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Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria
IAEA Board of Governors

Mr. Chairman,

I will begin by reporting on two important IAEA conferences which have taken place since the last meeting of the Board.

In June, the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century was held in St. Petersburg. The goal was to take stock of the current status of nuclear power, its future prospects, and its role in sustainable development. I am grateful to our hosts, the Russian Federation, for the excellent arrangements made for this important Conference. One of the key messages was that, for many countries, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving energy security and sustainable development goals.

In July, the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts was held in Vienna. This was the first such conference at ministerial level, open to all IAEA Member States. It was one of the largest conferences ever held by the Agency. Ministers adopted a Declaration on strengthening nuclear security throughout the world and reaffirming the IAEA's central role.

Organizing two ministerial conferences back-to-back was quite a challenge. I am grateful to all Agency colleagues concerned for ensuring that both events went very smoothly.

Before turning to items on the Agenda of this Board, I wish to inform you that we have received a request for membership of the Agency from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Nuclear Safety

Mr. Chairman,

My report on Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety shows that progress continues to be made in key areas in improving nuclear safety throughout the world. These include strengthening the Agency's peer review services, improving emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and protecting people and the environment from ionizing radiation. Areas where further work is needed to implement the Action Plan are identified. After 2015, activities under the Action Plan could be incorporated into the Agency's regular programme in the respective IAEA Departments, as appropriate.

Work continues on the comprehensive Agency report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which will be finalized by the end of 2014. There is still a significant shortfall in funding for this major undertaking by the Agency. I am grateful to all Member States which are in a position to provide support.

Recent events in Japan are a clear reminder of the continuing impact of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The leak of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi is a matter of high priority that needs to be addressed urgently. Recognizing the importance of this issue, the IAEA international peer review mission to Japan in April recommended that Japan establish an effective plan and mechanisms for the long-term management of liquid waste. The announcement by the Japanese Government of a basic policy for addressing this issue is an important step forward.

The Agency remains ready to assist Japan and will send a second international peer review mission this autumn to offer further advice.

Nuclear safety is important in countries which do not have nuclear power plants, as well as in those which do. We continue to work closely with Member States throughout the world on implementation of the Agency's Strategic Approach to Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety.

National and international emergency preparedness and response capabilities will be tested during a full-scale ConvEx-3 exercise which will be held from 20th to 21st November and hosted by Morocco.

An International Conference on Defence in Depth – Advances and Challenges for Nuclear Installation Safety will take place in Vienna from 21st to 24th October. An International Conference on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 27th to 31st October.

The Agency conducted an Integrated Safety Assessment of Research Reactors peer review mission at the Israel Research Reactor 1 at the Soreq Nuclear Research Centre in July. This was the first ever IAEA safety review mission at a nuclear installation in Israel. The team noted the strengthening of the independence of the national regulatory system and good practices in a number of areas. It made recommendations for further enhancing the safety of the reactor.

Nuclear Security

Mr. Chairman,

The Nuclear Security Report 2013 shows the increased emphasis we have been putting on capacity-building to help States establish effective and sustainable national nuclear security regimes. There was a significant increase in the delivery of training courses in the year to June 30th.

Ten States joined the Agency's Incident and Trafficking Database, bringing the total number of participants to 124. States reported 155 incidents to the Database in the year to June 30th. Fourteen of these involved illegal possession of nuclear material or radioactive sources, or attempts to sell these. This is a reminder of the need for all countries to remain vigilant in ensuring that nuclear and other radioactive materials do not fall into the wrong hands.

The Nuclear Security Plan 2014–2017 is the fourth of its kind and shows the increasing maturity of our programme. This plan is particularly important because it reflects the outcome of the July Ministerial Conference. The Agency now provides a broad range of services to Member States to help ensure that nuclear and other radioactive material, as well as nuclear facilities, are properly protected.

Nuclear Energy

Turning now to nuclear energy, the Agency's latest projections have just been published. They show continued growth in global use of nuclear power by 2030. The low projection is for growth of 17% and the high projection is for 94% growth. While these figures are lower than in our last projections in 2012, they still point to a steady rise in the number of nuclear power plants in the world in the next 20 years, particularly in Asia. There are presently 434 nuclear power reactors in operation and 69 under construction. We will continue to provide technical support to countries embarking on nuclear power and to established users. Turkey will shortly host an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission.

Assurance of Supply

My latest report on the establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank has been distributed. I visited Kazakhstan in August for discussions about the way forward. I also had an opportunity to visit the proposed site of the LEU Bank and to discuss technical aspects, including IAEA safety requirements, with the facility operator.

