ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY HEAD CALLS FOR LEGALLY BINDING NUCLEAR TEST BAN, BROAD PLAN TO ADDRESS ENERGY DEMANDS, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS AGENCY’S REPORT

30 October 2006
GA/10524

ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY HEAD CALLS FOR LEGALLY BINDING NUCLEAR TEST BAN, BROAD PLAN TO ADDRESS ENERGY DEMANDS, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS AGENCY’S REPORT

30 October 2006
General Assembly
GA/10524
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

Plenary

42nd & 43rd Meetings (AM & PM)


ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY HEAD CALLS FOR LEGALLY BINDING NUCLEAR TEST BAN, BROAD PLAN


TO ADDRESS ENERGY DEMANDS, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS AGENCY’S REPORT


Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Opposes

General Assembly Resolution on Agency as Futile, Biased


The General Assembly today reaffirmed its confidence in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and appealed to United Nations Member States to continue supporting the Agency’s “indispensable role in encouraging and assisting” the development and practical application of nuclear energy for peaceful uses.


Following the annual address by Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Agency, the Assembly adopted a resolution by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) with 1 abstention (Zambia), reaffirming its strong support of the IAEA in the area of technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.  (For details of the vote, see annex I).


[After the action, Zambia’s representative said her delegation had intended to vote in favour of the text.]


Also by the text, the Assembly noted important resolutions adopted by the Agency’s Governing Council in the past year, including on measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management; progress on measures to protect against nuclear and radiological terrorism; and on the implementation of the Agreement between the IAEA and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).


Speaking in explanation of position before action on the resolution, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he would vote against the text.  The IAEA had no reason to include his country’s name in its report since it was neither a member of the Agency nor a party to the NPT.  Moreover, that report was biased and had been drafted in a direction set by the United States, which had labelled his country a member in an axis of evil. 


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had developed nuclear power in response to threats by the United States and yet the Agency addressed the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a biased manner without objectivity, he said.  His country was committed to the denuclearization of the Peninsula through dialogue, but that was predicated on the United States living up to its obligations.  The resolution was biased and led to no solutions.


In his annual address, Mr. ElBaradei told the Assembly that the IAEA would commemorate its fiftieth anniversary this year and that the role of nuclear power in the past five decades had been shaped by growing energy needs, economics, the quest for energy independence, environmental and proliferation concerns and, finally, technological advances.  There were now 442 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, supplying about 16 per cent of the world’s electricity.  Of 28 new reactors now under construction, 16 were in developing countries, he added.


He was concerned that the nuclear non-proliferation and arms control regime continued to face a broad set of challenges.  While States increasingly continued to implement the NPT safeguards, 100 States had yet to bring additional protocols into force and 25 of those States had significant nuclear activities.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear activities underscored the urgent need to establish a legally binding universal ban on nuclear testing, through the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. 


That situation also called for a negotiated solution through the resumption of dialogue between all parties, so as to ensure that all nuclear activities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were for peaceful purposes, while addressing the Republic’s security and other concerns.  He also stressed that the Agency’s inability to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme was another matter of serious concern.


Calling for Member States to adopt a broad new plan to address increasing worldwide energy demands and mounting concerns about the further spread of sensitive technology, such as uranium enrichment, Mr. ElBaradei said a multilateral approach should include the establishment of mechanisms for assurances about fuel supply for reactors, as well as for limiting future enrichment and reprocessing to multilateral operations.  Such a framework must account “for both the lessons we have learned and the current reality”, and should include innovative technology that was safe, proliferation resistant and economical. 


Iran’s representative said that, like all other parties to the NPT, his country considered the pursuit and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be an inalienable right and had thus invested extensive human and material resources in that field.  Iran had repeatedly stated that nuclear and other weapons had no place in its defence doctrine.  But, despite such assurances, a politically motivated propaganda campaign had been launched in “certain circles” in an attempt to distort the facts about Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme.


Indeed, he said that much of the world’s nuclear power remained concentrated mainly in industrialized countries, creating an exclusive club of “nuclear haves”, which effectively disrupted and hampered access by NPT developing countries to nuclear power and technology, under the pretext of the developing countries’ concern about “non-proliferation”.   Iran had demonstrated its readiness to resume negotiations, without preconditions, with its counterparts to assure them of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  Iran had also responded in good faith to the package proposed by the “5 plus 1” group, with a view to providing a reasonable basis to build confidence through constructive negotiations.


The Permanent Observer of Palestine, who spoke on behalf of the League of Arab States, was among the delegations from the Middle East who singled out Israel as an example of countries outside the NPT not facing pressure to join and, thus emboldened, acquiring large stockpiles of nuclear weapons.  Citing Israel’s continued refusal to place all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, he said that had negatively impacted all efforts aimed at addressing nuclear non-proliferation, particularly in the Middle East.  The Arab League, therefore, called on the international community to support Mr. ElBaradei’s efforts to fulfil his mandate to promote implementation of the safeguards regime in the Middle East.


