about the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and a light water reactor in the DPRK are deeply troubling. Once again, I urge the DPRK to fully implement all of the relevant resolutions of the IAEA General Conference and the Security Council.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Another important part of the Agency's work is helping countries to reduce the risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear or radioactive material and to prevent sabotage at nuclear facilities. The IAEA has an extensive nuclear security programme which covers everything from physical protection at facilities to radiation detection and response. We also help States to ensure nuclear security at major public events - for example, the London Olympic Games next year and the 2012 European Football Championship.

The IAEA maintains an Illicit Trafficking Database, which is the most authoritative global source of information on thefts or other unauthorized activities involving nuclear materials. Since 2002, we have trained around 9,000 people in 120 countries on all aspects of nuclear security and helped to repatriate highly enriched uranium research reactor fuel to the countries which produced it. Our experts have worked closely with Indonesia in areas such as control of radioactive material and combating illicit trafficking.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the IAEA's objectives under our Statute is: "to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world." We fulfill this objective by operating a technical cooperation programme which helps countries to use peaceful nuclear applications in many areas, including human health, agriculture and water.

For example, since 1980, the IAEA has delivered an extensive programme of cancer-related assistance to developing countries. This has involved establishing and upgrading radiotherapy and oncology centres and providing training for medical and technical staff. We also help farmers to increase their output by developing improved varieties of seeds using nuclear techniques.

This year, we are placing a particular emphasis on nuclear techniques related to water, the subject of our annual Scientific Forum in Vienna last month. This encompasses three important areas of the Agency's work: water resources assessment, agricultural water management, and aquatic pollution control. Nearly a billion people lack access to adequate drinking water. The Agency can help countries to undertake comprehensive assessments of water resources by making available unique information provided through the techniques of isotope hydrology. The IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco make isotopic techniques available to help track phenomena such as ocean acidification and improve understanding of climate change.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many of the challenges which the IAEA faces today are very different from those envisaged by our founders more than 50 years ago. Today, it is not the risk of the most industrialised countries developing nuclear weapons that preoccupies the international community. Concern is focused instead on countries such as North Korea, which, contrary to its non-proliferation commitments, has developed nuclear weapons, and Iran, which is not fully implementing its comprehensive safeguards agreement with the Agency and other obligations. For decades, nuclear power generation was the preserve of developed countries. Today, many developing countries are considering launching nuclear power programmes. The possibility of nuclear terrorism was simply not an issue in the 1950s. Today, it is high on the agenda of world leaders.

Despite these changes, the Agency's "Atoms for Peace" mandate - making the benefits of nuclear science and technology available for peaceful, but not military, purposes - remains valid. My goal as Director General is to help our Member States to use nuclear techniques to meet the challenges they face in many areas in the 21st century.

Indonesia is an important partner in all areas of our work and I look forward to deepening and strengthening our cooperation with you in the coming years.

Thank you.

Last update: 21 October 2014