Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors
(As prepared for delivery)
Since the last meeting of the Board of Governors, appalling acts of terrorism have led to considerable loss of life in a number of Member States.
I know I speak for all of us when I express my profound horror at all of these atrocities and offer my sympathy and support to the governments and people of the countries affected.
I welcome two new Member States of the Agency – Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados. This brings our membership to 167 countries.
I thank Member States for the strong support that they showed for the Agency's technical cooperation activities in the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee this week.
For the next Technical Cooperation (TC) cycle, 648 new projects have been proposed. The top three priorities for Member States remain nuclear safety and security, followed by health and nutrition, and by food and agriculture.
The TC projects proposed for the coming biennium again demonstrate the broad scope of the Agency’s assistance, which has a direct and positive impact on the lives of millions of people.
Importantly for our work, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in September, contain explicit recognition of the importance of science and technology for development.
The SDGs cover many areas in which the Agency can, and does, contribute a great deal. These include energy, food security and nutrition, human health, protection of the oceans and management of water resources, as well as climate change.
As was the case with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to which we also made an important contribution, some Member States may choose to reflect SDG targets in their national development plans and, if appropriate, in their IAEA Country Programme Frameworks.
The TC Programme will continue to respond to Member State needs and priorities.
We continue to demonstrate our ability to act quickly to help countries deal with sudden crises.
Avian influenza remains a threat in a number of African countries. This year, following requests from several African Member States, Programme Reserve funds were quickly made available for five projects to strengthen national capacities to diagnose H5N1 avian influenza.
We funded expert missions to help national laboratories to fine-tune their diagnostic capacities. Participants from ten African countries received training in molecular diagnostics at the Agency’s laboratories in Seibersdorf in early September.
Participants returned home with an emergency diagnostic toolkit. This meant that they were able to immediately carry out diagnosis in their home laboratories using the most recent techniques and effectively address incipient threats to the health of humans and animals.
Given the great importance of the Agency’s technical cooperation activities, I strongly encourage Member States to contribute on time, and in full, to the TC Fund.
Funds from the Peaceful Uses Initiative, and government cost-sharing, have been instrumental in supporting unfunded TC activities over the past biennium, and we look forward to this continuing support.
I note that activities of our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), in particular, depend largely on extrabudgetary contributions. Funding these activities is essential for the Agency to help Member States provide comprehensive care to everyone who needs it.
The ReNuAL project to modernise the nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf will improve the Agency’s ability to help countries use nuclear science and technology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The project is making steady progress. Construction of the Insect Pest Control Laboratory is expected to begin in April 2016, with completion planned for the end of 2017.
Construction of the second building, the Flexible Modular Laboratory, will begin once the required extrabudgetary funding is available. If funds are made available soon enough – ideally by March next year – parallel construction of the two buildings will be possible and cost efficiencies will be maximized.
So far, some 13.9 million Euros in extrabudgetary funds have been provided or pledged by 20 Member States. I thank all of them for their generous support. However, we still need an additional 6.7 million Euros. I again call on all Member States in a position to do so to contribute generously.
In October, the Agency hosted the International Conference on Clinical PET/CT and Molecular Imaging, a unique, multidisciplinary conference in nuclear medicine and radiology. Some 600 delegates, a third of them from developing countries, shared the latest trends in this field.
Also in October, the IAEA and the Association of Medical Practitioners of Spain signed Practical Arrangements to work together to improve radiation medicine in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Arrangements cover collaboration in training and capacity building in areas including diagnostic imaging, radiation oncology, radiation biology and medical physics.
Turning now to nuclear energy, there are 441 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries today, while 65 reactors are under construction. There have been nine new grid connections so far this year and six permanent shutdowns.
The Agency will participate in side events at the Paris Climate Conference, COP21, next week. Many countries expect nuclear power to play an important role in their energy mix in the coming decades. It is one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide among energy sources, considering emissions through the entire life cycle.
I was pleased to accept a kind offer from the United Arab Emirates to host the next IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power from October 31st to November 1st, 2017.
