(As prepared for delivery)
Madam President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the Government and people of Nepal over the devastating earthquake.
There have been important developments in the IAEA’s work since I addressed the last NPT Review Conference in 2010.
The Agency and the NPT have a common goal, which is to ensure that humanity derives maximum benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology.
I believe that nuclear science and technology have much to contribute to development, in areas such as human health, agriculture and water management, as well as in energy.
The Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference emphasized the importance of the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme, which it recognized as “one of the main vehicles for the transfer of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.”
The impact of our work in the daily lives of millions of people around the world is extraordinary and deserves to be better known.
During the recent outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa, the IAEA supplied simple testing kits, using a nuclear-derived technique, which made it possible to diagnose the disease much more quickly.
Through our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy, the IAEA helps developing countries to improve the availability of nuclear medicine and radiation oncology services. Our work literally saves lives.
We have helped countries to improve their soil and water management and made available food irradiation techniques that make food safer and extend its shelf life.
The IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative has helped to raise over 60 million euros for projects that benefit more than 130 countries. I hope to be able to continue with this valuable initiative with the support of our Member States.
I ask all countries to help ensure that the importance of science and technology, including nuclear technology, is recognised in the Final Document of this Conference and as an important part of the post-2015 development agenda.
The IAEA is unique in the UN system in having a network of laboratories.
In 2012, we created a new Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre in Monaco to bring together leading scientists to examine the impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.
Last year, I launched a major project, known as ReNuAL, to modernise our eight nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, near Vienna. These offer training to scientists, support research in human health, food and other areas, and provide analytical services to national laboratories.
I appeal to all countries to contribute generously to the modernisation of the laboratories.
In the nuclear energy field, the most important development in the past five years was undoubtedly the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011.
The accident caused great distress and hardship for the people affected. It also undermined public confidence in nuclear power throughout the world.
Extensive efforts have been made since then to strengthen nuclear safety.
I see considerable improvements in safety at every nuclear power plant I visit.
The Fukushima Daiichi accident was a painful reminder that a terrible accident can happen anywhere. Plant operators, nuclear regulators and governments must demonstrate total commitment to the principle of “safety first.”
The IAEA is finalising a report on the accident which is intended to provide an authoritative, factual and balanced assessment of what went wrong, and why, in order to help improve nuclear safety everywhere.
Primary responsibility for nuclear safety lies with each individual country, but international cooperation is vital. The IAEA is where much of that cooperation takes place. We play the central role in bringing together governments and technical experts in the nuclear safety field.
Despite the accident, nuclear power has continued to play an important part in the global energy mix. IAEA projections show that use of nuclear power will increase in the coming decades. Many countries see nuclear power as a stable and clean source of energy, which can improve energy security and help to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The Agency continues to foster efforts to bring about innovation in nuclear power, especially through the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, known as INPRO. It focuses on innovation in areas such as nuclear waste management and proliferation resistance.
Important progress has been made in advancing nuclear fuel assurance schemes, such as with the Russian low enriched uranium (LEU) reserve in Angarsk, the nuclear fuel assurance concept advanced by the UK, and in our work to establish an IAEA LEU Bank in Kazakhstan.
The threat of nuclear terrorism remains real. The Agency is well placed to continue playing the central role in helping the world to act in unison against that threat.
Demand for our services is growing steadily. We provide nuclear security training to thousands of people every year. We help countries to improve the physical security of facilities at which nuclear materials are held. We maintain the most authoritative global database on illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials.
The IAEA hosted a successful International Conference on Nuclear Security in 2013. The next such conference, to be held in December 2016, at ministerial level, will be an important opportunity to review progress.
The most important area of unfinished business in nuclear security remains the entry into force of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
Entry into force is now within our grasp. As of today, we need 17 States to adhere to the Amendment to bring it into force. I appeal to all countries which have not yet done so to adhere to the Amendment.
As the 2010 Final Document noted, IAEA safeguards are a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and play an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT.
The Agency continues its efforts to increase efficiencies, without compromising effectiveness, in the implementation of safeguards.
Today, the Agency applies safeguards to more than 1,250 facilities in 180 States. That is 100 facilities more than at the time of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Last year, our inspectors spent nearly 13,000 calendar-days in the field.
Six non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT have brought comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency into force since the last Review Conference. For countries which have yet to do so, the Agency cannot draw any safeguards conclusions. I urge all remaining NPT non-nuclear-weapon States to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements, and bring them into force, as soon as possible.
The implementation of an additional protocol significantly increases the Agency’s ability to detect any undeclared nuclear material and activities. I am pleased to report that 24 States have brought additional protocols into force since 2010, bringing the total to 125.
I encourage all States that have not yet done so to bring additional protocols into force as soon as possible.
With respect to the state level safeguards concept, we have engaged in very intensive dialogue with Member States, which has led to improved understanding. The Agency will continue to follow up.
Since the last Review Conference, we have completely modernized our analytical laboratories and greatly enhanced our ability to analyse nuclear material and environmental samples.
I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
It is nearly six years since Agency inspectors were asked to leave the DPRK. Nevertheless, the Agency maintains its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme.
I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency in implementing its NPT Safeguards Agreement, and to resolve all outstanding issues.
Concerning safeguards implementation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement.
Nevertheless, the Agency is not in a position 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.
There have been important developments concerning safeguards implementation in Iran. In November 2013, the Agency and Iran agreed to cooperate further to resolve all present and past issues under a Framework for Cooperation.
As far as issues with possible military dimensions are concerned, we will do all we can to clarify these issues, as requested by the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council. We will then present an objective, impartial report to our Member States.
In November 2013, a Joint Plan of Action was agreed between Iran and the so-called E3+3 countries: China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The parties asked the Agency to undertake monitoring and verification in relation to the nuclear-related measures. With the endorsement of our Board of Governors, we have been doing that effectively for the past fifteen months.
The IAEA welcomes the recent announcement by the E3+3 countries and Iran on key parameters for a joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Agency will continue to play an essential role, including in verifying nuclear-related measures once the comprehensive agreement is reached between Iran and the six countries.
Implementation by Iran of the additional protocol would enable the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country.
With regard to the Syrian Arab Republic, the Agency concluded in June 2011 that a building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site in September 2007 was very likely to have been a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency.
I call on Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations.
The Agency participated in the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Oslo in March 2013. It also attended the conference on the same subject held in Vienna in December 2014 and shared its experience.
I hosted a Forum on Experience of Possible Relevance to the Creation of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East in November 2011.
The Forum showed that it is possible to have a constructive dialogue on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in this region, despite the complexity of the issue and differences of view among States concerned.
The IAEA will continue to do its best to assist with the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
Finally, Madam President, I invite all of you to attend a High-Level Event on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology which the IAEA is hosting at 1315 today at the Trusteeship Council Chamber.
As my overview of key issues shows, the IAEA is working hard to fulfil its very broad mandate, which I sometimes summarize as Atoms for Peace and Development. The challenges are considerable, but I am confident that we can continue to address them successfully with the support of all our Member States.
I wish you every success in your deliberations in the coming weeks at this important meeting.