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IAEA Board of Governors Convenes March Meeting

IAEA Board of Governors. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The 35-member IAEA Board of Governors convened its second official meeting in 2014 beginning Monday, 3 March 2014.

Director General Yukiya Amano opened the meeting with an introductory statement where he highlighted some of the most pressing issues on the agenda. The full text of the statement can be accessed here.

Fukushima Daiichi

As the third anniversary of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant approaches, "the Agency continues to support Japan and to help strengthen nuclear safety throughout the world.See Story Resources for more information.

"The final reports to Japan of our international review missions on decommissioning, and on remediation of large contaminated off-site areas, have been made public. Both missions observed good progress in their respective areas. But the situation remains complex, and challenging issues must be resolved to ensure the plant's long-term stability."

Nuclear Safety

"Progress continues to be made in implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

"The Nuclear Safety Review 2014 shows that the operational safety of the world's nuclear power plants remains high. Significant progress has been made in strengthening nuclear safety in key areas such as assessments of safety vulnerabilities and strengthening the Agency's peer review services.

"Long-term operation of nuclear power plants is an important issue for many countries. Many of the world's nuclear power reactors have been in operation for 30 or 40 years or more. Managing these reactors safely in the long term poses challenges which need to be carefully assessed and managed."

Nuclear Energy

"The Nuclear Technology Review 2014 gives an overview of the global status of nuclear energy. There were 437 nuclear power reactors in operation and four new grid connections in 2013. Construction began on 10 new power reactors, up from seven in 2012. Last year, there were 72 reactors under construction, the largest number for 25 years. Growth is centred mainly in Asia, but countries in other regions, including Eastern Europe, also have significant expansion plans.

"The Agency has a comprehensive programme to assist Member States with established nuclear power programmes, as well as those building their first nuclear power plants. The groups in the Agency responsible for supporting newcomers, and for the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), have been upgraded to Sections, which will help us to offer you improved services."

Nuclear Applications

"Work continues on our plans to modernise the nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, known as the ReNuAL project. A Strategic Plan is being prepared for the June Board. I am grateful for the pledges of support which we have already received and I invite all countries that are in a position to support this project to do so. I hope to invite you all to a ground-breaking ceremony in Seibersdorf in September."

Implementation of Safeguards in Islamic Republic of Iran

"The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, 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.

"Iran implemented, within the agreed three-month period, the six initial practical measures contained in the Annex to the Framework for Cooperation between Iran and the Agency. We are analysing the information provided by Iran and have requested some additional clarifications.

"The measures implemented by Iran, and the further commitments it has undertaken, represent a positive step forward, but much remains to be done to resolve all outstanding issues.

"In particular, clarification of all issues related to possible military dimensions, and implementation by Iran of its Additional Protocol, are essential for the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear activities."

Application of Safeguards in Democratic People's Republic of Korea

"It will be five years next month 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."

Implementation of NPT Safeguards Agreement in Syrian Arab Republic

"As far as implementation of safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, Syria last month indicated its readiness to enable the Agency to conduct an inspection at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor in Damascus.

"However, the security situation on the ground is such that the Agency is not in a position to send inspectors to Syria. We will continue to monitor the security situation in the country."

In his statement, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano also congratulated Brunei Darussalam and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on becoming Member States of the IAEA, and encourage Member States to participate in the twelfth Symposium on International Safeguards to be held from 20 to 24 October this year in Vienna. Entitled Linking Strategy Implementation and People, it is aimed at fostering dialogue between the Agency and its stakeholders from all over the world.

Board Discussions

At its week-long meeting, Board discussions are expected on areas covering the strengthening the Agency's activities in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety; strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications; and nuclear verification.

The application of safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant provisions of UN Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic will also be on the agenda.

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