Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

IAEA Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

Mr. Chairman,

I will begin by highlighting recent developments in nuclear safety and security.

Nuclear Safety

My report on Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety shows that progress continues to be made in improving nuclear safety throughout the world. Further consideration is being given to integrating activities under the Action Plan into the Agency's regular programme of work after 2015.

In June, representatives from 40 Member States participated in the third International Meeting on Application of the Code of Conduct on the Safety of Research Reactors here in Vienna. I encourage all Member States to continue to work towards full implementation of the Code of Conduct.

Work continues on the IAEA Report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Additional information on the accident is being released in Japan. This will be considered as we proceed with our work. Formal publication of the Report is planned for next year's General Conference.

A growing number of States which do not have nuclear power plants are taking advantage of IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service peer review missions. Next year, some 60 percent of IRRS missions will be to countries without nuclear power. A Workshop on Lessons learned from IRRS Missions will take place in Moscow, starting on October 29.

Following a decision by the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, I have decided to convene a Diplomatic Conference in Vienna starting on 9 February 2015 to consider a proposal by the Swiss Confederation to amend Article 18 of the Convention. A consultation meeting on the Conference will take place in Vienna on 15 October. I invite Contracting Parties to the CNS to provide voluntary contributions to finance these two meetings as soon as possible.

Nuclear Security

Mr. Chairman,

In the past four years, there has been growing international appreciation of the need to address nuclear security in a coordinated manner.

The Agency plays the central role in helping to strengthen global nuclear security. Our work is detailed in the Nuclear Security Report 2014 and my report on Implementation of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013.

The next high-level IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security will take place in December 2016. This will provide a fresh opportunity to review global efforts to date and make recommendations for the future.

The first International Conference on Advances in Nuclear Forensics was held in Vienna in July. It was attended by around 300 technical experts, law enforcement officials and policy-makers from 76 countries and eight organizations.

The number of countries which have ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material continues to grow, but more need to do so in order for this important nuclear security instrument to enter into force. The CPPNM Amendment will be a special focus of a Treaty Event which we will hold during the General Conference next week to promote universal adherence to multilateral treaties adopted under Agency auspices.

Nuclear Energy

Mr. Chairman,

Turning now to nuclear energy, there are 437 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries today. There have been three new grid connections so far this year and 70 reactors are under construction. Thirty-three countries are considering, planning or starting nuclear power programmes. Our latest projections for global use of nuclear power show continued growth in the years to 2030, but at a slower rate than was previously expected. The new low projection is for nuclear power to grow by eight percent in the period and the high projection is for growth of 88 percent.

Uranium resources are more than adequate to meet projected requirements for the foreseeable future. This was a key finding of the authoritative reference report on uranium, known as the Red Book, which we published last week with the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Agency continues to assist Member States that are interested in introducing nuclear power to do so safely and sustainably. An Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission was held in Jordan in August.

Development of the necessary capabilities and infrastructure for nuclear science and technology programmes, including nuclear power, often requires access to research reactors. I recently approved a new initiative, IAEA designated International Centre based on Research Reactors (ICERR), which will help Member States gain access to international research reactor infrastructure.

Last month, the 8th INPRO Dialogue Forum brought together nuclear technology holders and users, as well as other stakeholders from interested countries, to discuss the role of economics, resource availability and institutional arrangements for the sustainable development of nuclear energy systems.

During a visit to Sweden in June, I had an opportunity to see the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, where impressive research is being carried out on a long-term repository for nuclear waste. As you know, radioactive waste management will be the subject of next week's Scientific Forum. This is an important issue for all Member States, whether they have nuclear power programmes or use radioactive materials for medicine, industry, agriculture and research.

Next week, we will host a side event on the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage in the context of the nuclear liability regime. Entry into force of this Convention will be an important step towards establishing a global nuclear liability regime.

The 25th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference will take place in St Petersburg, Russia, from 13 to 18 October.

Nuclear Applications

Mr. Chairman,

Work on our strategy to modernise the nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, known as the ReNuAL project, is progressing well. I look forward to welcoming you all to the ground-breaking ceremony on September 29.

Following consultations with Member States, our strategy for ReNuAL has been updated. Possible elements that go beyond the 31-million-euro budget, to be referred to as ReNuAL Plus, could be implemented following the successful completion of the ReNuAL project, subject to the availability of additional funds.

One of these proposed elements is the establishment of Biosafety Level 3 laboratory capabilities for the Animal Health and Production Laboratory. The Agency is actively exploring possibilities for collaboration with Austria to establish such capabilities at a facility in Mödling, near Vienna.

ReNuAL is an extremely important project for the Agency which will benefit all Member States. I appeal to all countries to contribute generously.

On September 29, we will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. This unique partnership has had a significant economic impact in many Member States, improving food safety, food security and sustainable agriculture. I am confident that our strong collaboration will continue for many years to come, and that it will be further strengthened by the modernisation of the Seibersdorf laboratories.

Nuclear Verification

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

Since my last report to the Board, Cambodia has amended its small quantities protocol and an additional protocol with India has entered into force.

The number of States with additional protocols in force now stands at 124. 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

Mr. Chairman,

The Board has before it the Supplementary Document to the Report on the Conceptualization and Development of Safeguards Implementation at the State Level.

