The United Nations 70th General Assembly today adopted a resolution that recognizes the importance of the IAEA’s work and supports its indispensable role “in encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses” as well as in transferring technology to developing countries and ensuring nuclear safety, security and verification.
Resolution A/70/10 also highlights the cooperation between the United Nations and the IAEA. Although an autonomous international organization, the IAEA’s work is closely in line with that of the United Nations in that it promotes peace and international cooperation.
Addressing the General Assembly, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano began by expressing his sympathy and support to France and Lebanon over the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.
He provided an update on the highlights of the IAEA’s work since he last addressed the General Assembly a year ago, and welcomed the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by world leaders in September.
“There are clear links between the new goals and the work of the IAEA, Mr Amano said. "Areas covered by both include energy, food security and nutrition, human health, protection of the oceans and management of water resources, as well as climate change.”
“I am especially pleased that there is explicit recognition in the new goals of the importance of science and technology in advancing development.”
Addressing the issue of climate change in the context of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Paris in December, Mr Amano said that “appropriate consideration should be given to nuclear power in talks on climate change mitigation.”
“Many countries believe nuclear power can help them to address the twin challenges of ensuring reliable energy supplies while curbing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
Turning to the Agency’s work in non-proliferation, Mr Amano said safeguards agreements were now in force with 182 States. He urged the 12 non-nuclear-weapon States party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) which have not yet concluded comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA to do so. Mr Amano expressed concern about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations, 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,” he said.
Mr Amano also informed the General Assembly about important developments in relation to the Iran nuclear issue, such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in July this year by Iran and six countries and the European Union, known as the E3/EU+3, as well as the Road-map on past and present outstanding issues between Iran and the IAEA. He said he would present his final assessment of all past and present outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear programme to the IAEA Board of Governors by 15 December.
“Much work remains to be done, but I believe the significant progress made on the Iran nuclear issue represents a real success for diplomacy,” Mr Amano said.
Turning to nuclear security, Mr Amano called for countries that have not yet done so to adhere to the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material so that it can finally enter into force.
“Entry into force of the Amendment would reduce both the likelihood of terrorists being able to detonate a dirty bomb and the risk of a terrorist attack on a nuclear installation. I ask all countries that have not yet done so to adhere to this important nuclear security instrument as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Amano informed the General Assembly about the release in September of his Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident along with five technical Volumes and expressed his belief that the report will serve as a key reference document on the accident for years to come and will help improve nuclear safety throughout the world.
Mr Amano also reported on the signing of a Host State Agreement with the Government of Kazakhstan establishing an IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank, as a mechanism of last resort to give countries confidence that they will be able to obtain LEU to make fuel for nuclear power plants in case of an unforeseen disruption of supply that cannot be remedied by commercial means.
Mr Amano concluded by saying that despite limited resources, the IAEA remains an organisation that delivers concrete results. “We will continue to fulfil our mandate in a balanced manner, working to improve the wellbeing and security of the people of the world through the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology,” he said.