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13 September 2010 | Vienna, Austria
IAEA Board of Governors

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Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Mr. Chairman,

Last month, I had the honour of attending two very important ceremonies in my homeland in commemoration of the devastating nuclear catastrophes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This was the first time that the ceremonies were attended by the United Nations Secretary General, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and the IAEA Director General. I sensed a new momentum towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.

I used the occasion of my visit to Nagasaki to make my own personal commitment to redouble my efforts to help bring about a world free of nuclear weapons. There are four elements to this commitment:

First, I believe the IAEA should do what it can to facilitate the implementation of nuclear disarmament through verification. We recently received a joint letter from Secretary of State Clinton and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov, on behalf of the United States and the Russian Federation, requesting IAEA assistance to independently verify implementation of their agreement on the disposal of plutonium no longer required for defence purposes.

Second, the IAEA should, when requested, work to support the creation of new nuclear-weapon-free zones and continue to help in implementing agreements relevant to such zones.

Third, the Agency´s safeguards activities should be strengthened in order to help prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Fourth, the IAEA should redouble its efforts to support States in their national efforts to prevent terrorist groups from acquiring nuclear weapons.

I intend to focus strongly on the goal of helping to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, under the guidance of the Board of Governors.

I will now turn to some of the items on our Agenda.

Nuclear Security Report 2010

As the Nuclear Security Report 2010 shows, the Agency continues to assist Member States in developing a sustainable nuclear security capacity. Most Member States now participate in the Illicit Trafficking Database and there is strong interest in the Agency´s training and educational programmes in this field. I was pleased to see the importance of our work to assist national efforts in nuclear security recognized in a number of international fora, including the Nuclear Security Summit and the NPT Review Conference.

During my visit to China in August, the Chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, Mr. Chen Qiufa, and I signed a practical arrangement on strengthening our existing cooperation in the field of nuclear security. We will also work together to improve nuclear security in the East Asia region. I was impressed by the high priority which China is giving to nuclear security.

Adherence to the relevant international legal instruments on nuclear security has gradually increased. However, I must point out that, while it is five years since the adoption of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, progress towards entry into force remains slow. I firmly believe that global nuclear security needs a strong CPPNM and I therefore encourage the parties to the Convention to work towards accelerating the entry into force of the Amendment. The Secretariat plans to hold a meeting in November to identify ways in which assistance can be given to States that wish to adhere to the Amendment.

Next, I will turn to nuclear verification.

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
Since my last report in June, Mozambique has signed a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol. Swaziland informed us that it had brought an additional protocol into force when it submitted an application for membership of the Agency. The number of States with additional protocols in force now stands at 102. I strongly hope that remaining States will conclude additional protocols as soon as possible.

I also ask the 18 States without NPT safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay, and call on States with small quantities protocols that have not yet done so to amend or rescind their protocols.

Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea
As the Agency has had no inspectors in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea since April last year, I have nothing to report to the Board on any activities of the IAEA in relation to that country.

The DPRK has not permitted the Agency to implement safeguards in the country since December 2002 and it has not implemented the relevant measures called for in Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874. I urge the DPRK to fully implement all relevant nuclear non-proliferation obligations. I again call on all parties concerned to make concerted efforts for a resumption of the Six-Party Talks at an appropriate time, with the ultimate aim of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
You have before you my report on Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

The cooperation needed includes, among other things, implementation of relevant resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council, implementation of the Additional Protocol and of modified Code 3.1, as well as the clarification of issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran´s nuclear programme.

I learned with great regret about Iran´s decision to object to the designation of two inspectors who recently conducted inspections in Iran. I express my full confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of the inspectors concerned. Both are very knowledgeable about the nuclear fuel cycle and have long experience in Iran.

As noted in my report, Iran´s repeated objection to the designation of inspectors with experience in Iran´s nuclear fuel cycle and facilities hampers the inspection process. I call upon Iran once again to reconsider its decision of 16 January 2007 to request the Agency to withdraw the designation of 38 inspectors.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
As my report on Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic shows, Syria has declined to engage substantively with the Agency in connection with the unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and some other locations. As a consequence, the Agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving the outstanding issues related to those sites.

It is critical that Syria positively engage with the Agency on all of these issues without further delay.

During a meeting between Syria and the Agency on 3 September 2010, agreement was reached on a plan of action for resolving the Agency´s questions concerning the results of samples taken at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) in Damascus. The Agency remains engaged with Syria to clarify the origin of anthropogenic natural uranium particles found at the MNSR.

Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East

Mr. Chairman,

Regarding the 53rd General Conference resolution on the application of comprehensive Agency safeguards covering all nuclear activities in the Middle East, there continues to be a general lack of clarity among Member States in the region on the substance and modalities of an agreement to establish a Middle East nuclear-weapon-free zone. It is also apparent that there is no convergence of views among Member States on convening a forum on the relevance of the experience of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones for establishing such a zone in the Middle East.

I will continue my consultations with concerned Member States.

Israeli Nuclear Capabilities

You have received my report on Israeli nuclear capabilities, which I prepared as requested by the 53rd General Conference. I sought the views of all Member States on this issue and received 43 replies from governments and from the High Representative of the European Union. I also held consultations with representatives of concerned Member States, especially those in the Middle East.

