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4 March 2013 | Vienna, Austria
IAEA Board of Governors

Introductory Statement to Board of Governors

by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by congratulating the Kingdom of Swaziland on becoming the 159th Member State of the IAEA.

Mr. Chairman,

Next Monday is the second anniversary of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

It has been a challenging two years, especially for the people and Government of Japan, but also for the IAEA. However, the worst elements of the accident are behind us and we are now in the post-accident phase.

The Agency continues to work hard to help Japan deal with the consequences of the accident. Member States are also making serious efforts to implement the lessons learned from this and from previous accidents. You have received the Nuclear Safety Review 2013 and my report on Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. Both show that continuous safety improvements are being made at nuclear facilities throughout the world.

At the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in December, the Co-Presidents emphasized the importance of strengthening the central role of the IAEA in promoting international cooperation in nuclear safety. During that Conference, I signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture. We will work together on projects on radiation monitoring, remediation, human health, and capacity building in emergency preparedness and response within the RANET framework. The first meeting to launch four radiation and waste safety projects has just taken place.

A fourth post-Fukushima international expert meeting took place in January. This was on the subject of Decommissioning and Remediation after a Nuclear Accident. The Emergency Preparedness and Response Expert Group held its first meeting in February and agreed on priorities for its work.

The series of international IAEA expert meetings will continue this year. In addition, the Agency is organizing a Conference on Effective Regulatory Systems in Ottawa in April, hosted by the Government of Canada.

We have started work on a comprehensive IAEA report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which we hope to finalize in 2014. This is a major undertaking and I would be grateful for the active support of all Member States.

The IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety calls for Member States to make more use of IAEA peer reviews. Many have done so. However, not all Member States with nuclear power have requested operational safety review - OSART - missions in line with the Action Plan. I encourage all countries to do so. This would help to achieve a high level of safety at nuclear power plants, including adequate preparedness to manage severe accidents.

Of course, nuclear safety is not just about nuclear power plants and fuel cycle facilities. It is also important to protect the public and the environment from exposure to radioactive sources, and to protect medical staff and patients from unnecessary and unintended exposure to radiation. These are issues for all countries.

In December, the Agency organized an international conference in Bonn, Germany on Radiation Protection in Medicine. The Conference agreed the Bonn Call for Action, which recommended practical measures to improve protection for patients and health workers against over-exposure to ionizing radiation.

In October this year, an International Conference on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. I encourage all Member States to participate.

Preparations for the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security in July are progressing. I am grateful to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, His Excellency Mr. Janos Martonyi, for agreeing to serve as President of this Conference. I encourage all countries to participate at ministerial level. The Ambassador of Hungary will take the lead in coordinating open-ended consultations among Member States. The Ambassador of Brazil, who has been acting as Chairman of the Programme Committee for this Conference, will act as Co-Chair. I thank Ambassadors Csuday and Vinhas for their willingness to take on these important roles.

Nuclear Energy

Mr. Chairman,

Turning now to nuclear energy, the Nuclear Technology Review 2013 shows that global nuclear capacity increased again last year after its post-Fukushima drop in 2011. Construction began on seven new power reactors, up from four in 2011. The number of new reactors under construction now stands at 66. The UAE is the first new country in 27 years to have started building a nuclear power plant. I visited the site in January and saw first-hand the impressive progress that has already been made.

As you know, the Agency is organizing an International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation, in St. Petersburg in June. I thank Mr. Sergey Kirienko, Director General of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation - Rosatom - for agreeing to preside over this event. The Conference will consider the role of nuclear power in sustainable development and in meeting growing global electricity needs. I hope the Conference will be well attended at the ministerial level, as well as by scientists and representatives of the nuclear industry.

Since the last Board Meeting, we have carried out Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions to Vietnam and South Africa. The South African mission was the first in Africa, as well as the first to a country with an operating nuclear power plant. I was in South Africa for the end of the INIR mission last month and was able to visit the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant. This gave me an opportunity to see many of the measures agreed under the Action Plan being implemented on the ground.

