Thank you very much, Gabi.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Mr. Mayor, dear Colleagues,
I welcome you all to Seibersdorf for two important events - the formal opening of the extension to the IAEA Clean Laboratory, and the ground-breaking for the new Nuclear Material Laboratory.
I thank you all for your participation today and for your interest in this important project.
Since becoming Director General, I have made enhancing the Agency's analytical capabilities a high priority. The new building behind me does just that.
It contains the new Large Geometry Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer, which greatly improves the Agency's ability to independently analyse environmental samples for safeguards. In fact, it makes us a leader in particle analysis.
This state of the art instrument, obtained thanks to the generous support of the Government of Japan, is now in routine operation supporting critical safeguards operations.
I am especially pleased that we were able to complete this important project on schedule and slightly under budget. It was less than 18 months ago that we gathered here for the ground-breaking ceremony for the Clean Laboratory Extension. The transformation of this site in such a short time has been remarkable.
Needless to say, this achievement would not have been possible without the active and generous support of Member States. I thank all of you for the encouragement and support which you have given us.
In particular, I thank Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, the European Union, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States for their generous financial assistance or in-kind support for the ECAS project.
My special thanks go to the Government of Austria for being an exemplary host of the Agency and for generously making additional land available for the Laboratories.
I appreciate the valuable cooperation provided by the local authorities - especially Buergermeister Ehrenhofer - the people of Seibersdorf and our friends and neighbours at the Austrian Institute of Technology. This is indispensable for the successful day-to-day operation of our laboratories.
I also express my deep appreciation to my colleagues in the Department of Safeguards. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of: Gabi Voigt, Director of the Office of Safeguards Analytical Services; Dave Swindle, the lead consultant; Bob McGill, the project manager; as well as the rest of the project team and, indeed, all the staff at SGAS.
Our successful experience with the Clean Laboratory Extension and the lessons learned will be of great value as we proceed with work on the Nuclear Material Laboratory.
I will have more to say about the Nuclear Material Laboratory in a little while when we move to the ground-breaking ceremony.
But for now I invite my colleague Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director General for Safeguards, to join me on the podium to officially accept the Clean Laboratory Extension into the Department of Safeguards.