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IAEA Director General's Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As prepared for delivery)

Technical Cooperation

Madam Chairperson,

Let me begin by thanking Member States for their continuing strong support for the Agency's technical cooperation activities, as expressed during the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee meeting this week.

We are nearing the end of the first year of the 2018–2019 TC programme cycle. Delivery of the TC programme has made good progress.

We have placed over 1,000 fellows and scientific visitors through 989 TC projects. We have enabled more than 7,000 people to participate in meetings and training courses, and dispatched more than 2,500 experts and lecturers around the world.

In June, the Agency brought together Vice-Chancellors of African universities and representatives of regional education bodies for the first time to address the shortage of qualified staff in nuclear science and technology in the region. Participants discussed collaboration on graduate and postgraduate programmes in nuclear science and technology in accredited African universities. Measures to implement an IAEA-supported PhD Sandwich Fellowship Programme were agreed.

The safety and security of radioactive sources in 15 Small Island Developing States were addressed at a meeting in August. Issues discussed included the storage and end-of-life management of radioactive sources, the identification of orphan or disused sources, and the need for a comprehensive national regulatory infrastructure.

The eighth session of the Nuclear Law Institute took place in Baden, Austria, in October, bringing together nearly 60 lawyers and regulators from around the world. The Institute helps Member States to develop national capacity to draft laws that enable optimal use of nuclear technology, while protecting people and the environment.

Madam Chairperson,

Our review of the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) continues to make progress.

As I informed the Board in June, my office will, in due course, take charge of coordination of cancer related issues, both internally and externally, to further strengthen our one-house approach. I believe that this arrangement will enhance our cooperation with the World Health Organization and other international partners.

We have identified a need to re-deploy some functions from the Division of PACT to more appropriate divisions. This will require some structural changes that will be implemented in accordance with applicable Agency procedures. This may take some time. I intend to update Member States on progress before the March 2019 Board.

The Agency’s cancer control activities are greatly valued by Member States. I plan to use the 2019 Scientific Forum to take stock of our contribution to cancer control in the last decade. I aim to ensure that Agency support in this area is as efficient and effective as possible.

Madam Chairperson,

Preparations for the 2020–2021 TC programme are well underway. Project proposals have been submitted and feedback is being provided to individual Member States. I continue to encourage the development of more focused TC projects in which Member States, the Agency and other partners can work together to help countries to achieve their national development priorities.

I thank you, Madam Chairperson, and the Co-Facilitators – Ambassador Bouchaara and Ambassador Benedejčič – for your work on the Due Account Mechanism.

I again remind all Member States of the importance of contributing on time and in full to the Technical Cooperation Fund.

Ministerial Conference

The Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology will start in Vienna on November 28. I am grateful to Ambassador Solano Ortiz of Costa Rica and Ambassador Kitano of Japan for their excellent work in leading the consultations. I thank all Member States for showing keen interest in the Conference and for sending high-level representatives.

Nuclear Applications

Madam Chairperson,

I look forward to the inauguration of the new Flexible Modular Laboratory at Seibersdorf, which will take place during the Ministerial Conference. This will mark the completion of major construction work on all three new buildings under the ReNuAL and ReNuAL+ projects.

The other two facilities are the Insect Pest Control Laboratory building and the bunker that will house the linear accelerator for the Dosimetry Laboratory. This phase of construction is fully funded, thanks to generous contributions of 32.4 million euros from 34 Member States and individuals. I am grateful to all of them.

We urgently need an additional 3.75 million euros to equip the new facilities and bring them into full operation. I encourage all Member States in a position to do so to contribute.

With support from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Pakistan has released three new cotton varieties, developed using radiation-induced mutation techniques. These are more resistant to heat, pests and diseases and offer higher yields and improved fibre quality. Around 20% of the cotton-growing area in Pakistan is now covered by these new varieties, and this number could double within a few years.

An International Symposium on Understanding the Double Burden of Malnutrition will take place in Vienna from December 10 to 13, organised by the Agency in cooperation with WHO and UNICEF.

Nuclear Energy

Madam Chairperson,

Turning now to nuclear energy, the 454 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries today have achieved the highest ever total net installed capacity of over 400 Gigawatts electric.

Nine new reactors have been connected to the grid this year compared with four last year. Construction started on four reactors:  one in the Republic of Korea, one in the Russian Federation, and one each in newcomer countries Bangladesh and Turkey.

At next month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland ­– known as COP24 – the Agency will highlight the ways in which Member States can benefit from its services in monitoring, mitigation and adaptation. Our analytical tools for sustainable energy planning are now being used by around 150 countries and 21 international organizations.

At a pioneering Technical Meeting last month, experts considered hybrid energy systems, combining both nuclear and renewables, which can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil fuels. Such hybrid systems would also foster co-generation for seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating, cooling and other industrial applications.

