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Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

Vienna Austria

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano delivering his statement at the Board of Governors meeting. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

(As preprared for delivery)

Mr Chairman,

A number of important reports are on the agenda of this meeting.

The Annual Report for 2016 is the Board’s report to the General Conference. It provides a summary of significant Agency activities during this 60th anniversary year to promote peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, enhance nuclear safety and security, and implement safeguards.

Technical Cooperation

Mr Chairman,

This month, we concluded our first ever International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme. It attracted very strong participation, including at head of state and government, and ministerial, level. The event was a valuable opportunity to make Member States and global development partners more aware of the work of the Agency.

As reported in the Technical Cooperation Report for 2016, the main focus of TC spending last year was on health and nutrition, nuclear safety, and food and agriculture.

In health and nutrition, many activities in Asia and the Pacific were aimed at strengthening countries’ ability to detect and treat cancer more effectively, and to address emerging diseases. In Fiji, for example, the Agency helped to pave the way for the establishment of the country’s first cancer centre. In Sri Lanka, patients with cancer or arthritis benefited from improved radioisotope-based therapy processes.

Our PACT programme carried out eight ImPact missions, and several follow up missions, in 2016.

In Africa, the Agency continued to support many food and agriculture projects. In Kenya, important forage crops for livestock were improved, which will lead to increased milk production on small farms.

In Europe, Agency projects helped Member States to strengthen nuclear safety and improve their regulatory infrastructure.

In Latin America, the Agency provided immediate emergency assistance in response to the Zika virus outbreak in 2016. This ability to respond quickly to crises is an important strength.

The Agency is supporting food safety laboratories in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America. In Panama, our support made it possible for experts to analyse pesticides in crops. In Costa Rica, we helped laboratories to identify chemical contaminants and residues in animal products.

I remind all Member States of the importance of maintaining TC funding at a level that ensures the Agency can meet the growing demand for our services. I ask all countries to contribute on time, and in full, to the TCF.

Nuclear Applications

Mr Chairman,

A number of important conferences have been held, covering different areas of nuclear applications.

In April, we hosted our first International Conference on Applications of Radiation Science and Technology. This will take place every four years in future. In May, the third FAO/IAEA International Conference on Area-wide Management of Insect Pests attracted nearly 400 scientists from 100 countries.

Later this month, we will host the second International Conference on Advances in Radiation Oncology. It will focus on maintaining quality standards to ensure optimal radiation doses to patients.

The ReNuAL project to modernise our nuclear applications laboratories continues to make excellent progress, with construction proceeding on schedule and on budget.

So far, over 1.1 million euros in extra-budgetary funds have been raised for construction of the new Animal Production and Health Laboratory. Another 870,000 Euros are urgently needed – this month, in fact – to ensure that construction moves forward as scheduled. This will allow maximum efficiency and synergy with the construction of the Flexible Modular Laboratory.

A further 4.7 million Euros are required by September to ensure that the Animal Production and Health Laboratory can be completed on time. I thank all Member States that have made contributions, and I strongly encourage all countries in a position to do so to provide further financial support.

This year’s Scientific Forum will be entitled Nuclear Techniques for Human Health: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment. It will take place on September 19 and 20.

I am pleased to inform you that the dates for our Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Applications have now been set. It will take place in Vienna from November 27 to 29, 2018.

Nuclear Safety and Security

Mr Chairman,

The 7th Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety attracted active participation, with 79 of the 80 Parties submitting reports. This underlines the commitment of Parties to global nuclear safety. I encourage all countries that have not yet done so to become Parties to the Convention.

In March, the Board deferred a decision on my report entitled Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources: Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources. I hope that this issue will be finalised by the September Board at the latest, as proposed by the Chairman of the Board.

The Agency will conduct a full-scale ConvEx-3 emergency preparedness exercise later this month. In addition to IAEA staff, this 36-hour exercise will involve 82 Member States and 11 international organizations. This is the highest participation so far. The exercise, hosted by Hungary, will help to strengthen international emergency response arrangements and capabilities for severe nuclear emergencies.

I thank Member States for their input into the draft Nuclear Security Plan 2018-2021. A revised draft incorporating comments received will be circulated in the coming days.  We will continue to consult closely with Member States and will submit the Plan to the September Board.

Nuclear Energy

Mr Chairman,

I will now turn briefly to nuclear energy.

There are 449 power reactors in operation in 30 countries. Installed nuclear capacity is now the highest that it has ever been at 392 gigawatts electrical. Twenty new reactors were connected to the grid in the last two years, the highest number since the 1980s. Sixty power reactors are being built around the world, mostly in Asia.

Advanced nuclear reactors and innovative nuclear energy systems, which are either under construction or being developed, will be safer and more reliable. They will help countries to meet their energy needs and to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Later this month, we will host an International Conference on Fast Reactors and Related Fuel Cycles, which will focus on the latest developments in this exciting field.

