Speaking at the Special Symposium for the IAEA 50th Anniversary, held on 11 April 2007 in Aomori, Japan, David Waller, Deputy Director General of the IAEA, paid tribute to Japan´s role in the nuclear sector. "Japan is a critical part of the global nuclear community: needless to say, its nuclear industry is one of the most advanced and impressive in the world, and it has ambitious plans for future growth," he said.
According to Mr. Waller, Japan remains one of the world's leading nations in nuclear power generation. "Nuclear power growth in the near term, based on current construction plans, will be greatest in China and India. But, Japan, with its ambitious ten-year plan for 13 new nuclear units, will remain a leader," he commented.
Hosted by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) on the occasion of its 40th annual conference, the one-day Symposium was dedicated fully to the IAEA. The event was held to review the Agency's 50 years history and activities, and investigate the current status of the nuclear sector in the world.
In summarizing why JAIF would hold a full day event on the IAEA alone, Mr. Waller emphasized the Agency's unique position on the world's stage for matters relating to non-proliferation and nuclear technology development. "The IAEA is central to the global nuclear enterprise. It is the caretaker of the NPT. It is a central hub from which developing countries gain access to peaceful nuclear technology. It is a driving force for nuclear safety and security. In short, by managing the nuclear dilemma it is an organization in which all countries have a stake," he stated.
In addition, Mr. Waller highlighted the IAEA's role in helping Member States address a wide range of issues. "Our hundreds of projects using nuclear techniques are driven by unique and pressing needs in Member States. They cover a broad spectrum - from helping locate desperately needed drinking water in Bangladesh, to using radiation sterilization to help eliminate insect pests, such as the tsetse fly, that kills livestock and humans in Africa. And we donated the monetary award that came with the Nobel Peace Prize to a project aimed at training cancer therapy specialists in developing countries," he said.
The Special Symposium for the IAEA 50th Anniversary was organized around the theme Global Challenges for the Future of Nuclear Energy and the IAEA. Topics addressed during the event included nuclear power generation and fuel cycle, nuclear safety and security, non-proliferation and future challenges for the IAEA.