Statement to 2010 Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

New York, USA

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The IAEA works to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to promote the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and technical cooperation. The IAEA also has a role to play in verifying nuclear disarmament. As all of these activities are relevant to the work of the NPT Review Conference, I would like to provide you with a brief overview of recent developments.

As you know, reliable supplies of energy are vital to ensure continued prosperity and sustained development. Nuclear power is enjoying growing acceptance as a stable and clean source of energy that can help to mitigate the impact of climate change. More than 60 countries are considering introducing nuclear power to generate electricity. It is expected that between 10 and 25 new countries will bring their first nuclear power plants online by 2030.

Certainly, it is for each sovereign State to decide whether or not to use nuclear power, but the IAEA assists interested countries in establishing a reliable nuclear infrastructure. Nuclear power must be accessible not only for developed countries but also for developing countries. Nuclear power needs to be efficient, sustainable and profitable. Any expansion in its use must be done safely and securely, and without increasing the proliferation risk.

In March this year, with the approval of the IAEA Board of Governors, I signed an agreement with Russia to establish a low enriched uranium reserve to help assure supplies of nuclear fuel to Member States. Other possible assurance of supply mechanisms are under discussion.

Nuclear technologies provide unique tools to meet the basic needs of human beings. To take one example, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy are very effective in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The IAEA is now helping developing countries to fight cancer through our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

The application of nuclear technology in plant breeding, food irradiation, animal health and pest control is making valuable contributions to enhancing global food security. Nuclear technology is also useful in water management and environmental monitoring.

In any use of nuclear technology, safety and security must always be ensured. While the primary responsibility lies with Member States, the Agency has an important role to play in these areas.

Nuclear safety has improved considerably since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. However, we can never be complacent and need to remain vigilant. The IAEA is the custodian of the relevant international safety conventions and standards and provides practical assistance to Member States. For example, IAEA peer review missions bring experts together to study individual countries´ nuclear safety systems and make recommendations on how to remedy possible weaknesses.

Great progress has also been made in making nuclear and radioactive materials more secure. This has helped States to counter the risk of nuclear terrorism, which remains a real and immediate threat to international security. The IAEA is widely recognized as the focal point for strengthening efforts in this area. The support expressed for our work by many heads of state and government at the recent Nuclear Security Summit in Washington was very encouraging.

The Final Document of the 2000 NPT Review Conference called for expanded use of the Agency´s Technical Co-operation Programme. The programme has grown since then, and the annual resources of the Technical Cooperation programme now amount to more than $100 million. We implement projects in more than 120 countries and territories. However, more efforts are needed to achieve sufficient, assured and predictable funding of technical cooperation.

In the 2000 Final Document, States party to the NPT recognized that IAEA safeguards are a fundamental pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, play an indispensable role in the implementation of the Treaty and help to create an environment conducive to nuclear disarmament and nuclear cooperation.

At present, the Agency is working to resolve important safeguards implementation issues in three States.

The Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has not allowed the Agency to implement safeguards since 2002 and, therefore, the Agency cannot draw any safeguards conclusion for the DPRK. In April 2009, the DPRK ceased all cooperation with the IAEA in the implementation of the ad hoc monitoring and verification arrangement pursuant to the Six-Party Talks process.

In the case of Iran, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material, but remains unable to confirm that all nuclear material is in peaceful activities because Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation. I continue to request Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and relevant resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council, and to clarify activities with a possible military dimension.

As far as Syria is concerned, the Agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving questions related to the nature of the Dair Alzour site destroyed by Israel and other locations. Syria has not cooperated with the Agency since June 2008 in this regard. I continue to request Syria to engage with the Agency on all outstanding issues.

Adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements (CSAs) and additional protocols (APs) has been increasing, but more should be done.

At present, 20 NPT parties have still not brought comprehensive safeguards agreements into force. I strongly encourage all remaining NPT parties to conclude and implement CSAs.

Thirty-two States have brought additional protocols into force since 2005, bringing the total number now in force to 98. The additional information and broader access for IAEA inspectors provided for in the AP are essential for the IAEA to obtain a much fuller picture of existing and planned nuclear programmes and nuclear material holdings of States with comprehensive safeguards agreements. The AP is of vital importance for the Agency to be able to provide credible assurance not only that declared nuclear material is not being diverted from peaceful uses, but also that there are no undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State. I urge all States to bring APs into force.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones make an important contribution to achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. Since the last Review Conference, the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty have entered into force.

I would like to recall that the IAEA General Conference has adopted resolutions in recent years on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Last year´s General Conference also adopted a resolution on Israel´s nuclear capabilities. I am following up on these resolutions as requested by the General Conference.

Finally, nuclear disarmament is an area of great interest for the IAEA and the Agency has a role to play through verification activities. Progress in nuclear disarmament has a positive impact on non-proliferation efforts and vice versa. Against this background, I welcome the new START Treaty concluded between the Russian Federation and the United States last month as a step forward in nuclear disarmament.

Mr. President,

A successful NPT Review Conference is indispensable because it will enhance confidence in the non-proliferation regime, which in turn will provide the Agency with a stronger basis for our work in all areas.

I wish you every success in the coming weeks.

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Last update: 21 October 2014