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Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria
IAEA Board of Governors
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses the Board of Governors, 2 March 2015

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano addresses the Board of Governors. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Madam Chairperson,

I will begin by congratulating Guyana on becoming the 163rd Member State of the IAEA.

Nuclear Safety and Security

Madam Chairperson,

Progress continues to be made in implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

I am pleased to note that IAEA Operational Safety Review (OSART) missions have observed significant improvements in a number of Member States in enhancing the ability of nuclear power plants to withstand severe accidents.

The eighth in our series of post-Fukushima International Experts' Meetings took place last month. This IEM focussed on Strengthening Research and Development Effectiveness in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The ninth IEM, on Assessment and Prognosis in Response to a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, will be held from April 20 to 24.

The Agency continues to provide significant assistance to Member States to strengthen their radiation safety infrastructure.

This includes ensuring that radiation safety specialists take part in all imPACT missions carried out under our Programme of Action on Cancer Therapy to assess cancer control services in developing countries.

Madam Chairperson,

Six draft revised Safety Requirements publications are before the Board for approval as Agency safety standards. We have taken the opportunity to reflect insights gained from studying the Fukushima Daiichi accident. I encourage all Member States to adhere to the Fundamental Safety Principles, and to support the broadest application of the Agency's international safety standards, which are based on knowledge and experience gathered globally.

Last month, as requested by Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, I convened a Diplomatic Conference to consider a proposal by Switzerland to amend the Convention.

I am pleased to note that the Conference adopted by consensus the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety. This includes principles for the implementation of the Convention to prevent accidents with radiological consequences and to mitigate such consequences should they occur.

As requested, I have sent the Vienna Declaration to the IAEA Commission on Safety Standards for its consideration.

Work on the IAEA Fukushima Report continues. We intend to circulate the Summary Report in all official languages for the June Board. We also plan to distribute the Technical Volumes in English before the September Board and the General Conference.

Turning briefly to nuclear security, I am pleased to confirm that the next IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security will take place at ministerial level in Vienna from December 5 to 9, 2016.

The Conference will be an important opportunity for all Member States to review progress in promoting nuclear security, and to map out how the Agency can best assist you in the future.  I encourage all Member States to take part.

Entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material is within our grasp. As of today, we need 17 States to become party to the Amendment to bring it into force. I encourage all States which have not yet done so to become party to the Amendment so it comes into force this year.

Nuclear Energy

Madam Chairperson,

The Nuclear Technology Review 2015 gives an overview of global developments related to nuclear power. The most recent numbers show that there are 439 nuclear power reactors in operation in the world today, and 69 under construction.

Our annual technical meeting on nuclear infrastructure issues in February showed continued interest among new countries in adding nuclear power to their energy mix.

Newcomer countries, and existing nuclear power users with expanding programmes, are sharing their experiences in trying to overcome challenges in developing the necessary nuclear infrastructure. One of these challenges concerns the back end of the fuel cycle. To help address this issue, the Agency will in June host an International Conference on Management of Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors.

Assurance of Supply

Concerning the IAEA LEU Bank, agreement was recently reached with Kazakhstan on the text of a Host State Agreement on an ad referendum basis. Agreement has also been reached ad referendum with the Russian Federation on a draft Transit Agreement in connection with the LEU Bank. Subject to final approvals by the relevant parties, I plan to submit both agreements to the June Board.

Nuclear Applications

Madam Chairperson,  

When I visit Member States, I see first-hand the great importance of the Agency's work to make nuclear technologies available for development. It is gratifying to observe the beneficial impact which this remarkable technology has on the lives of millions of people.

I have stressed this point when addressing the UN General Assembly and other bodies. In fact, I feel that our mandate could be better understood today not just as Atoms for Peace, but as Atoms for Peace and Development.  

I emphasise the importance of modern science and technology, including nuclear technology, for development. I hope that this will be given appropriate recognition in the post-2015 development agenda.

The non-power part of the Nuclear Technology Review 2015 highlights five key themes in nuclear applications:  animal health and production, medical radiation dosimetry, radiopharmaceuticals, hydrology and climate change, and understanding the environment.

The Review includes a consideration of the ways in which nuclear techniques are being applied to prevent, detect, and trace diseases in order to improve animal health. It covers recent developments in the production of radiopharmaceuticals following disruptions in the supply of molybdenum-99. The Review also highlights the role that nuclear techniques play in understanding environmental processes such as ocean acidification and the carbon cycle.

Work continues on the ReNuAL project to modernise the nuclear applications laboratories at Seibersdorf.

We are moving into a critical period as far as extrabudgetary contributions are concerned. It is worrying that no concrete commitments of contributions towards the cost of construction of the buildings have been received so far, although some Member States have indicated strong interest. Funding commitments need to be received by June to enable construction of the buildings to begin this year. I again appeal to all Member States to contribute generously, and I thank those that have already done so.

I wish to inform the Board that the 2015 Scientific Forum in September will be on the subject of radiation technology in industry.

