The IAEA Board of Governors opened on Monday morning, 7 March 2011. The deliberations are held at the Agency´s headquarters in Vienna.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addressed the 35-nation body. The full text of his address can be accessed here.
In his opening statement, Director General Amano reported on a range of issues:
"The 25th anniversary of the world´s worst nuclear accident, at Chernobyl in 1986, occurs next month.
The good news is that nuclear safety throughout the world has improved significantly since Chernobyl. To take just one example, the number of unplanned automatic power reactor shutdowns - known as "scrams" - has dropped by nearly 80% since 1990. A more robust safety culture has taken hold throughout the global nuclear power sector, important international Safety Conventions have come into force and the Agency has introduced a successful programme of safety reviews and safety assessments. Nevertheless, we must always guard against complacency."
Denials and Delays of Shipment of Radioactive Material
"Denials and delays of shipment of radioactive material remain a problem.
For the last 50 years, the safety record for the transport of radioactive material has been exemplary. Nevertheless, some carriers, sea ports and airports continue to deny or delay legitimate shipments of radioactive materials, including important medical isotopes. This is due in part to perceptions of possible radioactive hazards rather than to actual safety concerns. There also appears to be a problem of variations among national regulations, or variations in how regulations are applied. I appeal to Member States to fully comply with the IAEA´s Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material."
Nuclear Techniques for Water
"Nearly a billion people still lack access to adequate drinking water. The Agency is in a special position to help countries to undertake comprehensive assessments of water resources by making available unique information provided through the techniques of isotope hydrology.
I am pleased to announce the launch of the IAEA Water Availability Enhancement (IWAVE) project, which will develop guidelines and processes for conducting national water resource assessments. Pilot projects are starting in the Philippines, Oman and Costa Rica. We are also helping Member States to realize the benefits of isotope hydrology through the application of new analytical and interpretation tools."
The Democratic People´s Republic of Korea
"The nuclear programme of the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK) remains a matter of serious concern for the North-East Asia region and beyond, particularly in light of developments in the last few months.
I believe that last year´s reports about the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and a light water reactor in the DPRK underline how important it is that the Agency should be present in the DPRK. I wish to stress that the Agency has an essential role to play in verifying the DPRK´s nuclear programme. I urge the DPRK to fully implement all of the relevant resolutions of the General Conference and the Security Council."
The Islamic Republic of Iran
"In my latest report on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I tried to clarify the position of the Agency on a number of legal questions raised on previous occasions. I also tried to improve the overall clarity of the report and I hope that the overviews which I attached this time will facilitate a better understanding.
Full implementation by Iran of its binding obligations is needed to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran´s nuclear programme. While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, 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 request Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations."
The Syrian Arab Republic
"Concerning the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Syria has not cooperated with the Agency since June 2008 in connection with the unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and some other locations. As a consequence, the Agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving the outstanding issues related to those sites.
Last month, I received a letter from Syria´s Minister for Foreign Affairs in response to my letter of November 2010 in which I requested Syria to provide the Agency with prompt access to information and locations related to Dair Alzour.
I believe that the Minister´s response, stating that Syria would continue to work with the Agency to resolve all outstanding technical issues, could represent a step forward. I wish to inform you that we have since reached agreement with Syria on a visit by the Agency to locations at Homs."