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Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei Addressed the UN General Assembly Iin New York

2000/27

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, today addressed the UN General Assembly in New York, drawing attention to highlights of the IAEA's work in the areas of technology, verification and safety.

In the area of technology, the Director General stressed the need to encourage innovative reactor and fuel cycle developments, featuring inherent safety, good cost-effectiveness, flexibility in size and effective protection from diversion or misuse of materials. The Agency planned to establish a task force on innovative reactors later this year to assess user needs, review national and international efforts and identify areas where additional research and development should be fostered.

Turning to other nuclear applications for sustainable development, Mr. ElBaradei noted that about two thirds of the global community would face clean water shortages by 2025. In addition to exploring desalination techniques, the Agency was therefore beginning to examine the use of advanced electron beam accelerators to decontaminate and disinfect waste water and drinking water.

In another application, ionizing radiation was being harnessed with IAEA help to clean chimney stack emissions from coal-fired plants, with specific developments underway in Bulgaria, China, Japan and Poland.

Turning to the area of verification, the Director General noted that 51 states adhering to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had yet to bring comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA into force, and that only 17 states had so far an Additional Protocol to such agreements in force granting IAEA inspectors greater access to information and to sites. He urged the remaining states to conclude and bring into force safeguards agreements and Protocols.

With respect to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Director General said that the IAEA had never been able to verify that all nuclear material in the country, subject to safeguards, had been declared. Given that the Agency would need 3 to 4 years for a full assessment, verification activities should begin immediately, if the reactor construction project foreseen in the 1994 Agreed Framework with the United States was to proceed as scheduled. The Director General added: "with the recent positive developments in the Korean Peninsula, it is my hope that the DPRK will soon be ready to commence active co-operation with the Agency to that end".

Lastly, in the field of safety, Mr. ElBaradei said the Agency was maintaining international focus on the nuclear waste issue, to accelerate progress toward demonstrated solutions, and to bridge the gap in perception between technical experts - who believed geological disposal to be safe, feasible and environmentally responsible — and the public at large, which remained sceptical.

Concluding, the Director General said the IAEA would continue to play a role in ensuring that the benefits of nuclear technology are shared globally, that peaceful nuclear activities are conducted safely, and that the international community has a strong, credible framework for curbing nuclear weapon proliferation and moving toward nuclear disarmament.

Last update: 16 Feb 2018

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