There is a perception in some quarters that there is no technical solution to the issue of dealing with spent nuclear fuel and high level waste. This is not the case. The Finnish authorities recently issued a licence for the construction of a deep geological repository at Onkalo. Expected to be operational in 2023, this will be the first repository in the world for the permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel.
Last week, we held our largest conference to date on research reactors, with more than 300 experts participating. There are 246 operational research reactors in 55 countries and nearly 30 new research reactors are at different stages of implementation.
We continue to assist Member States in moving away from the use of high enriched uranium (HEU) fuel and targets in research reactors in favour of low enriched uranium. In September, Uzbekistan became the latest country to become HEU-free when its HEU was removed from a research facility under a joint IAEA, Russian Federation and United States project.
Nuclear Safety and Security
Turning now to nuclear safety, in September I published my report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, along with my final report on progress in the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. Work is underway to incorporate the output from these major undertakings into the Agency’s regular nuclear safety activities.
Last month, we organised the International Conference on Global Emergency Preparedness and Response in cooperation with 13 other international organizations. It was attended by over 400 participants from 82 countries.
A revised IAEA Safety Requirements publication, entitled Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, has been published and is available for downloading. This updated safety standard, co-sponsored by 12 other international organisations, takes into account the latest experience gained in preparedness and response, including after the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
The Agency will host two important nuclear safety conferences early next year: the International Conference on Human and Organizational Aspects of Assuring Nuclear Safety in February and the International Conference on Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems in April.
Turning briefly to nuclear security, the first meeting of national Points of Contact and Central Authorities for the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) will take place in the week starting on December 14th.
Thirteen countries must still adhere to the CPPNM Amendment in order for it to enter into force. I very much hope that entry into force might happen next year.
Preparations for the International Conference on Nuclear Security in December 2016 are progressing. The Republic of Korea will chair the event at ministerial level. The Ambassadors of Nigeria and the Republic of Korea will lead preparations for this important event and the first open-ended meeting on the Ministerial Declaration is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
I will now turn to nuclear verification.
Since my last report to the Board, Togo has amended its small quantities protocol, Tajikistan has rescinded its small quantities protocol, and an additional protocol has entered into force for Liechtenstein.
The number of States with safeguards agreements in force now stands at 182, while 127 States have brought additional protocols into force. I ask non-nuclear-weapon States party 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.
The Modernization of Safeguards Information Technology (MOSAIC) project is progressing well. The ECAS project to enhance the capabilities of safeguards analytical services is now in its final stages and should be completed – on schedule and within budget – by the end of this year.
Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
I remain seriously concerned about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
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 maintain its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme.
Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
As my latest report on safeguards implementation in Iran shows, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. But we are 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 has continued its monitoring and verification activities in relation to the Joint Plan of Action.
October 18th was Adoption Day for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was agreed between Iran and six countries and the EU in July this year. On the same day, Iran informed the Agency that, effective on Implementation Day, it will provisionally apply its Additional Protocol and fully implement the modified Code 3.1.
The Agency is conducting preparatory activities related to the verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, including verification and monitoring of the steps Iran has begun taking towards the implementation of those commitments.
The activities set out in the Road-map between Iran and the Agency for the period to October 15th were completed on schedule. A wrap-up technical meeting took place between Iran and the Agency on November 24th.
Next week, I expect to provide my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues, as set out in my report of November 2011, for action by the Board.
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
As far as safeguards implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, Agency inspectors conducted a physical inventory verification of nuclear material, and a design information verification, at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor in Damascus in September.
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.
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.
Other Safeguards Issues
Agency inspectors recently conducted a physical inventory verification of nuclear material stored at the Al-Tuwaitha site, near Baghdad, Iraq.
You have before you for approval a draft Agreement between the Republic of Austria, the United Nations, the Agency, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
This Agreement provides for financial support by the Republic of Austria to an educational institution providing places for children of officials of the Vienna-based international organizations, as well as to children of members of the diplomatic and consular corps.
Finally, Mr Chairman, I wish to thank two senior staff members who will be leaving us shortly: Mr Pil-Soo Hahn, former Director of the Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety, and Mr Terry Wood, Project Executive in charge of the LEU Bank. I wish them both every success in the future.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.