Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by joining you in expressing deep sadness over the death of Mr. Ok-Seok Seo. I was greatly shocked by the news. Mr. Seo was a consummate professional and his tragic death is a great loss to the Department of Safeguards and the Agency as a whole. I offer my sincere condolences to Mr. Seo's family.

Mr. Chairman,

Since my last report to the Board, Fiji and San Marino have applied for membership of the Agency.

Turning now to the documentation before you, the Annual Report for 2011 has been distributed. It reflects the Agency's wide-ranging activities in helping Member States to use nuclear technologies in a safe, secure and peaceful manner. I hope you will find it a valuable overview of the Agency's activities last year.

Technical Cooperation

You also have before you the Technical Cooperation Report for 2011. It details the Agency's contribution to addressing pressing issues on the global development agenda through the TC programme.

Let me highlight some important water projects through which the Agency is helping Member States to monitor and manage both freshwater and ocean resources. In Africa, transboundary water resources are being explored and mapped with Agency assistance. In Asia and the Pacific, isotopic and chemical techniques are being used to assess trends in freshwater quality, and to evaluate groundwater and surface water resources. In Europe, environmental isotopes are being applied to assess the interaction of stream and groundwater in aquifers in the Danube Basin. Finally, in Latin America, monitoring and early warning systems are helping to protect populations from seafood toxicity associated with harmful algal blooms.

In the energy field, the Agency assists countries with energy planning and with the development of nuclear power. We are extensively involved in making available nuclear techniques related to food, about which I will have more to say in a moment. We contribute substantially to global health initiatives in the fields of communicable and non-communicable diseases and nutrition.

To ensure that our projects have maximum impact, we focus on partnerships with lead agencies in key development fields. At the national level, for example, we continue to strengthen our involvement in the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks. In 2011, as part of our efforts to assist countries in the use of peaceful nuclear technology in industry, we established relations with UNIDO's National Cleaner Production Centres. Our two organisations will work together in pilot countries to raise awareness of nuclear technologies that support cleaner industrial production processes.

New resources for the TC programme totalled 81.8 million euros in 2011, which included 17.7 million euros in extrabudgetary contributions. I am concerned at the clear decrease being seen in the rate of attainment of the TCF target. I urge all Member States to pledge and pay their TCF share in full and on time in order to maintain the high level reached in recent years.

Nuclear Applications

Mr. Chairman,

As I informed the Board in March, the Agency is paying special attention this year to nuclear applications related to food. From 23 to 27 July, an FAO/IAEA International Symposium on Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation will be held in Vienna.

Food will also be the subject of the Scientific Forum, which will take place during the General Conference in September. With the global population growing steadily, it has never been more important to develop agricultural technology to reduce hunger and poverty in an equitable and environmentally sustainable manner. Nuclear techniques enable farmers, food processors and government agencies to provide people with more and safer food, while conserving soil and water resources.

The Scientific Forum promises to be a stimulating event, involving decision-makers and leading experts from all over the world. I encourage all Member States to participate fully.

I thank South Africa for contributing 1.5 million euros to enable the Agency to build and strengthen animal diseases diagnostic capacities in veterinary laboratories in Member States.

Cancer control remains an important priority for the Agency. Demand continues to grow for the Agency's imPACT missions, which involve a comprehensive assessment of a country's cancer control capacity and needs. Six missions have taken place this year, bringing the total since 2005 to forty. In the coming months, given growing Member State demand for assistance, we will consider ways of strengthening PACT even further.

Mr. Massoud Samiei, Head of the IAEA Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy - PACT - since its creation in 2005, retired last week. Massoud made a lasting contribution to the improvement of cancer care in developing countries. I know I speak for all of you when I thank him warmly for his energy, dedication and vision.

Our nuclear sciences and applications laboratories at Seibersdorf will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. I will update you later in the year on how we plan to celebrate this important anniversary.

Implementation of IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

You have received my third report on Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

Almost one year on from the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety which I convened after the Fukushima Daiichi accident, good progress continues to be made in strengthening nuclear safety throughout the world. In March, the Agency hosted an International Experts' Meeting on Reactor and Spent Fuel Safety in the light of Fukushima Daiichi. Some 230 experts from 44 countries attended.

In two weeks' time, we will host another international experts' meeting, this time on Enhancing Transparency and Communication Effectiveness in the Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency.

As part of our continuing efforts to strengthen Agency peer reviews and enhance transparency, we have placed the results of Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) missions on our website and asked Member States for their agreement to publish the results of all Agency peer reviews carried out over the last ten years.

Although Member States have recognized that enhancing nuclear safety is a global necessity, financial support for the Agency's expanded activities under the Action Plan has been very limited so far. I am grateful to France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation and the United States for their financial and in-kind contributions to implementation of the Action Plan. I encourage other Member States that are in a position to do so to provide support.

Preparations are at an advanced stage for the Second Extraordinary Meeting and the Organizational Meeting for the Sixth Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, which will be held in the week of 27 August 2012.

Nuclear Security

Mr. Chairman,

As you know, the Agency is the main global platform for enhancing nuclear security. Next year, from the first to the fifth of July, we will host an International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts here in Vienna. I encourage all Member States to participate at a high level in this important event and, by doing so, to provide input to the Agency's next Nuclear Security Plan.