We have designated the Belgian nuclear research centre SCK-CEN as an International Centre based on Research Reactors, or ICERR. It will join France’s CEA and the Russian Federation’s RIAR centres in helping Member States to gain access to infrastructure for capacity-building, as well as for nuclear research and development. Two U.S. laboratories have submitted ICERR applications.

The first Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation – known as ARTEMIS – will take place in Italy in July. Five other countries have applied for this service.

Preparations for the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, starting on October 30th in Abu Dhabi, are going well. I encourage all countries to be represented at ministerial level.

Assurance of Supply

Mr Chairman,

The IAEA LEU Bank project in Kazakhstan continues to make good progress.

Construction of the LEU Storage Facility by Kazakhstan is proceeding on schedule. On August 29th, I plan to attend the inauguration ceremony for the Facility.

We continue to work on the LEU Procurement Plan and aim to have an LEU acquisition contract in place before the end of 2017. Our goal is that all the LEU acquired will be transported to the Storage Facility in 2018. The IAEA LEU Bank will then have been established.

Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr Chairman,

You have received my report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015).

The Agency is verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of all its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in accordance with the modalities set out in the JCPOA, consistent with the Agency’s standard safeguards practices, and in an impartial and objective manner.

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 remain ongoing.         

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

Mr Chairman,

Turning now to other nuclear verification matters, I wish to inform you that the safeguards agreement with Pakistan concerning Units 2 and 3 of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant, which the Board approved in March, entered into force in May.

The number of States with safeguards agreements in force stands at 182, while 129 States have brought additional protocols into force. 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.

Safeguards Reports

The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2016 details our work implementing safeguards in 181 States last year. The amount of nuclear material under IAEA safeguards continued to increase.

As my report on Modernization of Safeguards Information Technology shows, activities under the MOSAIC project are proceeding on schedule and within budget. New IT tools and applications to support safeguards implementation have been introduced, and work to strengthen information security is proceeding.

At the end of August, we will hold another Technical Meeting on safeguards implementation. It will focus on the importance of effective cooperation between the Agency, State authorities and facility operators, and provide an update on the development of State-level safeguards approaches.

In the middle of next year, I will report to the Board on the lessons learned and experience gained from implementation of State-level approaches for all States under integrated safeguards. The report will incorporate feedback received from the countries concerned and analysis by the Agency.

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. It is deeply regrettable that the DPRK continues to show no sign that it is willing to comply with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

I again call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under those 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.

I intend to enhance the Agency’s readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme and will update the Board in due course.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

Concerning the implementation of safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic, there have been no significant developments since my last report to the Board. I renew my call to Syria to cooperate fully with us in connection with unresolved issues. I will continue to keep the Board informed.

Management and Other Issues

Mr Chairman,

We have received a letter from the President of the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, inviting the Agency to be represented at negotiations in New York starting on June 15th.

After this meeting of the Board, I plan to respond to the President of the Conference, considering all relevant factors.  

Mr Chairman,

        Turning now to management issues, Member States have been discussing the Agency’s draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2019. The priorities include technical cooperation, nuclear safety and security, verification and monitoring related to the JCPOA, the modernization of the Seibersdorf laboratories, and nuclear energy. I am making every effort to achieve greater efficiencies and savings, especially in overall management and coordination, and to strengthen results-based management.

The Co-chairs of the Working Group on the Regular Budget and TCF targets have proposed a 1.2% overall increase for 2018 over 2017. I strongly hope that there will be consensus on this proposal in the June Board, and that the Board will recommend the Programme and Budget to the General Conference. I also hope that there will be consensus on the new TCF targets. I thank Ambassador Plesner and Ambassador Biato, the co-Chairs of the Working Group, for their energy and dedication in fostering constructive discussions in the past five months.

I am pleased that the Programme and Budget Committee was able to recommend to the Board the transmittal of the Agency’s financial statements to the General Conference. We have again received an unqualified opinion on our financial statements from the External Auditor.

We continue to increase the amount of material on the IAEA public website in official languages other than English. From the end of this month, our public website iaea.org will feature basic information on the role and main activities of the Agency in all official languages.

The Agency-Wide Information System for Programme Support (AIPS) will be completed by the end of June, on time and within budget. I will report to the Board next year on the efficiencies which AIPS has produced.

Finally, Mr Chairman, I wish to inform you that there will be a launch event for the Vienna chapter of the International Gender Champions at lunchtime on Wednesday. This is an international leadership network aimed at breaking down gender barriers, which began in Geneva in 2015.  Gender equality is a high priority for me and I will become a Gender Champion myself. I encourage all of you to join me at this event.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.