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Unique Nature of IAEA Work Highlighted at 62nd General Conference Opening

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The IAEA makes a unique contribution to international peace and security and helps to improve the health and prosperity of millions of people through the peaceful use of nuclear technology, Director General Yukiya Amano stated in his opening address to the IAEA’s 62nd General Conference today. (see video message above, delivered during the opening of the Conference)

The week-long annual meeting is the Agency’s principal decision-making forum, with high-level representation from almost all 170 Member States.

Monitoring and verification

Highlighting the IAEA’s work to help ensure nuclear materials are not diverted from peaceful purposes, Mr Amano said that the IAEA now implements safeguards in 181 countries.

“This is an important and unique contribution to international peace and security.”

Noting that the IAEA continues to verify and monitor the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Director General added: “Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. It is essential that Iran continues to fully implement those commitments.”

Mr Amano said the nuclear programme of North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), remained a cause for grave concern. He called upon North Korea to comply fully with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and of the IAEA Board of Governors, to cooperate promptly with the IAEA and to resolve all outstanding issues.

“The DPRK’s nuclear activities are clear violations of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and are deeply regrettable,” Mr Amano stated. “The Agency continues to enhance its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme if a political agreement is reached among countries concerned.”

Technical cooperation programme

Mr Amano highlighted the importance of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme and its role in making nuclear science and technology available to Member States in areas such as human health, food and agriculture and industry. “I see the enormous difference our work makes in my many visits to developing countries.”

Training and other forms of capacity building are a key element of the programme.  The IAEA has supported nearly 50,000 fellowships since 1956, helping scientists from developing countries to significantly improve their skills.

Nuclear power

While the IAEA’s latest annual projections show that nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix, Mr Amano expressed concern about the declining trend in the low projection for installed capacity up to 2050.

“Without significant progress on using the full potential of nuclear power, it will be difficult for the world to secure sufficient energy to achieve sustainable development and to mitigate climate change,” he stated.

Nuclear safety and security

Mr Amano reminded conference delegates that while nuclear safety and security are national responsibilities, the IAEA plays a central role in ensuring effective international cooperation.

“We continue to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of Agency peer review and advisory services in nuclear safety and security so that they can better support Member States in the application of IAEA safety standards and security guidance.” 

Mr Amano thanked all Member States for their active support for the IAEA’s work. He informed delegates that the IAEA has significantly increased the amount of material on its public website in languages other than English. Versions of the website in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish were launched in June this year, with over a thousand pages of content in each language.

Follow the General Conference

General Conference sessions taking place in the Plenary Hall will be livestreamed during the General Conference. Access the provisional conference programme here.

Follow the IAEA and #IAEAGC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates throughout the week.

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Last update: 24 Sep 2018

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