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New IAEA Laboratory Building Named after Late Director General Yukiya Amano

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IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta addresses Member States at the ReNuAL side event on the sidelines of the IAEA's 63rd General Conference. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The IAEA General Conference unanimously adopted a resolution today to name a new facility built under the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project “The Yukiya Amano Laboratories”, after late IAEA Director General Amano, who had led the IAEA between December 2009 and July this year.

The resolution — submitted by Germany, Japan and South Africa — recognized “the significant contribution [Mr Amano] made to enhancing the Agency’s efforts toward international peace and security and in support of the peaceful use of nuclear technologies, particularly through the motto ‘Atoms for Peace and Development’.”

“The General Conference […]  expresses its sincere gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Amano for his devotion to the objectives and functions of the Agency during his distinguished and successful tenure as Director General,” the resolution stated.

In a statement to the General Conference, the Government of Japan paid tribute to Mr Amano: “Through these initiatives, Japan sincerely hopes that Mr. Amano’s vision and accomplishments will be passed down for generations.”

Describing the ReNuAL project as a symbol of "Atoms for Peace and Development", the Government of Japan announced a contribution of €1 million for the renovation of the laboratories and called on other countries in the position to do so to contribute further funding.

During a side event on the status of the renovation of the laboratories also taking place today, representatives of Member States saw the images of the building and the new name. The Ambassadors of Germany and South Africa, which are co-chairs of Friends of ReNuAL, an informal group of Member States that has been working to raise awareness of the renovation and promote fundraising, spoke at the event.

“This project would not have been such a great success without the vision of the late Director General Yukiya Amano,” said German Ambassador Gerhard Kuntzle. “We pay tribute to an exceptional leader, an inspiring leader, who widened the scope of activities of the Agency to Atoms for Peace and Development. His tireless promotion of the renovation of the laboratories in Seibersdorf was a personal affair of the heart for him.”

The new Flexible Modular Laboratory building that will now be named after Mr. Amano  was inaugurated in November 2018. Once operational, the new facility will house the Animal Production and Health Laboratory, the Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory and the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Laboratory. The activities of these laboratories in the new building will enhance the capacity of the IAEA to help countries in the use of nuclear techniques in agriculture, food security and natural resource management.

Nuclear techniques can help increase livestock productivity, detect food fraud, combat animal diseases and improve soil and water management, among others. Located in Seibersdorf, outside Vienna, the three laboratories support national experts worldwide in building research and development capacity in these areas.

Through these initiatives, Japan sincerely hopes that Mr. Amano’s vision and accomplishments will be passed down for generations.
Government of Japan

New donors recognized

As the two most recent first-time contributors to the project, representatives of Iran and Nigeria during the side event symbolically placed their “national bricks” into a small replica of a donor wall, the original of which is permanently installed at the Laboratories in Seibersdorf. Since the launch of the renovation initiative in 2014, the project has raised over €37.3 million in extrabudgetary contributions from a range of donors including 38 governments.

“This is a remarkable show of Member State support for the Agency’s peaceful uses mandate and a strong endorsement of the work of the laboratories in helping countries to address development challenges,” said IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta, adding that €1.6 million was still required.

“I can think of no more fitting tribute to the Director General’s many achievements in leading this Agency than a broad effort to quickly reach that goal. I know I can count on your support.”

Ambassador Kuntzle announced that Germany will make yet another significant contribution to help close the funding gap and bring the total German contribution to more than €5 million since 2014.

Participants received an overview of the extensive benefits of the initiative as well as updates on construction progress. It was noted that the Dosimetry Lab’s linear accelerator facility and energy centre are now operational and that the Insect Pest Control Lab is moving into its new building. Ambassador Kuntzle led a virtual reality tour of one of the new facilities, which was visible to event participants on a video screen.

“The ReNuAL project illustrates the important role played by nuclear science and technology in addressing our developmental needs,” said Ambassador Rapulane Molekane of South Africa. “It is a shining example of the solidarity and collaboration among us in contributing to our common interests.”

The new facility to be named after Mr. Amano will be ready for use in April 2020. Following that, laboratories that remain in the existing laboratory building will be enhanced.

German Ambassador Gerhard Kuntzle takes a virtual reality tour of the new facilities in Seibersdorf, on the sidelines of the IAEA’s 63rd General Conference in Vienna, 16 September 2019. (Photo: H. Boening/IAEA)

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