Discussions with the Government of Kazakhstan on a Host State Agreement and supporting technical agreements will continue. I will keep the Board informed of developments.

Nuclear Applications

Mr. Chairman,

My report on Strengthening the Agency's Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications and the Nuclear Technology Review provide an update on our work in a variety of areas related to nuclear applications.

I am grateful for the support from Member States for my plans to modernize the Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf. These laboratories are critical to providing services to Member States in food and agriculture, cancer control, environmental protection and nuclear instrumentation. I have circulated my first report on the lab modernization, which will be known as the ReNuAL project. I hope that as many Member States as possible will consider providing extrabudgetary support.

Subject to approval of the Programme and Budget 2014-2015 by the General Conference, our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) will receive additional staff and funding in the new biennium. This reflects the high importance of this programme to many Member States.

Nuclear techniques have an important role to play in the management of cardiovascular diseases, which are among the leading causes of death in the world. The Agency, together with ten professional organizations, is organizing an International Conference on Integrated Medical Imaging in Cardiovascular Diseases in Vienna, starting on 30 September.

The Agency has been assisting Member States through the Technical Cooperation programme in their efforts to prevent the spread of H7N9 avian influenza after an outbreak in China last February. The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture successfully evaluated and validated early and rapid diagnostic procedures. Training courses were also organized to help countries address this dangerous variant of avian influenza.

The Agency is also active in the fight against an aggressive new form of wheat stem rust known as Ug99 that has spread rapidly from East Africa into South Africa, Yemen and Iran. It represents a serious threat to global wheat production. With assistance from the Agency, two new disease-resistant wheat varieties have been officially released in Kenya.

The Agency's nuclear data experts have recently launched the IAEA's first Android application, or app. This is a real milestone, providing instant in-depth details on the properties of over 4 000 isotopes. It will enable scientists to get quick and reliable information even when not connected to the Internet.

Next week's Scientific Forum is entitled The Blue Planet: Nuclear Applications for a Sustainable Marine Environment. It will highlight the value of nuclear and isotopic techniques for our understanding of threats to the seas and oceans. I encourage all Member States to participate in the Scientific Forum.

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
I will now turn to nuclear verification.

Since my last report to the Board, Bosnia and Herzegovina has brought an additional protocol into force and Kuwait has amended its small quantities protocol. Guinea-Bissau has signed a comprehensive safeguards agreement, a small quantities protocol and an additional protocol. You have before you draft additional protocols for Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

The number of States with additional protocols in force now stands at 121. I strongly hope that remaining States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible. I also ask the 12 States without NPT safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay, and I call on States with the old small quantities protocols to amend or rescind them, if they have not yet done so.

State-Level Concept
I will now address my report on the Conceptualization and Development of Safeguards Implementation at the State Level. The state-level concept - a term that was first introduced to the Board in 2004 - involves giving consideration to a State as a whole, rather than focusing primarily on declared nuclear material and facilities, as we did in the past. It is already being implemented in a significant number of Member States, following extensive consultations with each of them. This approach does not change, or go beyond, the existing legal framework for safeguards. It does not alter any State's legal obligations with respect to safeguards.

The state-level concept is part of our continuing efforts to improve the efficiency of safeguards implementation while strengthening its effectiveness. It improves our ability to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities. It enables us to concentrate our in-field verification efforts in a State on areas of greater safeguards significance and results in better use of Agency resources. This is essential given the budget constraints we face.

The state-level concept is applicable to all States, within the terms of the specific safeguards agreement in force for each. The scope for efficiency gains is greatest in the case of countries with comprehensive safeguards agreements in force. The benefits in terms of efficiencies, as well as the effectiveness of the state-level approach, will be more limited in the case of countries which do not have a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force.

I wish to make clear that we draw conclusions about a State's nuclear activities only on the basis of our own findings. If we receive credible indications about possible undeclared activities from open sources or information provided by Member States, for example, we seek clarification from the State concerned. But any conclusions we draw are based on our own findings.

The Agency will continue to discuss the implications of the state-level concept for individual countries in bilateral consultations, as the implications are state specific. Information of a more general nature will be shared in various ways, for example, through the annual Safeguards Implementation Report and the periodic Safeguards Symposium. The next Symposium will take place in October 2014.

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.

The DPRK's statements concerning a third nuclear test and its intention to restart its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, together with its previous statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor, are deeply regrettable. Such actions are clear violations of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

We have been unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK since 2009, so our knowledge of the country's nuclear programme is limited. Nevertheless, the Agency will maintain its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK's nuclear programme.