In March, I attended the second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul as an observer. Heads of State and Government discussed the security not just of nuclear materials, but also of radioactive sources. Strong support was expressed for the central role of the Agency in global nuclear security.

Nuclear Energy

Turning briefly to nuclear energy, the Agency organized the Third International Conference on Nuclear Power Plant Life Management last month in Salt Lake City in the United States. The Conference focused on good practices related to the safety aspects of plant ageing, ageing management and long term operation.

The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, starts next week. The Agency will organize side events on Sustainable Energy, Food, Water and Oceans, and on energy planning, and will also have an exhibit stand at the Conference.

I wish to inform the Board that, following the Ministerial Conferences held in Paris in 2005 and Beijing in 2009, the Agency is organizing an International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century from 27 to 29 June 2013. I am very grateful to the Russian Federation for its kind offer to host this important event in St. Petersburg.

Assurance of Supply

Mr. Chairman,

The IAEA LEU Bank project has entered into the implementation phase and we are making steady progress towards its establishment. A briefing for Member States was held last week, so I will not go into detail today. An Agency team visited Kazakhstan last month to initiate formal negotiations on the Host State Agreement. The team also visited the site for the LEU Bank to undertake a further detailed assessment of requirements for upgrades to safety and security. I will keep you informed of developments.

Since the last Board meeting, the Agency has received an additional 10 million euros from the European Union for the LEU Bank project, out of its pledged contribution of 25 million, for which I express my thanks.

Nuclear Verification

Safeguards Implementation Report for 2011
The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2011 has been distributed. It details our work implementing safeguards in 178 States with safeguards agreements in force. The Secretariat's findings and conclusions are based upon an evaluation of all the information available to the Agency in exercising its rights and fulfilling its safeguards obligations in 2011.

As the report shows, we have continued to improve the efficiency of safeguards implementation while maintaining and strengthening its effectiveness. An important factor in maintaining this trend will be the effectiveness and cooperation of State and regional authorities.

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
You have before you a draft comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since my last report to the Board, the Republic of Moldova has brought into force an additional protocol, and Antigua and Barbuda has amended its small quantities protocol.

The number of States with additional protocols in force now stands at 116. I strongly hope that remaining States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible. I also ask the 14 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 Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Concerning the application of safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I would like to update the Board on recent developments. As I previously informed the Board, I received a communication from the Director General of the General Department of Atomic Energy of the DPRK on 16 March inviting an Agency delegation to visit the DPRK to discuss technical issues with regard to the monitoring of a moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon, in accordance with the agreement at high-level talks with the United States. In my reply on 30 March, I expressed the Agency's readiness to follow up on the invitation in a constructive spirit. Since an attempt by the DPRK to launch a "satellite", the Agency has been carefully monitoring the situation. Through recent contacts with the DPRK, it has become clear that there is no immediate prospect of an Agency mission taking place.

I believe the Agency has an essential role to play in verifying the DPRK's nuclear programme. However, the Agency has not been able to implement any safeguards measures in the DPRK for more than three years, so our knowledge of the current status of the country's nuclear programme is limited. 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.

Implementation of Safeguards in Islamic Republic of Iran
I will now turn to my report on Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In an effort to intensify dialogue with Iran, as requested by the Board, I had meetings with senior officials in Tehran on 21 May 2012 on a number of issues of mutual interest, including the clarification of issues relating to possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme. During these meetings, Iran and the Agency decided to agree on a Structured Approach document. I was assured that agreement on the structured approach would be expedited and that the remaining differences between Iran and the Agency would not be an obstacle to reaching agreement.

I wish to inform the Board that a meeting between Iran and the Agency has been scheduled for 8 June in Vienna. I invite Iran to sign and implement the Structured Approach document as soon as possible and to provide early access to the Parchin site.

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. 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 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 all relevant obligations in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

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

Syria has pledged full cooperation with the Agency to clarify outstanding issues, but there have been no significant developments since my March statement to the Board. I will continue to keep the Board informed.

Programme and Budget

Let me turn briefly to items considered at the Programme and Budget Committee in May.

In my budget update proposal for 2013, estimates for 2013 are for zero real growth compared to 2012, in compliance with the Agency's Programme and Budget 2012-2013 adopted by the General Conference last September. Adjustments are proposed within major programmes to ensure funding of activities envisaged under the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, while preserving the balance among major programmes and the overall funding envelope of the regular budget.

The budget update also includes reasonable price adjustments and a proposal to allocate unspent 2011 regular budget funds to urgent capital investment. I am pleased to note the support expressed at the Programme and Budget Committee for my proposal and look forward to your adoption of the budget for 2013.

I am very pleased to report that the Agency's Financial Statements for 2011 are the first which comply with International Public Sector Accounting Standards, known as IPSAS. The External Auditor released an unqualified opinion on the Financial Statements. The successful introduction of IPSAS is a milestone in the Agency's management reform efforts and a major step towards increased transparency and best practice in financial reporting.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I note that this will be your last Board of Governors meeting as Chair. I am sorry that you are leaving us ahead of schedule, but pleased that you are doing so in order to take up an important position in your capital. I congratulate you on your new appointment. I thank you warmly for your highly effective leadership as Chairman of the Board and for the guidance and support which you have given me.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Last update: 11 November 2014