Also speaking today were the representatives of Finland on behalf of the European Union, Brazil on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), India, China, Pakistan, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Angola, Croatia, South Africa and Iran.


Speaking in the afternoon session were the delegates of Japan, Malaysia, the Sudan, Argentina, Iceland, Belarus, Nigeria, Singapore, Ukraine, Indonesia, Armenia and Moldova.   Syria’s representative spoke after action on the text.


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 31 October, to resume balloting for the election of a Latin American and Caribbean as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.


Background


The Assembly met today to consider the 2005 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Although the report was only circulated to Member States on request, the Agency’s “Year in Review” provides a quick look at the Agency’s work in its primary areas of focus, including technology, safety and security, technology transfer and cooperation, and verification.  It highlights, among other things, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei’s Nobel Lecture last December, in which he stated that the “Nobel Peace Prize is a powerful message for us -- to endure in our efforts to work for security and development”.


He stressed that there continues to be a range of challenges facing the Agency and its Member States.  These include:  the problem of energy shortages in developing countries; exploring acceptable waste management strategies; improving human health and food production; enhancing water resources management; raising the level of global nuclear safety and security; and strengthening the global safeguards and non-proliferation and arms control regime.  “It is clear that these challenges can only be met through the continuing active partnership of Member States and the Agency,” he said. 


According to the report, during 2005, the Agency had continued its work under the three pillars of its mandate -- technology, safety and verification.  Specifically, the focus was on:  facilitating the development and transfer of peaceful nuclear technologies; maintaining and expanding a global nuclear safety regime as well as strengthening the security of nuclear and radiological material and facilities; and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  This chapter reviews some of the major global developments in these areas during the year from the Agency’s perspective.


The Agency’s activities in the area of verification are at the centre of efforts to curb nuclear proliferation.  Agency safeguards agreements are in force in 156 States, comprising comprehensive safeguards agreements in 148 non-nuclear weapon States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), voluntary offer safeguards in 5 NPT nuclear-weapon States, and item specific safeguards in 3 States not party to the NPT.  In all, approximately 900 nuclear facilities in some 70 countries are subject to Agency inspections.


For the year 2005, the Agency concluded that, for the 156 States with safeguards agreements, declared nuclear material, facilities or other items or material to which safeguards were applied, remained in peaceful activities, with the exception of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where no verification activities have taken place since 2003 and for which no safeguards conclusions could be drawn.  In 24 of these States, with both comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols in force or being otherwise applied, the Agency found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful activities and no indication of undeclared nuclear material and activities, and concluded, on this basis, that for those States, all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities. 


The report also notes that the Agency continued its efforts to verify the correctness and completeness of the declarations for one State that had been found to have been previously engaged in undeclared nuclear activities, which the Board of Governors, in 2005, found to constitute non-compliance.  The Agency cannot draw any safeguards conclusion in respect of 36 non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT that do not have comprehensive safeguards agreements in force.


The Assembly also has before it a draft resolution on the report of the IAEA (document A/61/L.9).  By its terms, the Assembly would take note with appreciation of the report.  It would also take note of a number of measures to strengthen international cooperation on nuclear, radiation and transport safety as well as waste management, and on related matters such as strengthening the Agency’s technical cooperation activities and the safeguards systems. 


Also by the text, the Assembly would also reaffirm strong support for the Agency’s indispensable role in encouraging and assisting in the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, for technology transfer to developing countries and for nuclear safety, verification and security.  Finally, the Assembly would appeal to States to continue supporting the Agency’s activities and request the Secretary-General to transmit to the Agency the records of the Assembly’s consideration of Agency related matters during the sixty-first session.


Introduction of the Report


MOHAMED ELBARADEI, Director-General of the IAEA, recalled that the Agency would be commemorating its fiftieth anniversary this year and said that the role of nuclear power in that time had been shaped by factors such as growing energy needs, economics, availability of other energy sources and the quest for energy independence, environmental and proliferation concerns and, finally, technological advances.  There were now 442 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, supplying about 16 per cent of the world’s electricity.  Of 28 new reactors now under construction, 16 were in developing countries.  While the majority of reactors were in North America and Western Europe, recent expansion had been primarily in Asia and Eastern Europe.  The countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), however, consumed electricity at a rate roughly 100 times that of the world’s least developed countries.


Continuing, he said the Agency had been emphasizing the role of “energy for development”, but the current global organization of energy resource management and distribution was quite fragmented.  Nuclear power was a sophisticated technology that required a correspondingly sophisticated infrastructure.  Nuclear energy might not be the choice of all countries, but for those who chose to make it part of their energy mix, the Agency could do much to make the option accessible, affordable, safe and secure.


Describing the Technical Cooperation Programme as a partnership that hinged on cooperation in ways that contributed to the Millennium Development Goals, he said that many State capabilities were now beyond those of the Agency, and there were mechanisms for them to share knowledge and become regional leaders helping others to develop their capacities.  Much of the Agency’s scientific work now focused on the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology in the fields of health, agriculture, industry, water management and preservation of the environment, working to build up technical capacities in ways that supported national and regional development priorities.  Relationships had also been established with other bodies of the United Nations system, including the World Heath Organization (WHO), on the use of radiotherapy in cancer treatment.  Isotope hydrology was used to address water shortages and groundwater depletion.


