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30 April 2012 | Vienna, Austria
Preparatory Committee for 2015 Review Conference of Parties to Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)

Statement at Preparatory Committee for 2015 Review Conference of Parties to NPT

by IAEA Assistant Director General Rafael Grossi

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The IAEA is pleased that NPT States parties decided to hold the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference here in Vienna. This is the second time that the States parties have gathered here.

This first Preparatory Committee session begins laying the groundwork for the 2015 Conference. You will address the decisions and resolution adopted in 1995, the final document agreed in 2000, and, importantly, the Action Plan agreed at the 2010 Review Conference.

I will say a few words about the activities of the Agency relevant to its role in the implementation of the NPT.

Verification of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Commitments

At the 2010 Review Conference, States parties reaffirmed that IAEA safeguards are a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. By implementing safeguards, the IAEA is instrumental in ensuring that States abide by their obligations under Article III of the NPT. By ensuring that all nuclear material remains in peaceful activities, safeguards help to create an environment conducive to nuclear cooperation.

The 2010 Review Conference underlined the importance of States complying with their non-proliferation obligations and addressing all compliance matters. The Agency is currently working to resolve major outstanding safeguards implementation issues in three States.

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Agency has not been able to implement any verification measures since 2009. Therefore it cannot draw any safeguards conclusion regarding the DPRK.

In the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material. But, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore unable to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

The Agency will continue to address the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and in a constructive spirit, with a view to resolving all outstanding issues. The Director General has urged Iran to take steps towards full implementation of its safeguards agreement and its other obligations, as required in the binding resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council.

With regard to the Syrian Arab Republic, the Agency concluded in June 2011 that the building destroyed at the Dair Alzour site in September 2007 was very likely to have been a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency. The IAEA Board of Governors reported Syria's non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement to all Member States of the Agency and to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations. The Director General has urged Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and other locations.

Since the 2010 Review Conference, further progress has been achieved with regard to the number of States adhering to comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols. But more still needs to be done.

Six additional NPT States have concluded comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency since the last Review Conference, but fourteen countries have still not done so. This means the Agency cannot draw any safeguards conclusions with respect to these States. The Agency urges all remaining NPT States parties to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements as soon as possible.

The Agency also encourages all States with small quantities protocols to either amend or rescind them, as appropriate. To date, the revised, standardized small quantities protocols text has been accepted by 53 States.

In the last two years, another seventeen States have brought an additional protocol into force, bringing the total to 115. Clearly, we are heading in the right direction. The additional protocol is essential to enable the Agency to provide credible assurances not only that declared nuclear material is not being diverted from peaceful uses, but also that there are no undeclared nuclear material and activities in a State. The Agency therefore encourages all States to bring additional protocols into force as soon as possible.

The Agency has intensified its efforts to further develop what we call the "State-level concept" in the planning, conduct and evaluation of safeguards activities. This approach, which was welcomed by the 2010 Review Conference, considers a State and its nuclear activities and capabilities as a whole. It enables the Agency to better focus its verification efforts and to better allocate its resources.

Technology is a major enabler of our safeguards work, a point recognized by the 2010 Review Conference, which recommended States to further develop a robust, flexible, adaptive and cost-effective international technology base for advanced safeguards. Good progress has been made with the Agency's project on Enhancing Capabilities of the Safeguards Analytical Services (ECAS). This is essential for maintaining and strengthening the Agency's ability to provide independent and timely analysis of nuclear material and environmental samples. Our new Clean Laboratory Extension at Seibersdorf, near Vienna, started work last year and work has begun on a new Nuclear Material Laboratory. We are grateful to those States which have provided voluntary extra-budgetary contributions for the ECAS project and we encourage other States in a position to do so to contribute.

The 2010 Review Conference encouraged the nuclear-weapon States to place all fissile material designated by them as no longer required for military purposes under IAEA or other relevant international verification, and to dispose of such materials for peaceful purposes, in order to ensure that they remain permanently outside military programmes. The Agency was subsequently requested by the Russian Federation and the United States to assist in the independent verification of the implementation of their bilateral agreement on the management and disposition of plutonium designated as no longer required for defence purposes. Work on a draft trilateral verification agreement is underway. More generally, as recommended by the Review Conference, the Agency stands ready to cooperate in increasing confidence, improving transparency and developing efficient verification capabilities related to nuclear disarmament.

Mr. Chairman,

I will now turn briefly to the important subject of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Last Friday, I had the honour of addressing the First Preparatory Meeting of the Third Conference of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia in Vienna on behalf of Director General Amano. I welcome the efforts of nuclear-weapon-free zones and Mongolia in establishing the cycle of conferences as an important adjunct to the strengthened review process of the NPT.

In November 2011, eleven years after the decision of the IAEA General Conference in 2000 on the Establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East, Director General Amano was able to convene a Forum on this issue in Vienna. Some 275 participants from 97 Member States took part. The lively discussion at the Forum was a further indication of the continued major importance of nuclear-weapon-free zones in the evolution of regional and international security. Participants made it clear that they expect the IAEA to continue to play an important role in this process in the future.

Nuclear Power

Nuclear power remains an important option for many countries. There are presently 436 operating nuclear power reactors in 30 countries, providing 13.5% of the world's electricity. Global nuclear generating capacity dropped by 2% in 2011 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, as thirteen old reactors were retired and seven new reactors brought on-line.

However, the accident is projected to slow the growth of nuclear power, but not reverse it. The IAEA expects at least 90 new power reactors to come on-line by 2030. The factors contributing to interest in nuclear power have not changed: these include increasing global demand for energy, as well as concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and security of energy supply. Most of the growth will occur in countries that already have operating nuclear power plants. Asia is the main centre of expansion. Out of 61 new reactors now under construction, 42 are in Asia.

It is the sovereign decision of each country whether or not to add nuclear power to its energy mix. Countries which opt for nuclear power can count on the assistance of the IAEA at every stage. We provide them with advice on how to put the appropriate legal and regulatory framework in place and how to ensure the highest standards of safety, security and safeguards, as well as with know-how on the construction, commissioning, start-up and operation of nuclear reactors. The end-result, we hope, is that countries will be able to introduce nuclear power knowledgeably, profitably, safely and securely. In 2012, we are strengthening our focus on supporting national infrastructure development in Member States with firm plans to embark on nuclear power.

Nuclear Safety and Security

The Fukushima Daiichi accident was a wake-up call for all countries with nuclear power plants and a reminder that nuclear safety can never be taken for granted. In response, IAEA Member States adopted a comprehensive Nuclear Safety Action Plan which is now being implemented. Countries are strengthening nuclear power plant safety, emergency preparedness and response and undertaking extensive measures in areas such as decommissioning, remediation, and radiological protection.

The Agency continues to help Member States to make nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities more secure. Renewed support for the Agency’s efforts was expressed by world leaders at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.

At the Seoul Summit, IAEA Director General Amano reminded heads of state and government that the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials has still not entered into force, although it was agreed in 2005. The original Convention covered only the physical protection of nuclear material in international transport. The Amendment would expand its coverage to include the protection of nuclear material in domestic use, transport and storage, as well as the protection of nuclear facilities against acts of terrorism. Entry into force of the Amendment would make an important difference to global nuclear security.

It is clear from constant reports of incidents of illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material that there is no room for complacency concerning nuclear security. As the only international organisation with the technical competence and the relevant mandate, the IAEA will continue to work with its Member States to strengthen nuclear security throughout the world.

IAEA's Technical Cooperation Programme

For more than fifty years, technical cooperation has been a principal mechanism for implementing the IAEA's basic Atoms for Peace mission. Our Technical Cooperation Programme has evolved into a partnership with Member States that hinges on the sharing of knowledge and expertise to promote sustainable growth and human security. Today, the IAEA delivers technical support to 123 countries in 30 fields of activity.

Guided by the priority needs of Member States, the programme focuses on human health, supporting agriculture and rural development, advancing water resource management, addressing environmental challenges and helping sustainable energy development.

Human health accounted for the highest percentage of the technical cooperation programme in Africa last year, followed by food and agriculture. In Asia and the Pacific, the highest percentage was in the area of nuclear safety, followed by radioisotope production and radiation technology. In Europe, the nuclear fuel cycle took the lead, followed by nuclear safety, while in Latin America, the highest percentage of the budget was spent in the field of human health, followed by nuclear safety.

This year, with Rio+20 in sight, sustainable development issues are very much to the forefront of the development agenda.

The technical cooperation budget in 2011 was around 105 million euros. Extrabudgetary contributions provided through the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) have significantly expanded the Agency's ability to carry out its work in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Since the launch of the initiative in 2010, over 22 million Euros have been made available through the PUI in support of Agency activities in the areas I mentioned. We encourage further contributions to this important initiative.

Nuclear Applications

Nuclear applications in food and agriculture continue to have an impact in both developing and developed countries. Our annual Scientific Forum, which takes place during the IAEA General Conference in September, will focus this year on nuclear applications related to food - especially food production, protection and safety.

Cancer has reached epidemic proportions in developing countries. The number of cancer deaths is expected to reach 8.9 million per year by 2030 in low-to-middle income countries. Through its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy, the IAEA, working with global partners including the World Health Organization, helps Member States to develop comprehensive cancer control programmes. To date, 38 low-to-middle income Member States have benefited from our services in this area. The IAEA also plays a significant role in facilitating the production of important medical radioisotopes.

Climate change and ocean acidification are a concern for many Member States. The Agency helps countries to mitigate and to adapt to the effects of ocean acidification. The IAEA's Environment Laboratories also help Member States to assess their water resources and develop policies to ensure the more rational allocation of surface and ground water resources and prevent possible conflicts related to water use.

Assurance of Supply of Nuclear Fuel

There have been important developments since the last Review Conference in the field of assurance of supply of nuclear fuel. In December 2010, the Board of Governors approved the establishment of an IAEA-owned and operated low enriched uranium bank. The first Low Enriched Uranium Reserve under Agency auspices was established in the Russian Federation. Kazakhstan was selected as host state of the LEU bank and work on administrative, financial, legal and technical arrangements is well underway. In March 2011, the IAEA Board of Governors approved a proposal for a Nuclear Fuel Assurance mechanism by the United Kingdom, co-sponsored by Member States of the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, let me reaffirm the IAEA's strong commitment to carrying out its statutory mission and supporting the implementation of the NPT. I wish you a very successful conference.

Thank you.