We have circulated a Project and Supply Agreement covering the request by Jamaica for assistance in securing the transfer of low-enriched uranium fuel for a research reactor. The Agency, in cooperation with the United States and Canada, is assisting Jamaica in converting a 20 kilowatt research reactor from the use of high enriched to low enriched uranium.

Assurance of Supply

Turning now to the IAEA LEU Bank project, meetings with the Government of Kazakhstan to discuss a Host State Agreement have continued. The Agency undertook 11 technical missions to Kazakhstan between July 2012 and January 2013. These included safety and security peer reviews. We have made some recommendations about the site to the Kazakh authorities.

I will continue to keep the Board informed of developments.

Nuclear Applications

Mr. Chairman,

The non-power part of the Nuclear Technology Review 2013 focuses on three areas: food security and safety, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and climate change. To give you some examples, the NTR looks at how nuclear techniques such as irradiation are being used to improve food security and safety. It outlines recent advances in radiotherapy which make possible more precise treatment of certain cancers, with reduced damage to surrounding tissue. The Review also contains a discussion of the role that nuclear techniques play in understanding climate change and adapting to its effects.

As you know, I plan a modernization of our nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf. We are developing a concept which identifies the equipment and facilities needed to ensure that the laboratories are equipped to serve the evolving needs of Member States. We aim to finance this initiative through a mixture of extrabudgetary and regular budget funding. I am grateful to countries which have already pledged financial support and I encourage other countries to do so. We plan a briefing to update Member States on this very important initiative.

The modernization of the laboratories will include the construction of a Cancer Training Centre to provide training in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy has conducted the fiftieth imPACT Review mission. This is an important milestone for this key Agency service, which has helped many countries to develop integrated cancer control approaches. Last month, I had an opportunity to visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I saw radiotherapy equipment provided by the Agency being put to very good use. My meetings with patients and staff brought home to me yet again just how important our work on cancer control is to the people of many developing countries.

We plan to take a closer look at the role nuclear techniques can play in industry in developing countries. In cooperation with UN partners, such as UNIDO, we aim to identify how we can assist in priority areas where nuclear techniques can add value, and where private industry does not play a leading role.

In July last year, we announced the launch of the IAEA Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre. In November, we organized a workshop which brought together scientific experts and economists to discuss the socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification on fisheries and aquaculture. It was made possible by the generous support of Member States through the Peaceful Uses Initiative.

As you know, the Agency provides a range of services to Member States in the environmental field. I have decided that this year's Scientific Forum, which will take place during the General Conference in September, will focus on environmental issues.

Nuclear Verification

ECAS Project
Turning now to nuclear verification, the ECAS project - Enhancing Capabilities of the Safeguards Analytical Services - is making impressive progress. The new Nuclear Material Laboratory building is around 80 per cent complete. It is on schedule and within budget. The project team is planning the transition of scientific functions from the old to the new laboratory. This will be phased in from the second half of this year until late 2014. Everything is being done to ensure cost efficiencies.

I am grateful for the support of Member States which have contributed so far. But we still need some 12 million euros to complete this project. I encourage all Member States in a position to do so to make a financial contribution. I hope to invite you to visit the new laboratory building before the end of the year.

Ensuring the physical security of the Safeguards Analytical Services facilities is extremely important. An International Physical Protection Advisory Service mission has just begun examining the physical protection procedures and practices at the laboratories.

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
You have before you a draft additional protocol for the Kingdom of Denmark with respect to Greenland.

The number of States with additional protocols in force now stands at 119. I urge remaining States to conclude additional protocols as soon as possible. Late last year, I wrote to the 13 States parties to the NPT which do not have comprehensive safeguards agreements in force, encouraging them to bring such agreements into force without delay. I renew my call to 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

Mr. Chairman,

I deeply regret the announcement by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 12 February that it had conducted a third test of a nuclear weapon, despite calls from the international community not to do so. This is a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Once again, I strongly urge the DPRK to fully implement all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the IAEA General Conference and the Board of Governors.

The announcement of a third test raised serious concerns within the international community. I reiterate my call for the DPRK to fully comply with the NPT and to cooperate promptly and fully with the Agency. The IAEA remains ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of this issue by resuming its nuclear verification activities once political agreement is reached among the countries concerned.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr. Chairman,

Concerning safeguards implementation in Iran, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. However, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. The Agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

As detailed in my report, Iran has recently begun installing IR-2m centrifuges at the Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz. This is the first time that centrifuges more advanced than the IR-1 have been installed for production purposes. Construction of the IR-40 Reactor continues and Iran has stated that the reactor is expected to begin operating in the first quarter of 2014.

On the structured approach, the Agency and Iran have had three rounds of talks since November 2012. However, it has not been possible to reach agreement. Access to the Parchin site has not been granted. I am therefore, once again, unable to report any progress on the clarification of outstanding issues, including those relating to possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme.

As far as the way forward is concerned, the Agency remains committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with Iran in order to resolve all outstanding issues, as called for in the Board resolution of 18 November 2011. It should be stressed, however, that agreement on the structured approach must be consistent with effective verification. Also, negotiations must proceed with a sense of urgency and a focus on achieving concrete results in the near term.

I would like to make clear that the structured approach document is not an end in itself. Nor is the negotiation process. We must not lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is to resolve all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme. Dialogue should produce results. Timing is also important. In its resolution of 13 September 2012, the Board said that it was essential for Iran "to immediately conclude and implement" the structured approach.

I request Iran once again to provide access to the Parchin site without further delay, whether or not agreement has been reached on the structured approach. Providing access to the Parchin site would be a positive step which would help to demonstrate Iran's willingness to engage with the Agency on the substance of our concerns.

I would like to be able to report real progress to the next meeting of the Board in June.

I urge Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement, and its other obligations, and to engage with us to achieve concrete results on all outstanding issues.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

As far as implementation of safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic is concerned, I renew my call to Syria to cooperate fully with us in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations.

Management and Budget Issues

Mr. Chairman,

Let me touch on a number of management issues.

My report on Information Security at the IAEA outlines significant improvements made in the last two years in the way in which confidential information, and the Agency's IT systems, are protected.

Last month, we presented highlights of the 2014-2015 Draft Programme and Budget to an informal meeting of the Programme and Budget Committee. To respond effectively to Member State needs, I estimate that a 2.1% real increase in the 2014 Regular Budget will be necessary. In formulating our proposal, we took account of the global financial situation, the increasing needs of Member States for Agency services, and our ability to deliver our programmes in the most effective and efficient manner. I believe this is a measured and reasonable proposal.

We have focused on areas of high priority to Member States. Highlights include increased spending on PACT, which, I propose, should become a Division in the Department of Technical Cooperation. I am proposing a total of 5.7 million euros for the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. The regular budget of the Office of Nuclear Security should increase. I also propose that it should become a Division in the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. Extra support will go to the technical cooperation programme. And I propose 2.7 million euros as seed capital to modernize the nuclear applications laboratories.

We have made vigorous efforts to find tangible savings and reductions in other areas of the budget. The number of projects has been reduced by almost 30%. Efficiencies have been found in travel, in the use of commercially available, standardized equipment, and in the improved management of supplies. The wider use of AIPS will enable us to reduce the number of General Services staff, saving over €2 million by 2015. Nevertheless, an increase in funding along the lines proposed will be necessary to meet the requirements of Member States. I look forward to your favourable consideration of our proposal in the coming months.

Work has begun on the third phase of the AIPS Project, which will cover human resources and payroll. It will be completed in the first half of 2014.

I note with concern that we are experiencing continuing problems with contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund. Last year, the rate of attainment was around 88%, compared to 86% in 2011 and a high of 96% in 2008. Demand for our assistance is constantly increasing. Eighteen countries have joined the Agency since 2008, 17 of which are developing countries. It is essential that payments to the TCF are made on time and in full.

Finally, I wish to invite you all to an event tomorrow marking International Women's Day. A panel discussion involving female ambassadors from five Member States will start at 1.15 in the M02 foyer, just outside the Boardroom. This event, chaired by Deputy Director General Janice Dunn Lee, is intended to recognise the vitally important contribution of women to the work of the IAEA. I hope to see many of you there.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.