Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei

Vienna, Austria
IAEA Board of Governors

Our agenda for this meeting covers issues related to a broad variety of Agency activities. Let me begin by mentioning that, in March, Belize became the newest member of the Agency, raising to 140 the total number of Member States.

Annual Report

The Annual Report serves as the Board’s report to the General Conference, as well as the Agency´s report to the United Nations General Assembly and the general public. The draft report before you summarizes the results of the Agency´s wide-ranging programme of work in 2005.

As the report notes, the Agency has received a great deal of positive recognition in the past year - including, most notably, the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize - but we continue to face great challenges. Many developing countries are confronted by energy and water shortages. Health care and food production need to be improved. We continue to see vulnerabilities related to nuclear and radiological safety and security. And the international nuclear safeguards regime needs to be reinforced, by universal acceptance of safeguards strengthening measures and by finding better ways to reduce the risks posed by sensitive nuclear technology. In all these areas, as the report illustrates, the Agency´s activities can make a difference. But success in these efforts will require your ongoing partnership and support.

The Agency´s Technical Cooperation Programme

The Agency´s technical cooperation (TC) programme supports activities related to a host of nuclear energy applications, as well as to safety and security. The TC programme continues to be a principal mechanism for implementing the Agency´s basic mission - "Atoms for Peace".

The TC programme has been increasing in size and scope in recent years. As more States join the Agency, the number of countries requesting and receiving TC support also grows. In 2005, national TC programmes were in place in 109 countries and one territory, an increase of five countries over the previous year. With a total budget of $116 million - made up of the Technical Cooperation Fund and extrabudgetary contributions, including government cost-sharing — the programme was the largest ever, showing an increase of nearly $12 million over 2004.

The current TC Strategy highlights a number of elements essential for successful delivery of the TC programme - strong government commitment, high quality of TC projects and adequate funding — with the accompanying objective of achieving sustainability and greater self-reliance. Over the past few years, the TC programme has undergone a number of significant reviews and modifications, designed to enhance programme effectiveness. Naturally, we will continue our efforts to strengthen the programme in ways that respond to Member State needs and priorities.

TC Funding Issues
The 2005 target for voluntary contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund was set by the General Conference at $77.5 million. By the end of 2005, Member State payments towards the 2005 target had reached $68.9 million. This represents a rate of attainment of 89% - just short of the 90% goal set by the Board.

I would urge all governments who have not done so to demonstrate their support of the TC programme by making their payments in full and on time. In order to reliably implement projects as planned for all countries, funding for the overall programme must be assured, sufficient and predictable.

Nuclear Applications

The Agency continues to expand its partnerships with other United Nations system organizations, international financial institutions, regional organizations and other relevant bodies, to achieve synergy in various areas of nuclear applications.

PACT
The Agency´s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) continues to make progress. In April, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the World Health Organization´s Eastern Mediterranean regional office, with a view towards working together to improve cancer prevention and treatment in that region.

PACT also hosted a meeting in April that brought together leading international organizations focused on the full range of measures needed to provide comprehensive cancer control in the developing world. The participants will be meeting again to discuss specific implementation frameworks and funding strategies.

The funding of PACT and its activities is becoming a matter of concern. The initial PACT successes in making partnerships and developing demonstration sites have been encouraging. But it is clear that building such a programme takes both time and adequate funds. Given the strong support for PACT expressed by Member States, I would hope that financial support from both governmental and non-governmental sources will be forthcoming, to enable the programme to move forward.

IAEA Nobel Cancer and Nutrition Fund
Progress has also been made on projects associated with the IAEA Nobel Cancer and Nutrition Fund. Three regional training events for both topics will be organized in Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Latin America in the last quarter of this year. Fellowships in these areas are also being organized for young professionals from developing countries.

For activities related to nutrition, the Agency assists in the use of stable isotopes to develop and evaluate nutritional intervention strategies. In Asia and the Pacific, the focus will be on intervention to combat under-nutrition for infants, young children, and pregnant women. In Africa, the theme will be integrating nutrition into the management of HIV/AIDS, particularly for young children. In Latin America, the focus will be on the double burden of malnutrition and obesity.

Regarding cancer, the Nobel Fund will be used to establish three Regional Cancer Training Institutes in Africa, Asia and Pacific, and Latin America. These institutes will serve as focal points for the establishment of regional training networks for cancer control professionals.

Nuclear Safety

Joint Convention
In the area of safety, I am pleased to note that, with the ratification by Brazil, China and the Russian Federation, nearly all States with large nuclear programmes are now Party to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. However, the total number of Contracting Parties is still only 42, and as such well below expectations. Given that the Joint Convention deals with radiation protection and waste disposal - matters of direct relevance to all Member States - I would urge those States that have not yet joined this convention to do so.

Nuclear Verification

The Safeguards Implementation Report and Safeguards Statement for 2005
The Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) for 2005 is before you.

