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IAEA Director General Presents Fukushima Report and Submits Agreements on Uranium Fuel Bank for Board Approval

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IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano highlighted recent key achievements, reports and agreements during his opening statement to the June meeting of the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors. (Photo: D.Calma/IAEA)

An extensive report on the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima and two agreements related to the establishment of an IAEA reserve of low enriched uranium were among the key points highlighted by Director General Yukiya Amano in his introductory  statement to the Agency’s Board of Governors today.

The preparation of the report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which is scheduled to be made public at the IAEA General Conference this September, involved some 180 experts from 42 IAEA Member States and several other organizations.

“The report represents an authoritative, factual and balanced assessment of what happened at Fukushima Daiichi that should also be accessible for a non-technical audience,” Mr Amano said.

“There can be no grounds for complacency about nuclear safety in any country. Some of the factors that contributed to the Fukushima Daiichi accident were not unique to Japan,” the Director General added. “Continuous questioning and openness to learning from experience are key to safety culture and are essential for everyone involved in nuclear power. Safety must always come first.” (See Mr Amano's statement on the Fukushima report.)

The Director General also highlighted two key agreements submitted for the Board’s approval: a Host State Agreement between the IAEA and Kazakhstan on the establishment of an IAEA low enriched uranium bank (LEU) in that country; and a draft Transit Agreement between the Agency and the Russian Federation that will permit the IAEA to transport LEU through Russia to and from the IAEA LEU Bank. The Bank will provide fuel for Member States in case they cannot obtain low enriched uranium for nuclear power generation on the global commercial market. (See Mr Amano's statement on the LEU Bank.) 

Technical cooperation with Member States

Mr Amano also highlighted the achievements of the IAEA’s work to make peaceful nuclear science and technology available to its Member States. In 2014, the IAEA received nearly 84 million euros in funding for its technical cooperation projects, which focused in the main on health and nutrition, followed by nuclear safety and security and food and agriculture.

“IAEA projects make an important contribution to helping countries achieve their development goals,” Mr Amano said. He also announced that the IAEA will support Nepal’s Government in enhancing the safety of public places in areas affected by the recent earthquakes, for instance by helping test the integrity of hospital and school buildings using non-destructive testing techniques. (See Mr Amano's statement on assistance to Nepal.)

Nuclear energy and climate change

In anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year, Mr Amano highlighted the contribution nuclear power can make in combating climate change. He underlined the work the Agency does for countries that have nuclear power or are considering introducing it, helping them with training and sharing of expertise. For more on the contribution of nuclear science, including nuclear technology, to combating climate change, see the special issue of the IAEA Bulletin.

In May, the IAEA held a Nuclear Energy Management School in the United Arab Emirates . It  is supporting another one in Japan this week. To foster regional cooperation in nuclear energy development, the Agency held a conference on energy and nuclear power in Africa in April, which brought together more than 35 African countries and focused on issues such as national energy planning, regional networking and funding.

ReNuAL – updating the Agency’s nuclear laboratories

Mr Amano also announced that the ReNuAL project to modernize the eight IAEA nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, begun last year, had made further progress.

“We expect to begin infrastructure work by September,” he said, appealing to Member States to contribute funding so that the project could be completed as planned by the end of 2017.

Looking to the future, Mr Amano announced that the theme of this year’s Scientific Forum, traditionally held in parallel with the IAEA General Conference in September, will be on how radiation technologies contribute to daily life and in particular to industry.

Mr Amano also welcomed Djibouti as the 164th Member State of the IAEA.

Aside from the report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident and the agreements on the IAEA LEU Bank, the 35-nation Board of Governors will discuss the IAEA Annual Report and the Technical Cooperation Report for 2014; the Safeguards Implementation Report for 2014; and the implementation of safeguards in Iran, Syria and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

 

Last update: 18 Apr 2018

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