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Introductory Statement to the Board of Governors

Vienna, Austria

(As prepared for delivery)

Mr Chairman,

I will begin by highlighting issues in nuclear safety and security.

Nuclear Safety and Security

A number of important nuclear safety and security documents are before the Board.

The Nuclear Safety Review 2017 provides an overview of Agency activities in 2016 and of global trends in nuclear safety. It also presents priorities for 2017 and beyond. As outlined in my report on Building on the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety last June, we will consider ways of further strengthening our work in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety. We will continue to focus on regulatory effectiveness, safety culture and capacity-building. Efforts to strengthen global nuclear safety in light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident continue as we approach its sixth anniversary.

Radioactive sources offer many benefits in areas such as medicine, industry and agriculture. But they pose risks to human health and the environment if not managed safely and securely. My report entitled Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources: Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources was prepared in response to requests from Member States. Disposing of disused radioactive sources is an important issue for many Member States, especially developing countries. I hope a solution satisfactory to all Member States can be achieved.

The 7th Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety will be held in Vienna from March 27th to April 7th. Through its peer review process, the Convention has made a significant contribution to strengthening nuclear safety in the countries which are party to it. This will be the first Review Meeting at which participants may report on actions taken in relation to the Vienna Declaration. I encourage all countries which have not yet done so to become parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

Mr Chairman,

A first draft of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2018–2021 has been circulated for discussion and informal consultations have begun. The Plan builds on resolutions of the General Conference and on the Ministerial Declaration adopted at our International Conference on Nuclear Security in December 2016. It is intended to guide our work in providing support to Member States over the next four years. Our focus is on concrete measures which will be of practical value to all countries as they work to strengthen nuclear security. We will consult very closely with Member States on this.

Nuclear Energy

Mr Chairman,

The Nuclear Technology Review 2017 provides an overview of global developments related to nuclear power last year.

As the Review notes, nuclear power contributes significantly to meeting the goal set under the Paris Agreement of holding the increase in global temperature well below 2°C above preindustrial levels, and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

It also highlights the key role of technological innovation. Innovative nuclear power technologies, including small and medium sized or modular reactors and advanced fuel cycles, could more efficiently contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and extend the role of nuclear power into new applications.

There are 449 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries today. Sixty reactors are under construction, mostly in Asia.   

Preparations are well underway for the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, which opens in Abu Dhabi on October 30th. It will provide an opportunity for governments, operators and regulators to consider the valuable contribution which nuclear power makes to energy security and to mitigating the effects of climate change. I encourage all countries to be represented at ministerial level.

The 2016 edition of the biennial Red Book on global uranium resources, production and demand was published after the November Board by the IAEA and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. It shows that global uranium resources are more than adequate to meet foreseeable demand in the coming decades.

Assurance of Supply

The IAEA LEU Bank project in Kazakhstan continues to make good progress. Construction of the LEU Storage Facility is proceeding on schedule and Kazakhstan expects to have the facility built, and ready to receive LEU, by September this year.

You have before you for approval an Agreement between the IAEA and China for the transit of LEU to and from the LEU Bank. It is similar to the Agreement with the Russian Federation which you approved in 2015.

Following ratification by Kazakhstan, the Host State Agreement has now entered into force. This triggers entry into force of related Technical Agreements and paves the way for the entry into force of the Transit Agreement with the Russian Federation.

We continue to work on the LEU Procurement Plan and aim to have an LEU acquisition contract in place before the end of 2017.

Nuclear Applications

Mr Chairman,  

Turning now to nuclear applications, I am pleased to report that the modernisation of the Seibersdorf laboratories under the ReNuAL project is proceeding on schedule and within budget. I encourage all Member States to visit Seibersdorf to see the impressive progress being made.

My status report outlines the scope and estimated resource requirements of ReNuAL+. Since the funding target for ReNuAL was achieved, over four million Euros in extrabudgetary funds have been pledged or provided for ReNuAL+. If we receive an additional two million Euros in extrabudgetary funds by June this year, we can maximize cost efficiencies in the construction of the third wing of the Flexible Modular Laboratory. I warmly thank Member States that have already provided funding to ReNuAL and ReNuAL+, and I encourage all countries in a position to do so to contribute.

I wish to inform the Board that this year’s Scientific Forum in September will focus on Nuclear Techniques in Human Health. It will bring together government officials and leading experts to consider the latest advances in the use of nuclear techniques in disease prevention, diagnosis and cure.

Technical Cooperation

Mr Chairman,

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

I encourage all countries to participate actively in the first ever International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme, which will take place from May 30th to June 1st. The aim of this important conference is to raise awareness of the achievements and potential of the TC programme and ensure greater recognition for our work on assisting sustainable development.

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 has been verifying and monitoring the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for more than a year.

In January, the Agency verified the removal of excess centrifuges and infrastructure from the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant to the Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz, where they are now stored under Agency continuous monitoring.

My Report provides more information in relation to Iran’s LEU stockpile, which was facilitated by clarifications agreed by the Joint Commission established under the JCPOA.

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 continue.        

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols

Turning now to nuclear verification, you have before you for approval a draft safeguards agreement with Pakistan concerning Units 2 and 3 of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant.

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.

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 has shown no indication that it is willing to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions adopted in response to its two nuclear tests last year.

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

The Agency maintains its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme. 

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 all unresolved issues.

NPT Review Conference

The first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference will take place from May 2nd to 12th in Vienna. The Agency will participate actively and provide all necessary assistance. We will organize side events and an exhibition in the margins of the Preparatory Committee meeting.

Management Issues

Mr Chairman,

I will now turn to a number of management issues.

A full Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2019 was provided to Member States at the end of January to allow more time for consultation. 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 for our 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 to prioritise activities and achieve efficiencies. Taking all of these factors into account, I propose a budget increase of 2.1% including price adjustment.

On Wednesday this week, we will celebrate International Women’s Day with a panel discussion hosted by our new Deputy Director General for Management, Ms Mary Alice Hayward. I encourage all of you to join me at this event, which will bring together women leaders from the nuclear industry to talk about their experiences.

The Agency has made significant progress in hiring more women in the professional and higher categories in recent years, but more needs to be done. I am making every effort to appoint well-qualified female candidates to high-level positions and asking senior managers to do the same. I encourage Member States to redouble their efforts to identify suitable candidates and make them aware of the great opportunities available at the Agency. I also invite you to nominate highly qualified women as speakers for international conferences, experts in technical meetings, and participants in IAEA training courses.

Finally, Mr Chairman, let me note that we will continue to mark the 60th anniversary of the IAEA this year. The Agency was established when the Statute entered into force on July 29th, 1957.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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