On 12 September 2011, the 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors convened for their deliberations from 12-16 September, which precede the annual General Conference to be held from 19-23 September 2011.
On Monday morning, the Board session began with a statement by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, focusing on several issues including nuclear safety, security, energy and verification.
"The situation at the site remained very serious for many months. The Agency's assessment now is that the reactors are essentially stable and the expectation is that the 'cold shutdown' of all the reactors will be achieved as planned. The plant operator and the Japanese authorities have been working hard to regain full control of the situation and have made steady progress in the past six months. I saw for myself just how powerful and destructive nature can be when I visited the Fukushima Daiichi plant in July. But I was also deeply impressed by the courage and dedication of the engineers and workers at the site. The IAEA will continue to provide every possible assistance to Japan as it restores control over the Fukushima Daiichi plant and tackles the challenging work of decontamination and remediation. Continuing full transparency on Japan's part will also be important."
Draft Action Plan on Nuclear Safety
"Compared to the arrangements that were in place before the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the draft Action Plan represents a significant step forward in strengthening nuclear safety. In the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi, the most important thing is to ensure transparency, build confidence, and meet the high expectations of the public. But it is actions, not words, that count. With this Plan, we will move from the planning phase to the implementation phase. Firm and sustained commitment from all Member States is needed for the full implementation of the Action Plan. Further lessons will be learned and the Plan will be updated accordingly. It will take rapid and visible improvements in nuclear safety - not just good intentions - to restore public confidence in nuclear power. The Agency will play its central part with vigour."
"Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. In the wake of those attacks, the Agency significantly expanded its nuclear security programme to help Member States protect nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities against malicious acts. Nuclear security remains an extremely important issue for all States."
"The Agency has updated its projections concerning the outlook for nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. We now expect the number of operating nuclear reactors in the world to increase by about 90 by 2030, in our low projection, or by around 350, in our high projection, compared to the current total of 432 reactors. This represents continuous and significant growth in the use of nuclear power, but at a slower growth rate than in our previous projections. Most of the growth is still expected to occur in countries that already have operating nuclear power plants, especially in Asia. China and India will remain the main centres of expansion and their nuclear power capacities by 2030 are expected to be as projected before the accident, after a temporary period of slower growth. The projected slowdown in global growth reflects an accelerated phase-out of nuclear power in Germany, some immediate shutdowns and a government review of the planned expansion in Japan, and temporary delays in expansion in several other countries."
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
"As you know, the Agency has not been able to implement any safeguards measures in the DPRK since April 2009, so our knowledge of the current status of the country's nuclear programme is limited. That nuclear programme is a matter of serious concern and reports about the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and a light water reactor in the DPRK are deeply troubling."
Islamic Republic of Iran
"I had meetings in June and July with H.E. Dr Fereydoun Abbasi, Vice President of Iran and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and with H.E. Dr Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Deputy Director General for Safeguards travelled to Iran in August and visited a number of facilities, as described in my report. Iran demonstrated greater transparency than on previous occasions. Greater transparency and Iran's full proactive engagement are also needed concerning its other nuclear activities. Since the last Board meeting, Iran installed centrifuges in Fordow, with the stated objective of producing UF6 enriched up to 20% U235, and informed the Agency that tests for the conversion of UF6 enriched up to 20% U235 into U3O8 would start on 6 September 2011, in further contravention of Security Council and Board of Governors resolutions.
"The Agency is increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency continues to receive new information. In the near future, I hope to set out in greater detail the basis for the Agency's concerns so that all Member States are fully informed.
"The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the Agency 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. I urge Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of all relevant obligations in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme."
Syrian Arab Republic
"Following my last report, in a letter to the Agency dated 26 May 2011, Syria indicated its readiness to fully cooperate with the Agency to resolve issues related to the Dair Alzour site. After a number of meetings with the Agency, Syria, in a letter dated 24 August 2011, stated its readiness to have a meeting with Agency Safeguards staff in Damascus in October. Syria's letter stated that the purpose of the meeting would be 'to agree on an action plan to resolve the outstanding issues in regards to [the] Dair Alzour site'. The Agency subsequently proposed that a meeting take place on 10 to 11 October 2011 with the aim of advancing the Agency's verification mission in Syria."
"In September 2000, the General Conference tasked the Director General to make arrangements to convene a forum in which participants from the Middle East and other interested parties could learn from the experience of nuclear-weapon-free zones already established in other regions. I am pleased to inform you that, following my consultations with Member States over the past few months, I believe conditions have become more favourable for the holding of such a forum. I have therefore invited all Member States to a forum, here in Vienna, on 21-22 November. I am also pleased to announce that the Permanent Representative of Norway, Ambassador Jan Petersen, has accepted my invitation to serve as Chairperson for this important gathering. We will continue our consultations in the coming weeks to help ensure that the forum is a success.
Issues on the Agenda
During the September 2011 Board meeting, a number of issues are under consideration, including:
- Strengthening international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety;
- Issues related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, including the Draft IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety;
- Nuclear security, including measures to protect against nuclear and radiological terrorism, as well as the annually issued Nuclear Security Report;
- Strengthening the IAEA's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications; and
- Nuclear verification, including, applying safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; implementing the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran; as well as implementing NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The Board will further discuss issues under consideration since the 2009 and 2010 sessions of the General Conference, including applying IAEA safeguards in the Middle East, as well as efforts to pursue a target of equal representation of women across all occupational groups and categories in the Agency, especially in senior policy-level and decision making posts.
During their consideration of measures to strengthen nuclear safety and security, the Board will discuss the revised IAEA Safety Standard on the Safety of Nuclear Power Plants: Design (Safety Standards Series No. NS-R-1), as well as a revision of IAEA Safety Series No. 115, or Draft Safety Requirements: Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards.