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IAEA Ready to Play Essential Verification Role in North Korea, Director General Tells Board of Governors


(Video: J. Weilguny, A. Silva, J. Donovan/IAEA)

The IAEA is ready to resume nuclear verification activities in North Korea if political agreement makes this possible, Director General Yukiya Amano told the June meeting of the Agency’s Board of Governors, which started today.

“The Agency is closely following developments related to the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,” he said, referring to the country by its official name. “We continue to enhance our readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme if a political agreement is reached among countries concerned.”  

The Agency has intensified its efforts to ensure that it is ready to promptly undertake the necessary verification activities, if authorised to do so by the Board of Governors.

“I again call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency, and to resolve all outstanding issues, including those that have arisen during the absence of Agency inspectors from the country,” Mr Amano said. IAEA inspectors were required to leave North Korea in 2009.


Mr Amano noted that the IAEA continues to verify and monitor the implementation of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and world powers in 2015.

“The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement,” he said. “Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue.”

Peaceful applications of nuclear technology

In his opening address, Mr Amano highlighted some of the assistance provided to Member States by the IAEA in using nuclear science and technology to improve the health and prosperity of their people.

He said cancer remained an important focus of the IAEA’s work, citing recent examples of progress made in Zambia and Uganda thanks to the Agency’s support. “The Cancer Diseases Hospital of Lusaka (Zambia) has become a role model for countries in the region,” he said.

In Uganda, the IAEA helped the country acquire a new Cobalt-60 machine, ensuring the restoration of radiotherapy services after a two-year interruption due to the failure of old equipment.

The Director General reminded the Board about the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, which will take place in Vienna from November 28 to 30, and the annual Scientific Forum in September on Nuclear Technology for Climate: Mitigation, Monitoring and Adaptation.

He said good progress had been made in the modernisation of the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories near Vienna and thanked the 34 Member States and other contributors which have provided over 32 million euros in extrabudgetary contributions for this work. Additional resources are still required to equip and set up the laboratories.  

In the nuclear energy field, Mr Amano noted that Turkey had become the fourth country in recent years to begin construction of its first nuclear power plant, following the United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Bangladesh. Fifty-nine nuclear power reactors are under construction in 17 countries, on top of the 450 presently in operation.

Mr Amano encouraged all countries which have not yet done so to become parties to two important international nuclear safety agreements: the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

He also informed the Board that the third IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security at ministerial level would be held in Vienna in February 2020.

IAEA Board of Governors meeting, 4 June 2018. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

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