Statement at Ground-breaking for IAEA Nuclear Material Laboratory

Seibersdorf, Austria

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Thank you again, Gabi.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Mr. Mayor, dear Colleagues,

I hope all of you will have a chance to visit the Clean Laboratory in the course of the day. Now our attention turns to the Nuclear Material Laboratory, which will be built on this site in the next three years.

The new Laboratory will replace an aged facility dating back in part to 1976, which no longer meets the needs of the IAEA.

When completed in 2014, the Laboratory will provide the Agency with a modern and expandable capability for nuclear sample analyses, collected from all points along the nuclear fuel cycle.

The new Laboratory will bring together, into a single building, analytical activities that are currently dispersed among a number of buildings at Seibersdorf.

It will give us state of the art capabilities, including in the analysis of uranium, plutonium, spent fuel and high-activity liquid waste samples, as well as in archiving samples and analytical standards. It will have training facilities for inspectors and nuclear chemists, along with sufficient office space for the laboratory's staff and visiting scientists from Member States.

The Seibersdorf site will also serve the IAEA Office of Nuclear Security by providing capabilities for training and nuclear material analysis. In addition, the refurbished site will fully comply with the Agency's own latest guidelines on the physical protection of nuclear material, as well as with Agency nuclear safety requirements.

Before we unveil the design for the new Nuclear Material Laboratory and begin the ground-breaking ceremony, I would like to say a few words about the financial status of the ECAS project overall and funding for the Laboratory in particular.

I have challenged the Project Team to deliver the minimum core capability requirements for the Agency's Safeguards laboratories, and to secure the Seibersdorf site, for 65.9 million euros. While some two-thirds of that amount has been secured, we still need to raise the remaining third - around 22 million euros.

I therefore encourage Member States to continue donations to this vitally important project. Donor information packages have been distributed to you. Donations of any size - but ideally large - will be gratefully received to enable us to accomplish all ECAS project objectives.

I now invite Herman to join me in unveiling the model of the new Nuclear Material Laboratory.

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I now invite donors, the Chairman of the Board of Governors and the Regional Group Chairs to join me for the ground-breaking ceremony.

Last update: 21 October 2014