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

Vienna, Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano delivering his introductory statement to the Board of Governors Meeting, Vienna, Austria, 23 November 2017. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As preprared for delivery)

Mr Chairman,

Following the meeting of the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee this week, I will begin with technical cooperation issues.  

Technical Cooperation

I thank Member States for their continuing strong support for the Agency's technical cooperation activities.

For the 2018/2019 TC cycle, 579 new projects have been proposed. We have worked very closely with Member States to develop the new programme. The top three priority areas for Member States are health and nutrition, nuclear safety and security, and food and agriculture. We are working to take advantage of new opportunities for partnerships with other organizations under the Sustainable Development Goals framework, in order to increase the impact and effectiveness of the TC programme.

So far this year, we have received 74 million euros in contributions to the TCF, which represents a rate of attainment of 87.2%. The implementation rate as of 16th November was 75.9%.

Mr Chairman,

Let me mention a few examples of TC projects which have brought great benefits to the countries concerned.

Following the Agency’s contribution to the eradication of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in the Dominican Republic, we have also assisted with the successful control of the same pest in Jordan.

Improved soil and water management practices, using isotopic techniques, have helped Sudanese farmers to improve crop productivity, and contributed to a reduction in soil loss in Morocco.

In Mauritania and Benin, livestock productivity is being improved through cross-breeding programmes and artificial insemination.

The Agency is helping to establish a national dosimetry audit system in Romania which will improve safety for patients undergoing radiotherapy or nuclear medicine procedures. In Guatemala, the Agency is supporting the establishment of a brachytherapy programme for gynaecological tumours.

Mr Chairman,

I again encourage all Member States to pay their contributions to the TCF in full and on time. There is a large unfunded component to the programme for 2018. I invite Member States which are in a position to do so to make extrabudgetary contributions.

Nuclear Applications

Mr Chairman,

The ReNuAL project to modernise our nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf is progressing well. This is one of the most important projects ever undertaken by the Agency.

In September, we reached the target of raising 4.7 million euros to fully fund construction of the Flexible Modular Laboratory, the FML. We also celebrated the inauguration of the new Insect Pest Control Laboratory, the first of the new buildings to be completed. Construction of the FML, the new linear accelerator facility, and site infrastructure is continuing on schedule.

To date, 30 Member States and other contributors have made financial contributions of over 32 million euros to ReNuAL and ReNuAL Plus. All new building construction is fully funded. I thank all contributors. However, additional resources are required for the procurement of urgently needed laboratory equipment and for work on the labs that will remain in the existing buildings. I encourage all Member States in a position to do so to make further contributions.  

I am very pleased that Shimadzu Corporation of Japan has agreed to donate sophisticated mass spectrometry equipment to our Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory. It will be used to train scientists from Member States in applying state-of-the-art analytical methods to test for contaminants in food products and to check for food authenticity.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory network, VETLAB, performed successfully during recent outbreaks of H5N8 avian influenza in Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo detected and characterized the virus within just one week of the first outbreak, effectively aiding in the containment and control of this disease.

I welcome the strong interest being shown by Member States in our Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, which will take place in Vienna from November 28 to 30, 2018. In line with IAEA practice, it is desirable that Ministers from two countries, one developed and one developing, should co-chair the Conference. It is important for Member States to start preparatory work early next year. I am pleased to inform you that the Ambassadors of Costa Rica and Japan will be available to lead the preparatory work for this important Conference. 

Nuclear Energy

Mr Chairman,

Turning now to nuclear energy, I thank the United Arab Emirates for hosting our International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century last month. It attracted almost 700 participants from 63 Member States. In my statement, I noted that substantial growth in the use of nuclear energy will be needed if countries are to meet the climate change goals they set themselves under the Paris Agreement. This was echoed by many participants. I am happy to inform you that we have already received expressions of interest in hosting our next ministerial conference on nuclear power in four years’ time.

At the UN Climate Change Conference, COP23, in Bonn, Germany, Agency staff held a number of side events and highlighted our services in monitoring, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Almost 60% of the 448 operational nuclear power reactors in the world today are over 30 years old. The Fourth International Conference on Nuclear Power Plant Life Management, held in October in Lyon, France, focussed on the need both to maintain the current fleet of nuclear power plants, and to invest in the future. Safe and cost-effective operation of current plants beyond their design lifetime will serve as a bridge until new generations of reactors are operational.

Assurance of Supply

Mr Chairman,    

As far as the IAEA LEU Bank project in Kazakhstan is concerned, the LEU procurement process is at a very advanced stage. We will issue a Request for Proposal in the coming days.

Nuclear Safety and Security

Mr Chairman,

I will now turn to nuclear safety and security,

Earlier this month, the Commission on Safety Standards endorsed a revision of the Specific Safety Requirements entitled Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material for submission to the Board. It also endorsed for publication a new Safety Guide entitled Arrangements for the Termination of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, which is co-sponsored by nine international organizations.

We welcome the increased interest among Member States in the Agency’s peer review and advisory services. In October, an Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Remediation took place in Poland. This was the first time that this service, known as ARTEMIS, has been requested by an EU Member State to fulfil its obligations under the European Council Waste Directive.

The third IAEA International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine, to be held next month in Vienna, will consider safety in the medical use of ionizing radiation and the radiation protection of medical staff and the public. I encourage all countries to participate.

Mr Chairman,

Last week, around 700 delegates took part in the International Conference on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities here in Vienna. Parties to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment shared their experiences in meeting their obligations under the two instruments. I encourage all countries that have not yet done so to adhere to the CPPNM Amendment.

Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr Chairman,

Turning now to verification and monitoring in Iran, I visited Tehran on October 29th for talks with President Rouhani and other government leaders. I stressed the importance of full implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  I also encouraged Iran to ratify the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, which it is provisionally applying at present.

As my report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 shows, the Agency continues to verify and monitor Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA. The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran are being implemented.

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. As of today, the Agency has had access to all the locations that we needed to visit.

Nuclear Verification

Mr Chairman,

Last week, we held an informal briefing at which we presented initial lessons learned and experience gained in updating State-level safeguards approaches for States under integrated safeguards.

As I told the Board in September, I will issue my report on this subject for consideration by the Board in June 2018. My report will incorporate feedback received from countries with the new approaches in place and analysis by the Agency.

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

The number of States with safeguards agreements in force stands at 182. Since the last Board, a comprehensive safeguards agreement, small quantities protocol and additional protocol have been signed for Liberia. The Agency was notified by Honduras and Thailand that their statutory requirements for entry into force of the additional protocol have been met. This brings the number of States with additional protocols in force to 132.

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

Mr Chairman,

I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

I again call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, 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.

The Agency maintains its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme.

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 all unresolved issues.

Management Issues

Mr Chairman,

The Board has before it for approval a revised salary scale for the General Services category, based on the results of surveys from the International Civil Service Commission. The additional costs will be absorbed within available resources in 2017 and 2018.

In response to the increased interest of Member States in receiving information about the work of the IAEA in languages other than English, I have prepared a report on multilingualism in the Agency. We will continue our efforts to provide more information in multiple languages, within available resources.

My report on the Implementation of Strategic Guidelines on Partnerships and Resource Mobilization is before the Board. It provides an overview of our efforts since approval of the Guidelines to form new partnerships and explore new sources of funding.

Finally, Mr Chairman, the Board may recall that we began using Atoms for Peace and Development as the Agency’s motto as part of our celebrations of our 60th anniversary. This is widely recognised as better reflecting the current work of the IAEA than Atoms for Peace. After broad consultations, I have decided to retain Atoms for Peace and Development as part of our visual identity in the future.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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