I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency in implementing its Safeguards Agreement and to resolve all outstanding issues.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
I will now turn to the implementation of safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The Agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

The Agency has not been able to begin substantive work with Iran on resolving outstanding issues, including those related to possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme. Since my previous report, no further talks aimed at concluding the structured approach document have been held. However, another round of talks is planned for 27th September in Vienna. The Board of Governors has stressed that it is essential for Iran to immediately conclude and implement the structured approach. The Agency remains committed to working constructively with Iran, under the country's new Government, to resolve outstanding issues by diplomatic means.

Iran is still not implementing the modified Code 3.1 of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, despite having made statements about the construction of new research reactors, new uranium enrichment facilities and new power reactors. The lack of up to date design information on the IR 40 Reactor is having an increasingly adverse impact on our ability to effectively verify the design of the facility and to implement an effective safeguards approach.

Given the nature and extent of credible information available to the Agency about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme, it remains essential and urgent for Iran to engage with us on the substance of our concerns. The Agency reiterates its request that Iran, without further delay, provide substantive answers to the Agency's detailed questions regarding the location within the Parchin site and the foreign expert, and provide access to the location concerned.

I continue to urge Iran to fully implement its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations and to engage with the Agency to achieve concrete results on all outstanding substantive issues.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
Since my last report on safeguards implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic in August 2012, the Agency has not received any new information that would affect our assessment of the nature of the destroyed building at the Dair Alzour site. The Board will recall that, in May 2011, I reported that it was very likely that the destroyed building was a nuclear reactor which should have been declared to the Agency. The Agency remains unable to provide any assessment concerning the nature, or operational status, of other locations referred to in that report.

I urge Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations.


Our project on Enhancing Capabilities of the Safeguards Analytical Services (ECAS) will reach a major milestone on 23 September, when the new Nuclear Material Laboratory building in Seibersdorf will be inaugurated. I hope you will all attend the ceremony.

Analytical instruments have yet to be installed in the new building. The phased introduction of scientific functions is expected to take 12 to 18 months. Essential infrastructure for purposes such as radioactive waste water management and vehicle access control has also still to be put in place. Further extra-budgetary support is urgently required. I am grateful for the support of Member States to date, and I encourage all those in a position to do so to make a financial contribution.

Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East
As my report on Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East shows, there remain long-standing and fundamental differences of views among countries of the region with regard to the application of comprehensive Agency safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region. In these circumstances, it has not been possible to make further progress in fulfilling my mandate from the General Conference in this area. I will continue my consultations.

Other Issues

Mr. Chairman,

During next week's General Conference, we will hold a Treaty Event to promote universal adherence to the most important multilateral treaties for which the Director General of the IAEA is depositary. The event, on 16 and 17 September, will provide an opportunity for countries to deposit instruments of adherence and to sign the relevant treaties.

The 2013 session of the Nuclear Law Institute will take place from 29 September to 11 October here in Vienna. The Institute was established by the IAEA in 2011 in order to strengthen the capacities of Member States in all areas of nuclear law.

Before taking up a number of management issues, I wish to inform the Board that I have received a letter from the Russian Federation asking the Agency to conduct an analysis of risks associated with possible military strikes on the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor and other sites in Syria. I have circulated the letter to Member States, as requested. The Agency is considering the request.

Management Issues

As you know, we are making continuing efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiency. We are reviewing travel rules and procedures for Agency staff with a view to reducing overall travel costs. Another example, which will be visible next week, is our effort to make the General Conference "paper-smart". This involves making as much material as possible available in electronic form only and significantly reducing the number of printed documents. We are also shortening administrative processes in areas such as the handling of pledges for extrabudgetary resources and arranging meetings. As part of the roll-out of AIPS, the management of contact information for meetings participants is now fully electronic.

As my report on Women in the Secretariat shows, we continue to try to increase the proportion of women on our staff, especially at more senior levels. Over the past ten years, the overall percentage of women has risen from 18.0% to 27.6% – an increase of 50%. I will continue my efforts to bring in more women at all levels.

With effect from last week, the name of my office has changed to Director General's Office for Coordination (DGOC). I welcome Mr. Cornel Feruta, well known to many of you, who has joined my office as Chief Coordinator.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I wish to pay tribute to two senior Agency staff members who will shortly leave us. Mr. Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director General for Safeguards, brought profound technical expertise to this very demanding role. Mr. Charlie Havekost has been an effective Director of the Division of Information Technology and the Agency's Chief Information Officer. I thank both of them warmly for their distinguished service to the Agency and wish them health and well-being for the future.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Last update: 25 Nov 2019

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