Technical Cooperation

Madam Chairperson,

The Technical Cooperation programme remains the key mechanism for the delivery of IAEA services to Member States. I remind all Member States of the importance of contributing, on time and in full, to the TCF.

You have before you a proposal for an off-cycle technical cooperation project, designed to strengthen Africa's regional capacity for the diagnosis of infectious diseases of animals which can be transmitted to humans. These are known as zoonotic diseases and they include the Ebola Virus Disease.

The project will support the establishment of early warning systems, and build national and regional capacity for the fast and sensitive diagnosis of zoonotic diseases. Activities funded by the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative and the AFRA Fund, to support the establishment of trained field diagnosis teams on Ebola, are already underway.

As the example of Ebola illustrates, the PUI has proven to be a very effective mechanism for the rapid mobilisation of resources in response to urgent Member State needs since its launch in 2010. We will hold a technical briefing on the PUI on March 24 to provide an overview on PUI-related activities and important achievements. I hope to be able to continue with the PUI in future and look forward to continued support from Member States.  

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

I turn now to nuclear verification. You have before you a draft comprehensive safeguards agreement, with a small quantities protocol, for the Federated States of Micronesia.

Since my last report to the Board, Cambodia has signed an additional protocol.

The number of States with additional protocols in force stands at 124. I strongly hope that all other States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible. I ask States without NPT safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay. I also 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 have promised to keep the Board informed of developments in relation to the State-level concept. I can inform the Board that two of the 53 State-level approaches under integrated safeguards have been updated, according to the concept described in the Supplementary Document, and are being implemented. I will continue to keep the Board informed of developments.

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

Madam Chairperson,

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

It is nearly six years since Agency inspectors were asked to leave the DPRK. Nevertheless, the Agency maintains 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 NPT Safeguards Agreement, and to resolve all outstanding issues.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Madam Chairperson,

Concerning safeguards implementation in 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.

The Agency continues to undertake monitoring and verification in relation to the nuclear-related measures set out in the Joint Plan of Action agreed between Iran and the E3+3 countries. 

Iran has yet to provide explanations that enable the Agency to clarify two outstanding practical measures agreed in May 2014 in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation. Iran also has still to propose new practical measures.

The Agency remains ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues under the Framework for Co-operation. This can be realised by increased co-operation by Iran and by the timely provision of access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel in Iran, as requested by the Agency.

This process cannot continue indefinitely. Once the Agency has established an understanding of the whole picture concerning issues with possible military dimensions, I will provide a report with our assessment to the Board.

Last month, I held talks with the Foreign Minister of Iran, HE Mr Mohammad Javad Zarif. We agreed on the importance of continuing the dialogue between the Agency and Iran at all levels. I also stressed the need to resolve, as soon as possible, all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme.

I had a follow-up meeting with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr Araghchi, last week, which provided a useful opportunity to consider the way forward.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

As far as implementation of safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, there have been no new developments since my last report to the Board. I renew my call to Syria to cooperate fully with us in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations.

NPT Review Conference

The 2015 NPT Review Conference will take place from April 27 to May 22 in New York. The Agency plans to organize a number of side events in the margins of the Conference.

These will highlight Agency achievements under the NPT since the 2010 Review Conference.

Management Issues

Madam Chairperson,

I provided advance information on the Agency's draft Programme and Budget for 2016-2017 to the informal PBC meeting on January 27. I am fully aware of the continued financial constraints in many Member States. At the same time, the Agency needs to respond to growing demand from Member States for Agency services. There is increasing interest in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, and the need for Agency nuclear verification activities is growing steadily.

Every effort has again been made in the budget process to prioritise activities and achieve efficiencies. Taking all of these factors into account, I propose a modest budget increase of 1.8% including price adjustment.

As I already informed the Board, technical cooperation – including PACT – nuclear safety, nuclear security, and the ReNuAL project remain the Agency’s priorities for 2016–2017. Nuclear energy continues to be a priority in accordance with the Statute.

Advance copies of Parts I and II of the Programme and Budget are now available on GovAtom. We look forward to receiving the views of Member States.

The Working Group on the Regular Budget and TCF Targets has begun its deliberations under the able co-chairmanship of the Ambassadors of France and India. I am confident that the Working Group will have constructive discussions.   

Agency staff have been adjusting to the introduction of AIPS Plateau 3, which involves new systems, processes and policies for HR matters. Change of this magnitude represents considerable upheaval for any organization. Our first payroll run using the new system was successful.

As you know, I am committed to increasing the representation of women at all levels of Agency staff, in line with the employment principles laid down in our Statute. Discussions were held at our recent senior managers' retreat on how we can enhance our policies, outreach and leadership in this area.

Finally, I invite all of you to attend our celebration of International Women's Day tomorrow. This year's theme is Women on Boards.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson, for agreeing to be one of the panellists. The event will take place outside the Board Room, here in the C-building, after the morning session.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Last update: 16 Feb 2018

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