In 2005, the Agency implemented comprehensive safeguards agreements in 147 States - 70 of which also had additional protocols in force or otherwise applied. For 24 of these 70 States, the Agency was able to conclude - having found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material, and no indication of undeclared nuclear material or activities - that all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities.

The Agency is working to reach the same conclusion with respect to all other States with comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols in force. At this stage, for those States and others without additional protocols, the Secretariat could only conclude that declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities.

As of the end of 2005, 36 non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT had not yet fulfilled their obligation to bring comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency into force. For these States, we could not draw any safeguards conclusions.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea
Since 31 December 2002, when IAEA verification activities were terminated at the request of the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Agency has been unable to draw any conclusions regarding the DPRK´s nuclear activities. I continue to believe in the importance and urgency of finding a negotiated solution to the current situation. The Agency stands ready to work with the DPRK - and with all others - towards a solution that addresses the needs of the international community to ensure that all nuclear activities in the DPRK are exclusively for peaceful purposes, as well as addressing the security and other needs of the DPRK.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Board has before it a progress report regarding the implementation of safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The report makes it clear that the Agency has not made much progress in resolving outstanding verification issues. I would continue to urge Iran to provide the cooperation needed to resolve these issues.

I also welcome the recent efforts that aim to reach a comprehensive agreement that would address the need of the international community to establish confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran´s nuclear programme, while also simultaneously addressing Iran´s security, technology and economic needs. I remain convinced that the way forward lies through dialogue and mutual accommodation among all concerned parties.

Conference on HEU Minimization
Nearly 100 civilian facilities around the world operate with small amounts of weapons-grade HEU, that is, uranium that has been enriched to 90 per cent or greater. These facilities, primarily research reactors, provide important humanitarian benefits. However, most if not all of these benefits could also be achieved using low enriched uranium (LEU).

In recent years, some research reactors have been converted from HEU to LEU use, to reduce the proliferation risk. Large quantities of HEU reactor fuel, both used and unused, have been removed from vulnerable locations.

However, much more could be done in this area - including research to address the remaining technical hurdles involved in converting from HEU to LEU operations. Later this month, the Government of Norway will host an international symposium at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo on the minimization of HEU use in the civilian nuclear sector.

Small Quantities Protocols
As requested by the Board, the Secretariat has initiated exchanges of letters with Member States with "small quantities protocols" (SQPs) to comprehensive safeguards agreements, asking that the text of existing SQPs be amended to reflect the revised text adopted by the Board. Seven States so far have accepted the modified version of the SQPs.

To assist States with SQPs in establishing and maintaining State systems of accounting for and control of nuclear material, the Secretariat has developed a standard form for use in making initial reports. We have also designed a training module on this topic to fit the special needs of States with SQPs.

Advisory Committee on Safeguards and Verification
The Advisory Committee on Safeguards and Verification has begun considering issues related to ways and means to strengthen the Agency´s safeguards system. As requested, the Secretariat has submitted a number of substantive papers to the Committee on these issues.

As I have stated before, there are various ways in which the effectiveness of Agency verification could be enhanced, including: increased technical capability for independent laboratory analysis; greater access to satellite imagery; and universal application of the additional protocol. I would urge Member States to support the Committee´s efforts to move forward expeditiously on these and other issues.

Assurance of Supply
As you may recall, in 2004 I asked a committee of international experts to explore concepts related to the possibility of moving towards multinational arrangements for managing the proliferation sensitive aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, and the associated establishment of a mechanism for assuring the supply of reactor technology and nuclear fuel.

To my mind, an assurance of supply mechanism is key to coping with an expanded use of nuclear energy, and is a prerequisite for stemming the spread of sensitive fuel cycle activities. Since the presentation of the experts’ report early last year, a number of countries and organizations have come forward in support of such a mechanism, which finds its genesis in the Agency’s Statute. I should recall also that the Agency´s Medium Term Strategy for 2006-2011 underlines the interest of Member States in multilateral approaches to the front and back ends of the nuclear fuel cycle, including supply issues.

In this regard, you have before you a communication from the Governments of France, Germany, The Netherlands, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, regarding a "Concept for a Multilateral Mechanism for Reliable Access to Nuclear Fuel." I welcome and appreciate the initiative of those States.

This is a complex issue - with policy, legal, technical, safety, security and proliferation related aspects - and I am aware that a variety of views exist on the modalities of such a mechanism. The Secretariat intends to continue working on identifying and exploring the relevant questions and various options available and will report to the Board as appropriate.

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Agency

The year 2007 will mark the Agency´s fiftieth anniversary. As the Secretariat has already informed the Board, we are planning a number of related events, beginning at this year´s General Conference. We will continue to be in contact with you on ways and means through which you can contribute to these events.

Last update: 7 November 2014