This year, we have conducted Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions to Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the first INIR mission for Research Reactors in Nigeria.

Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation missions, known as ARTEMIS, were conducted in Brazil and Luxembourg. Spain became the first country to host an IRRS mission combined with an ARTEMIS service.

Our 4th international peer review mission on Japan’s plans to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi site took place this month.  

Assurance of Supply

Regarding the IAEA LEU Bank in Kazakhstan, I am pleased to inform the Board that the Agency has signed LEU acquisition contracts with two suppliers – Kazatomprom and Orano Cycle. Our aim is to have the LEU delivered to the IAEA Storage Facility before the end of 2019.

The Agency has also signed LEU transport contracts with companies in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.

We will arrange an informal briefing for Member States on the progress of the IAEA LEU Bank project.

Nuclear Safety and Security

Madam Chairperson,

I will now turn to nuclear safety and security.

I welcome Member States’ increased interest in the Agency’s safety and security peer review and advisory services. In September, we conducted the 100th Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in Hungary. We are working to further improve our services, including by combining different types of peer review, as we did in Spain.

Last month, around 400 delegates from 74 Member States and 13 international organizations took part in the International Symposium on Communicating Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies to the Public. In a welcome development which I hope to see repeated, most of the participants were female.

Madam Chairperson,

I encourage all countries to participate in the IAEA International Conference on the Security of Radioactive Material, to be held next month in Vienna. The Conference will focus on the security of radioactive material under regulatory control, and on the detection of such material out of regulatory control.

Preparations are underway for the next IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security, to be held at ministerial level in February 2020. I thank Ambassador Spassov of Bulgaria and Ambassador Youssef of Egypt for leading the programme committee.

We are also commencing preparations for the CPPNM Review Conference which will be held in 2021. I encourage Member States that have not yet done so to sign the Amendment to this important Convention.

Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Madam Chairperson,

My report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) covers relevant activities of the Agency in that country in the last few months.

Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It is essential that Iran continues to fully implement those commitments.

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue.

Nuclear Verification

Our 13th Symposium on International Safeguards earlier this month generated many new ideas and practical proposals. The focus was on building future safeguards capabilities by identifying innovative technologies and strengthening partnerships within the safeguards community and beyond. I am pleased that the number of female participants was a record 30 percent.

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

Serbia brought its additional protocol into force on September 17th. This brings the number of States with additional protocols in force to 133. The number of States with safeguards agreements in force stands at 182.

I ask States Parties to the NPT without comprehensive safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay. I hope that States which have not yet concluded additional protocols will do so as soon as possible. I also call on States with small quantities protocols based on the old standard text to amend or rescind them.

Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Madam Chairperson,

Regarding the DPRK nuclear issue, let me note some developments since my report in August.

In the Pyongyang Declaration issued at the inter-Korean Summit meeting on 19 September, reference was made to the DPRK’s intention to “continue to take additional measures, such as the permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon”.

At Yongbyon, further activities were observed near the Kuryong River. These may be related to changes to the cooling infrastructure for the 5MW(e) reactor and the Light Water Reactor. It is likely that the 5MW(e) reactor was shut down while some of these activities were conducted. At the Light Water Reactor, the Agency also observed activities consistent with the fabrication of reactor components and the possible transfer of these components into the reactor building.

However, without access, the Agency cannot confirm the nature and purpose of these activities.

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.

I again call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and of the IAEA Board, to cooperate promptly with the Agency and to resolve all outstanding issues.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

As far as safeguards implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, our assessment remains that it was very likely that the building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site in 2007 was a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency by Syria under its Safeguards Agreement.

I renew my call on Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations. Syria has yet to respond to these calls.

Management Issues

Madam Chairperson,

Turning briefly to management issues, I plan to present the Draft Programme and Budget 2020-2021 at the end of January. We will brief Member States in the meantime on a revised methodology for the price adjustment.

I remain very conscious of the financial constraints in many Member States and have instructed managers to seek maximum budget efficiencies. At the same time, growing demand from Member States for Agency services will require a modest increase in our Budget. Since the beginning of my tenure as Director General, I have been actively leading a “one-house” approach within the Agency. We will continue our dialogue with Member States so that we can deliver concrete results, with increased efficiency, in all areas of our work.

As part of our continuing measures to ensure the Agency upholds the highest standards of ethical behaviour, we have introduced a mandatory training course entitled Values in Action: Promoting a Respectful Workplace. More than a third of Agency staff have already taken part.

Finally, Madam Chairperson, I wish to offer my warmest thanks and best wishes to Mr Aldo Malavasi, DDG and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, who will be leaving us shortly. Aldo has been highly effective in promoting the use of peaceful nuclear applications in developing countries. His energy, enthusiasm and boundless good nature were critical in ensuring the success of the ReNuAL project. I wish Aldo every happiness and success in the future.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.  

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Last update: 22 Nov 2018

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