As you know, we have engaged in extensive dialogue on this subject since autumn 2013. The document before you represents our best effort to respond to questions and comments from Member States. We found the consultations very useful and appreciate the time and energy which Member States devoted to the process. We hope the Supplementary Document will lead to a better understanding of issues related to the State-level concept. It will be the reference point should any inconsistency between the documents on this subject be identified.

The State-level concept is part of our continuing efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of safeguards implementation, while improving its efficiency. It involves implementing safeguards in a manner that considers a State's nuclear and nuclear-related activities and capabilities as a whole, within the scope of the State's safeguards agreement.

The State-level concept does not, and will not, entail the introduction of any additional rights or obligations on the part of either States or the Agency, nor does it involve any modification in the interpretation of existing rights and obligations.

It is applicable to all States, but strictly within the scope of each individual State's safeguards agreement.

While "State as a whole" considerations in safeguards implementation are long-standing, State-level safeguards approaches have so far been implemented only for the 53 States under integrated safeguards. Our focus for the immediate future is on updating these existing approaches. The Agency plans to progressively develop and implement State-level approaches with respect to other States, strictly within the scope of their existing safeguards agreements. We will consult with the State and/or regional authority concerned as State-level approaches are developed.

Safeguards implementation is constantly evolving and it is important that States fully understand safeguards implementation issues, particularly as they relate to themselves. The release of this Supplementary Document is part of a continuing process of consultation, not the end. This week's discussions in the Board will be an important part of this process.

We will continue to engage in open, active dialogue on safeguards matters with Member States. As the Agency and Member States gain further implementation experience, we will issue periodic update reports.

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

Mr. Chairman,

As my report on Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea makes clear, the nuclear programme of the DPRK remains a matter of serious concern.

DPRK statements reiterating the country's "right" to conduct further nuclear tests, as well as its intention to restart its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, are deeply regrettable, as are previous statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor. Such actions are clear violations of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations, 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 will continue to maintain its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK's nuclear programme.

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, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

Last month, I held meetings in Tehran with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Dr. Hassan Rouhani, and other senior officials as part of my efforts to advance high-level dialogue between the Agency and Iran.

I stressed the importance of the timely implementation of the Framework for Cooperation. I noted Iran's statement of its firm, high-level commitment to implementing the Framework for Cooperation and its stated willingness to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues.

Iran has implemented three of the five practical measures agreed with the Agency in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation. Two of these were implemented after the agreed deadline of 25 August. Iran has begun discussions with the Agency on the two remaining practical measures.

The Agency asked Iran to propose new practical measures by 2 September to be implemented by Iran in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation. Iran has yet to propose such measures.

In order to resolve all outstanding issues, past and present, it is very important that Iran continues to implement, in a timely manner, all practical measures agreed under the Framework for Cooperation, and that it proposes new measures that we can agree upon for the next step.

The Agency continues to undertake monitoring and verification in relation to the measures set out in the Joint Plan of Action agreed between the E3+3 and Iran, which has been extended. Continuation of our activities will require additional funding of one million euros, of which around 300 000 euros have so far been pledged. I invite Member States which wish to do so to make contributions.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
As far as safeguards implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, the Board will recall that, in May 2011, I reported that it was very likely that a building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site was a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency by Syria.

Since my report of August last year, no new information has come to our attention that would affect that assessment. The Agency remains unable to provide any assessment concerning the nature or operational status of other locations referred to in my report of May 2011.

I urge Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with all unresolved issues.

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.

Management Issues

As we prepare the Programme and Budget for 2016-2017, the Agency's priorities will remain unchanged: technical cooperation, including the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), nuclear safety and security, and ReNuAL. Nuclear energy remains a priority in accordance with the Statute.

I am keenly aware of the financial difficulties which many Member States continue to face. In my guidance to senior managers, I have again requested that strict prioritization and efficiency measures be applied, wherever possible. At the same time, Member State needs are increasing, especially in nuclear safety, technical cooperation, nuclear security and nuclear applications, and IAEA membership continues to grow. Therefore, as was the case in the current biennium, the proposal which I will submit to you early next year will strike a balance between the increasing needs of Member States for Agency assistance, and their capacity to contribute.

I commend the Working Group on Financing the Agency's Activities for the successful outcome of its work and thank the two co-Chairs for their effective leadership. Subject to a decision of the Board on the Working Group report, we will work on the Working Group's recommendations.

We have made considerable investment in systems to improve HR management. With the launch of AIPS Plateau 3 in the coming months, we expect to see efficiencies, streamlining of processes and new functionality that will help us to better manage our most valuable resource - our staff.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank three recently retired directors for their service and dedication - Mr. Rethy Chhem, of the Division of Human Health, Mr. Marco Marzo, of the Division of Operations A in the Department of Safeguards, and Mr. Nobuhiro Muroya, of the Division of Operations C. All three made an important contribution to the work of the Agency.

I also wish to inform you of two senior appointments in my office. Following the departure of Mr. Satoshi Suzuki, Ms. Tomiko Ichikawa is now Special Assistant for Management, while Mr. Derek Lacey has taken up his post as Special Assistant for Nuclear Safety and Security, and for Safeguards.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Last update: 21 October 2014