Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Mr Chairman,

You have before you the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme for 2012-2013, as conveyed by the TACC to the Board. This is the first TC programme which we have presented since the alignment of the Technical Cooperation Fund and Regular Budget cycles. This alignment was implemented in order to strengthen our internal programmatic planning capacity, and to ensure that resources are directed as efficiently as possible to meet the needs of Member States.

For this cycle, 756 new projects are proposed. Nuclear safety and security, health and nutrition, and food and agriculture are the top three core funded priorities for Member States. The footnote-a/ funded component gives priority to health and nutrition. I understand that many of the partially core funded projects can count on government cost-sharing and extrabudgetary contributions for the outstanding footnote-a/ component, and I welcome this indication of Member State support for the programme.

The Technical Cooperation Programme is the primary mechanism for the integrated delivery of IAEA services to Member States. It is designed to respond in a flexible manner to their needs. I remind you all of the importance of contributing on time and in full to the Technical Cooperation Fund. I am concerned about the falling rate of attainment, which could affect implementation in the new cycle.

This year's General Conference resolution will guide the implementation of the 2012–2013 TC programme, as well as the development of the programme that follows. We look forward to working with Member States on further improving programme efficiency.

Nuclear Applications

Many of the activities of the Department of Technical Cooperation are carried out in close cooperation with the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications. I would therefore like to mention briefly some recent developments in nuclear applications. I was pleased that many of you joined us during the Scientific Forum in September on nuclear techniques related to water. This was a successful event which attracted high-level participation from governments, as well as from leading water experts working in agriculture, hydrology, oceanography and other areas. It provided an excellent opportunity to showcase many successful Agency projects to provide communities with clean water and protect the environment. Participants urged the Agency to expand its activities in this field and strengthen its partnerships with Member State institutions and regional and international organizations. This will remain a high-priority area for me.

At the end of September, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the IAEA Environment Laboratories in Monaco. More than 30 Resident Representatives from Vienna joined His Serene Highness Prince Albert and myself at the celebrations at the Oceanographic Museum and visited the laboratories. A joint statement reinforcing the cooperation between the Agency and the Principality of Monaco was signed.

Following the eradication of rinderpest, which we celebrated at the General Conference, the Agency is working with the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization on the elimination of other economically important transboundary animal diseases. Two diseases are currently being targeted: the peste des petits ruminants, a highly contagious disease of sheep and goats, and foot-and-mouth disease, a viral disease of ruminants and pigs which is also highly contagious.

Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

Mr Chairman,

You have before you a report on Initial Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. Good progress has been made in many areas since the Action Plan was adopted by the Board and the General Conference in September. For example, a methodology for assessing the safety vulnerabilities of a nuclear power plant, based on the IAEA Safety Standards, has been completed and made available to Member States, and a Safety Standards Review Task Force has been established in the Secretariat.

The Nuclear Safety Action Team, which I established in September, is implementing fully and quickly the actions detailed in the Action Plan, working closely with Member States and other stakeholders. A special website, launched yesterday, will provide updates on the status of implementation of the Action Plan and related activities. Bearing in mind the request from Member States that the Agency should strengthen cooperation with the World Association of Nuclear Operators, I attended WANO's biennial general meeting in Shenzhen, China last month and discussed practical measures to improve information-sharing. In line with the Action Plan's provisions on improving transparency and dissemination of information, we will organise an international experts’ meeting in March 2012 to learn lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and analyse aspects such as reactor safety and fuel safety.

Successful implementation of the Agency's part of the Action Plan requires more than revising Safety Standards and doing more peer review missions. It also requires the provision of technical expertise as well as the sharing of lessons learned with the international community. A recent successful example of this was the IAEA Mission on Remediation of Large Contaminated Areas off-site the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the final report on which has been distributed. The fact-finding team supports the general strategy being implemented by Japan and has offered practical advice in a number of areas. The report also contains useful information for all Member States regarding remediation measures to be taken in the case of a nuclear accident.

Last month, the Agency hosted an International Conference on the Safe and Secure Transport of Radioactive Materials. Participants from 60 countries agreed upon recommendations to create a safe, secure and sustainable framework for the transport of radioactive materials for the next 50 years.

Last week, I received a joint letter from the Chairman of the Commission on Safety Standards and the Chairman of the Advisory Group on Nuclear Security, in which, among other things, they recommend the creation of a standing Nuclear Security Guidance Committee. I am considering the recommendations and will report to the Board in due course.

Assurance of Supply

Work continues on the establishment of an IAEA Low Enriched Uranium bank. During my recent visit to Kazakhstan, I stressed the importance of finalising the selection of the host site as soon as possible.

