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States meeting at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna have set a challenging agenda for international nuclear cooperation into the 21st century that targets issues of global safety, security, and sustainable development. They adopted resolutions today endorsing the Agency’s programmes for strengthening activities under its three main pillars of work — nuclear verification, safety, and technology — that are closely linked to major challenges before the world. The General Conference, which concludes today in Vienna, is being attended by high-level governmental delegates from the IAEA’s 130 Member States. Full coverage is accessible on the IAEA’s WorldAtom Web pages at http://www.iaea.org.

Among actions taken today and during the week:

  • Member States supported cooperative steps for enhancing the contribution of peaceful nuclear technologies and applications to the basic needs of human and sustainable development. In their statements throughout the week, many States described ways in which nuclear and radiation technologies are being applied in fields of electricity production, water management, disease prevention and health care, environmental protection, and food, nutrition, and agriculture. The General Conference adopted a number of resolutions that aim to further strengthen the Agency’s technical cooperation programme, and IAEA activities related to nuclear science, technology, and applications for electrical power production and other purposes.
    • One resolution requests the Agency to promote effective international information exchange and cooperation in the field of nuclear desalination and the development of small-and-medium reactors for the production of potable water; the resolution invited States to consider contributing to the Agency’s initiative to set up a task force on innovative nuclear reactors and fuel cycles.
    • A second resolution requests the Agency to facilitate efforts for possible application of the sterile insect technique against mosquitoes, some types of which transmit malaria; for building up national capabilities in radiotherapy against cancer; and for studying the possibility of applying nuclear techniques for locating landmines.
    • A third resolution requests the Agency to place special emphasis on supporting the development of power and non-power applications in Member States, with a view to preserving nuclear knowledge, sustaining nuclear infrastructures and fostering science, technology, and engineering for enhancing nuclear safety.
    • A fourth resolution stresses the IAEA should strengthen its technical cooperation activities and requests the IAEA to assist interested Member States to obtain access to relevant information on the role of nuclear power in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, guided by the objective of sustainable development; to implement national case studies; and to prepare potential projects.
  • Member States supported measures for further strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of the safeguards system, and the application of agreements (Additional Protocols) that improve the Agency’s capability to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities. In statements during the week, more than 10 Member States noted progress toward conclusion of an Additional Protocol with the Agency, and over the past year, the IAEA Board of Governors has approved thirteen Additional Protocols, eleven of which have been ratified. Altogether the IAEA Board has approved Additional Protocols with 54 States, including all nuclear-weapon States, and Protocols are in force or being provisionally applied in 17 States. In welcoming these steps, the General Conference reaffirmed its conviction that the Agency’s safeguards can promote greater confidence among States and thus contribute to strengthening their collective security. In a separate resolution, on measures against illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and other radioactive sources, the Conference welcomed the Agency’s ongoing efforts and appealed to States to further strengthen their capabilities to combat illicit trafficking.
  • Member States emphasized the important role of the IAEA in enhancing nuclear, radiation, and waste safety through its various programmes and initiatives and in promoting international cooperation in this field. The General Conference adopted a number of resolutions to strengthen the global framework for safety, including the Agency’s corpus of safety standards and international safety conventions. They included a resolution on the safety of radioactive waste management; on education and training in radiation protection, nuclear safety, and waste management; on the safety of transport of radioactive materials; on radiological criteria for long-lived radionuclides in commodities, especially foodstuffs and wood; on the safety of nuclear research reactors; and on international safety conventions related to emergency planning and assistance, and the early notification of a nuclear accident.
  • Member States backed the full implementation of IAEA verification responsibilities in Iraq and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The General Conference adopted a resolution that called upon Iraq to implement in full all relevant Security Council resolutions and to cooperate fully to enable the Agency to carry out its mandated nuclear monitoring and verification activities; it noted with concern that the Agency’s last inspections under mandate of the Security Council were in December 1998. Iraq was urged to submit without further delay the semi-annual declarations required under the verification plan. Relative to the DPRK, the Conference adopted a resolution that urged the DPRK to come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement, and to take all steps that the Agency deems necessary to preserve relevant information for its verification. Recent positive developments in northeast Asia were welcomed and the resolution expressed the hope that they would open the way to progress towards full implementation of safeguards in the DPRK.
  • Member States requested the IAEA Director General to arrange a forum on the application of safeguards in the Middle East. The General Conference decision specifically requests the Director General to make arrangements to convene a forum in which participants from the Middle East and other interested parties could learn from the experience of other regions, including in the area of confidence-building relevant to the establishment of a nuclear-weapons free zone.
  • Progress was reported toward the IAEA’s verification of nuclear material released from defense programmes in the United States and Russian Federation. Minister of the Russian Federation on Atomic Energy, Evgueny Adamov; Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration of the United States, General John Gordon; and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei met during the week to discuss future steps under an initiative launched in September 1997. (See IAEA Press Release of 19 September.)
  • Achievements and challenges in the field of radioactive waste management were reviewed at an international Scientific Forum during the General Conference. In a report to the General Conference on the outcome of the Forum, the IAEA was urged to facilitate international exchange of experience on technical and social issues, collaboration on creating opportunities for research and development, and continuing peer reviews of programmes and activities in Member States. (Also see WorldAtom’s Web pages covering the Scientific Forum and the topic of radioactive waste management.)
Last update: 16 Feb 2018


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