IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei opened today the Board of Governors meeting by addressing IAEA activities related to a range of nuclear issues.
Technical Cooperation/Nuclear Applications
Dr. ElBaradei said that the Technical Cooperation (TC) programme continues to evolve to address pressing challenges in a range of areas. Human health, food and agriculture and nuclear safety remain the top three priorities for Member States.
He added that the IAEA has been focusing on improving quality across the full TC programme cycle, emphasizing full involvement by recipient countries in the preparation of the TC programme, as well as monitoring, self-assessment and independent evaluation.
In view of the growing number of requests for Agency assistance from countries considering or launching new nuclear power programmes, Dr. ElBaradei said that it is important to start a serious discussion of how best the IAEA might broaden and add to the existing services it provides Member States.
Nuclear Safety and Security
The Director General noted that there is increasing demand for the Agency´s support in safety and security infrastructure development in newcomer countries. As such, the IAEA continues to refine the existing set of safety standards, security guidance, peer reviews and advisory services, and knowledge networks to better meet the needs of newcomers.
Regarding the Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. ElBaradei said that there has been no movement on remaining issues of concern which need to be clarified for the IAEA to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of the country´s nuclear programme.
He also described the proposed agreement to provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor as a unique opportunity to address a humanitarian need and create space for negotiations.
"This opportunity should be seized and it would be highly regrettable if it was missed," he commented.
Regarding the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, he said that no progress has been made since the last report to the Board.
Dr. ElBaradei stressed the fact that without Syria´s cooperation, or access to information that may be available to other States, including Israel, the IAEA will not be able to progress much further in its verification efforts.
Assurance of Supply
Dr. ElBaradei described a proposal by the Russian Federation on establishing a low enriched uranium (LEU) reserve for the supply of LEU under Agency auspices to Member States as an essential mechanism as more and more countries introduce nuclear energy.
"Our ultimate goal, however, should be the full multinationalization of the sensitive parts of the fuel cycle - uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing - as we, hopefully, move towards a world free from nuclear weapons," he said.
In what was his last address to the IAEA Board of Governors, Dr. ElBaradei thanked all the staff of the Agency for their professionalism and Member States for placing their trust in him during the 12 years he served as Director General.
"I wish Director General Elect Amano every success in the future and I sincerely hope that Member States will give the Agency all the support it needs to remain an effective and credible partner in creating a safer and more humane world," he concluded.