In August I visited Israel where, at the highest political level, I conveyed the General Conference´s concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities and invited Israel to consider acceding to the NPT and placing all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. The Israeli response to the issues I raised was in line with that expressed in the letter to me of 26 July 2010 from the Foreign Minister of Israel, which is contained in Annex 2 of my report.

Mr. Chairman,

You will recall that the NPT Review Conference in May endorsed the convening of a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in that region. Having been personally involved in the NPT process since 1995, I was very pleased that the 2010 Review Conference produced some concrete results. I hope that the proposed 2012 conference will take place with the participation of all relevant States and that it will lead to a productive outcome.

I would now like to update the Board on a number of other issues.

Assurance of Supply

Discussions have been taking place for some time on possible measures to ensure reliable supplies of nuclear fuel. I believe that the Agency is the appropriate forum for these discussions and I encourage Member States to find suitable ways of dealing with this issue. The Secretariat stands ready to provide any assistance required.

In order to keep all options open, I have asked the Nuclear Threat Initiative to consider extending its offer of $50 million for an IAEA LEU bank by another year from September 2010.

Tehran Research Reactor

Regarding Iran's request to the Agency to facilitate the supply of nuclear fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, I have continued to consult with all concerned parties.

I received responses from the Governments of France, the Russian Federation and the United States concerning Iran's communication of 24 May. I promptly conveyed these to the Government of Iran. In its reply of 26 July, the Government of Iran reaffirmed its readiness to engage in talks based on the Joint Declaration signed by the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Brazil and Turkey.

In late July, I conveyed to all interested parties my readiness to host a meeting to facilitate the process. I stand ready to convene such a meeting, subject to the agreement of all concerned parties.

Peaceful Uses Initiative

Following the announcement by the United States regarding the Peaceful Uses Initiative, we have received the first allocation of 5 million US dollars. I am keen to ensure that tangible benefits flow from this Initiative to areas identified in Member States and will personally follow its implementation. I have proposed several technical cooperation projects in nuclear energy and areas such as water, food security, the marine environment and cancer control for possible funding. I call upon other Member States who are able to do so to contribute to this endeavour.

Programme and Budget 2012-2013

Next, I wish to thank Ambassador Rasi for her sterling work on securing agreement on the 2011 Programme and Budget.

After the June Board of Governors Meeting, I issued new guidelines to the Secretariat for the preparation of the Programme and Budget for 2012-2013. The guidelines took into account concerns expressed by Member States about the difficulty of funding the Agency´s activities at a time of serious financial constraints and the need to address growing demands for new priority activities.

As the starting point of our budget preparation process, I established budget ceilings of 95% of the 2011 budget for all Major Programmes. These will require Major Programmes to identify both low-priority projects and areas to improve efficiency.

On the other hand, there exists a clear need for additional expenditure to meet new and expanding demands for assistance from Member States. This will be reflected in the Programme and Budget estimate for 2012-2013 which I will submit to the Board early next year.

The new budget estimate will also take into account deliberations in the Working Group meetings on the Medium Term Strategy and the Board´s decision in June that "the 2011 Budget level will be the reference for budget discussions for the next biennium 2012-2013."

For an improved and more coordinated approach to addressing policy issues in the Agency, the function of strategy formulation and policy planning within the Secretariat needs to be strengthened. In a wider perspective, more should be done to strengthen policy and management coordination.

Confidentiality

I have noted the concerns expressed by several Member States about the Agency's system for protecting safeguards confidential information. It is vitally important for the Agency that all staff members fulfil their obligations to protect confidential information. I have recently taken a number of additional measures, including amending the confidentiality undertaking which staff members are required to sign on separation from the Agency to spell out more clearly their continued obligation to protect confidential information. We are also reviewing our public information policy and staff rules regarding interaction between staff and external contacts, including the media. I intend to present a progress report on the Agency's information security regime at a future meeting of the Board. I seek your understanding for the fact that these are very complicated issues and require time for in-depth consideration.

The investigation initiated by my predecessor, Dr. ElBaradei, into leaks to the media of safeguards confidential information in 2009 has been completed. The investigation did not result in the identification of a source of the leaks and did not provide any evidence that information was leaked by officials working in the Secretariat.

Cost-Free Experts in the Secretariat

In response to a request from Member States, I will shortly circulate a Note on the employment of Cost-Free Experts in the Secretariat in 2009. In preparing the Note, I have balanced the need for transparency with my responsibilities for the day-to-day running of the Agency.

Cost-Free Experts are employed throughout the Agency, allowing us to carry out certain aspects of our work effectively and at less cost than if the individuals concerned were employed on staff contracts. All individuals employed by the Agency, including Cost-Free Experts, are bound by the same confidentiality undertaking.

Departing Staff

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to pay tribute to two senior colleagues well known to all of you who recently left the Agency - Deputy Director General for Nuclear Safety and Security Tomihiro Taniguchi, and Deputy Director General for Safeguards Olli Heinonen. Both have left legacies of which they can be proud. I know I speak for all of you when I thank them warmly for their many years of distinguished service to the Agency and wish them every success in the future.

Scientific Forum

Finally, I wanted to inform you that we have been able to secure the participation of top cancer specialists, scientists and experts from all over the world for next week´s Scientific Forum, which as you know is devoted to cancer in the developing world. This promises to be an exciting and informative event and I hope as many Member States as possible will participate.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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