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Director General Highlights IAEA Programmes and Results at 61st General Conference Opening

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses delegates at the 61st IAEA General Conference, Vienna, Austria, 18 September 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Maintaining high-quality programmes and delivering concrete results for Member States are the key to the IAEA’s success in contributing towards international development, peace and security, Director General Yukiya Amano said in Vienna today. He delivered his statement, partly in French, at the opening of the Agency’s annual meeting, known as the General Conference.

Noting the IAEA’s broad mandate, Mr Amano spoke of the increased awareness of its  unique role in transferring nuclear technology to developing countries, its nuclear verification activities, and its work supporting countries in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in energy, food and agriculture, industry, water management and health.

“The Agency will continue to deliver high-quality programmes and respond promptly to Member State needs,” said Mr Amano, who was appointed by acclamation to another four-year term as Director General. 

 During the past six decades, the IAEA had contributed to international peace and security and made a significant difference to the lives of millions of people, he said.

 The modernisation of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories near Vienna was making excellent progress and the new Insect Pest Control Laboratory would be inaugurated in a week’s time.

“When completed in a few years’ time, the expanded laboratory complex will greatly increase our capabilities as a technology holder, to the benefit of all 168 IAEA Member States,” Mr Amano added.

Nuclear verification

Since the last General Conference, the IAEA has continued to verify and monitor Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  

“Iran is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” Mr Amano told delegates. “The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented.”

Mr Amano expressed grave concern regarding the nuclear programme of North Korea (DPRK) and called upon the country to comply fully with its obligations under all relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the IAEA.

“The nuclear test by the DPRK on September third, its sixth and largest to date, is extremely regrettable,” he said. “The Agency is working to maintain its readiness to return to the DPRK when political developments make this possible.”

Nuclear power

Highlighting the significant role that nuclear power can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy security, Mr Amano welcomed the establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank Storage Facility, which was inaugurated in Kazakhstan last month.

“The Agency supports countries that wish to introduce nuclear power, or to expand existing programmes,” he said. “Establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank will provide a last-resort mechanism to give countries confidence that they will be able to meet their future needs for nuclear fuel.”

Nuclear safety and security

All IAEA nuclear safety requirements now incorporate lessons from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011, ensuring that these are part of global safety practice, he said.

Mr Amano reminded delegates of the importance of safety and security in all uses of nuclear technology, whether for power or non-power purposes.

“They are national responsibilities,” he said, “but the IAEA plays the central role in ensuring effective international cooperation.”

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