I am pleased to note that the Nuclear Threat Initiative transferred its pledged contribution of $50 million to the Agency in September. I am very grateful for this generous contribution from Mr Warren Buffett. The European Union has informed us that it intends to transfer 10 million euros, of its pledged contribution of up to 25 million euros, by the end of this year. I am also grateful to the United Arab Emirates for its reconfirmation of its pledge of 10 million dollars. I ask for all pledged financial contributions for the LEU bank to be transferred to the Agency as soon as possible, preferably this year, as this is essential for planning and procurement purposes. I will continue to keep the Board informed of progress.

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

Turning now to nuclear verification, since my last report to the Board, the Gambia has brought into force an additional protocol and has amended its small quantities protocol. The Republic of the Congo has brought into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol. Kyrgyzstan has brought into force an additional protocol. The number of countries with additional protocols in force now stands at 113. I strongly hope that remaining States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible.

I also ask the 14 States parties to the NPT without 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 those protocols.

Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Mr Chairman,

I have, regrettably, no progress to report on the Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. As you know, the Agency has not been able to implement any safeguards measures in the DPRK since April 2009, so our knowledge of the current status of the country's nuclear programme is limited. That nuclear programme remains a matter of serious concern.

I again call upon the DPRK to fully comply with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, to come into full compliance with the NPT and to cooperate promptly and fully with the Agency. I again stress that the Agency has an essential role to play in verifying the DPRK's nuclear programme.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr Chairman,

Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons is one of the IAEA's core responsibilities. In my recent reports on Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I expressed serious concern regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme. The Agency has for some years been carefully and critically assessing the extensive information available to it on this issue. Throughout the past three years, we have obtained additional information which gives us a fuller picture of Iran's nuclear programme and increases our concerns about possible military dimensions. It is my duty to share important information, which has passed rigorous Agency scrutiny, with Member States and I have done so in my latest report, which is before the Board.

Our technical experts have spent years painstakingly and objectively analysing a huge quantity of information from a wide variety of independent sources, including from a number of Member States, from the Agency's own efforts and from information provided by Iran itself. The Agency finds the information to be, overall, credible. It is consistent in terms of technical content, individuals and organizations involved, and time frames. The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. It also indicates that, prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that some activities may still be ongoing.

My report identifies in detail the issues which Iran needs to address in order to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. It is my hope that the report will contribute to solving these important outstanding issues. In response to his letter dated 30 October 2011, I wrote to Iran's Vice-President and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Dr Abbasi, on 2 November proposing to send a high-level team to Iran to clarify the issues outlined in the Annex. I hope a suitable date can be agreed soon. It is essential that any such mission should be well planned and that it should address the issues contained in my report. I ask Iran to engage substantively with the Agency without delay and provide the requested clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. But, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, 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 its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations. I remain willing to engage in dialogue with Iran.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

In my report to the June Board on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, I reported the Agency's conclusion that a building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site was very likely a nuclear reactor and should have been declared by Syria.

A delegation from the Agency's Department of Safeguards visited Damascus in October with the aim of advancing the Agency's verification mission in Syria. Unfortunately, no progress was made in meetings with the Syrian authorities on obtaining the full access which we have requested to other locations which the Agency believes are functionally related to the Dair Alzour site. I urge Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations.

Mr Chairman,

As you know, eleven years after the General Conference decision and following a year-long process of consultation with Member States and regional groups, the Agency will finally host a Forum next Monday and Tuesday on the possible relevance of the experience of current nuclear-weapon-free zones for the Middle East. I encourage all participants to use this opportunity to the full with a view to contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East and throughout the world. I wish the Forum every success.

Finally, Mr Chairman, I wish to pay tribute to three colleagues who will leave us shortly.

Mr David Waller, Deputy Director General for Management, is retiring after nearly 19 years of exceptional and highly distinguished service to the Agency. David has served three IAEA Directors General with great distinction and I know I speak for both my predecessors when I thank him sincerely for his dedication, loyalty and wisdom. Mr Syed Akbaruddin, Special Assistant to the Director General for Policy Coordination and Implementation - known to all of us simply as Akbar - is returning to the Indian Foreign Service after five years with the Agency. An excellent organiser and administrator, Akbar was also a wise and extremely knowledgeable counsellor to my predecessor and myself. Finally, Mr Tero Varjoranta, Director of the Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, is leaving after a short stint with the Agency to become Director General of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. Tero's considerable technical expertise in areas such as boiling water reactors and spent fuel was especially valuable in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

David, Akbar and Tero have been excellent colleagues. I thank all of them warmly for their contribution and wish them good health and success in their future endeavours.

Thank you. Mr Chairman.

Last update: 21 October 2014