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Acting Director General Highlights IAEA Achievements at United Nations General Assembly

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IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta. (Photo: Evan Schneider/UN)

Acting Director General Cornel Feruta addressed the United Nations General Assembly today in New York, where he presented the IAEA report for 2018 and spoke about recent efforts by the Agency to improve the well-being of people worldwide through the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

In his statement, he highlighted the IAEA’s contributions to sustainable development — a testament, he said, to the work of Director General Yukiya Amano, who led the Agency for nearly 10 years and died in July.

“Director General Amano was passionately committed to helping developing countries make full use of nuclear science and technology to generate electricity, produce more food, manage water supplies, treat cancer — and in many other areas,” Mr Feruta told the 74th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly. “Staff and Member States of the International Atomic Energy Agency were deeply saddened by his untimely death.”

Last month, the IAEA Board of Governors appointed Mr Rafael Grossi of Argentina to succeed Mr Amano as the Agency’s sixth Director General. Mr Grossi is expected to begin his four-year term on 3 December.

Mr Feruta called attention to important achievements, including milestones reached in the modernisation of the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories outside Vienna.

The Insect Pest Control Laboratory, designed to help countries control pests such as mosquitoes and fruit flies that spread disease and damage crops, is now being phased into operation, he said. The Flexible Modular Laboratory has been renamed The Yukiya Amano Laboratories in honour of the late Mr Amano and will be ready for use next April. The focus of this laboratory is using nuclear technology to help countries address food and agricultural challenges.

In the area of energy, he highlighted last month’s International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power, where high level participants discussed the role of nuclear power in combatting climate change.

“The Agency’s latest annual projections show that nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix, despite a declining trend for installed capacity up to 2050,” he said.

Part of the IAEA’s role is to ensure that nuclear technologies are used safely and securely. The Agency revised the IAEA Safety Standards, used by almost all countries to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation, to make them stronger and easier to use, Mr Feruta said. He spoke of the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security, which will take place at a ministerial level next February in Vienna, and its potential to help shape international cooperation in nuclear security in the coming years.

To make sure nuclear material is not diverted from peaceful activities, the IAEA implements safeguards for 183 countries, Mr Feruta said. 136 of these countries have additional protocols in force, giving the IAEA wider access to information and locations.

He informed the General Assembly on verification and monitoring in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and reported on safeguards implementation in Syria.

The General Assembly adopted a resolution “reaffirm[ing] its strong support for the indispensable role of the Agency in encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.”

 

 

Last update: 18 Nov 2019

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