Turning to nuclear safety and security, he said the Agency had emphasized the need to better protect medical patients from receiving excessive radiological doses.  The Agency’s nuclear security programme had also progressed at a rapid pace with the Agency helping States to implement a strengthened regime of nuclear security.  Capacity-building measures included training programmes, supply of monitoring equipment and physical protection equipment and assistance in protecting nuclear locations.  An illicit trafficking database now had 93 participating Member States.


Despite all that, he said, the nuclear non-proliferation and arms control regime continued to face a broad set of challenges.  While States increasingly continued to implement the safeguards of the NPT, 100 States had yet to bring additional protocols into force and 25 of those were States with significant nuclear activities.  The nuclear activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea underscored the urgent need to establish a legally binding universal ban on nuclear testing through the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  The situation also called for a negotiated solution through the resumption of dialogue between all parties, so as to ensure that all nuclear activities in the Republic were for peaceful purposes, while addressing the Republic’s security and other concerns.  Inability to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme was another matter of serious concern.


In conclusion, he said that the increase in global energy demand had heightened concern about proliferation risks, particularly in light of the spread of sensitive nuclear technology, such as uranium enrichment.  A new multilateral approach to the nuclear fuel cycle was needed to strengthen non-proliferation and cope with expansion of the use of nuclear power.  The first step for a new framework for the nuclear fuel cycle was to establish mechanisms for assurances about fuel supply for reactors and assurances about the acquisition of reactors.  The second step was to limit future enrichment and reprocessing to multilateral operations.  Then, the framework should include innovative technology that was safe, proliferation resistant and economical; universal application of safeguards and protocols; rapid progress towards disarmament; and a robust security and safety regime. 


Introduction of the Draft Resolution


Slovenia’s representative, as the Chairman of the Agency’s Board of Governors, introduced the draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document A/61/L.9), noting that 77 countries were co-sponsors.


Statements


HEIDI SCHRODERUS-FOX ( Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union’s member States were co-sponsors of the draft resolution on the report of the IAEA and, as such, fully supported its content.  The draft resolution’s 75 co-sponsors reflected a broad consensus among the IAEA members and, hopefully, the text would be adopted by consensus.  International threat to nuclear safety was a major concern for all Member States.  Addressing full support to the IAEA in its pursuit of nuclear security, therefore, should be a prerequisite for all States.  She expressed the Union’s highest regard for the Agency’s indispensable work in that field.  A concrete example of its commitment to that task was the fact that the Union was the largest condor to the Nuclear Security Fund.  She called on States to contribute to the Fund’s financing.


Saying that the IAEA remained the “supreme actor” for nuclear cooperation, she said that the Agency’s impartial expertise was widely valued by all Agency member States.  The IAEA’s role remained of pivotal importance in the global combat against nuclear terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons.  The international safeguards system was a fundamental part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential template for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament under the NPT’s Article VI.  Safeguards were an essential tool for monitoring the progression of peaceful nuclear activities.  The Union vigorously supported the strengthening of the effectiveness of the safeguards system and stressed, in that regard, the importance of the NPT’s fifth preambular paragraph. 


She reiterated that the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, together with the additional protocols, constituted the current IAEA verification standard.  The Union regretted that there were still 105 States that had yet to bring the latter into force.  It was of utmost significance that the additional protocols, along with the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, formed the basis of action for all States, she stressed.


JOSE ARTUR DENOT MEDEIROS (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market Countries (MERCOSUR), said his delegation welcomed Mr. ElBaradei’s work and looked forward to the IAEA’s coming fiftieth anniversary.  The Agency should continue defending the inalienable right of countries to develop and make use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  It should also continue to promote the fundamental pillars of the NPT regime.  The MERCOSUR shared and kept alive the flame that had given birth to the IAEA and, in that spirit, reiterated its belief in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 


Indeed, he said that nuclear power and technology could be used for the benefit of mankind in countless ways, including in the field of health and medicine, water desalination and research in alternative energy sources, among others.  Mutual confidence and cooperation was required to ensure peaceful uses of nuclear power.  At the same time, all members of the international community had the duty to move towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons and to promote the NPT regime. 


He said that the MERCOSUR should and would continue to move forward to ensure a region free of nuclear weapons.  The Common Market would also continue to ensure and improve the security of its energy facilities.  He called for better use of communication networks for nuclear safety, accounting and control.  The Common Market pledged to cooperate with the IAEA to help find innovative and non-discriminatory solutions that would ensure a more stable and prosperous world for all.


Following that statement, the last on the Assembly’s list that was to have been delivered today on behalf of a regional group, the representative of Egypt, on a point of order, said his delegation had noticed that the Permanent Observer for Palestine, as Chair of the Arab Group, had not been inscribed on the list.  While tradition required that all observers speak at the end of a meeting, the Observer for Palestine today would not be speaking on his own behalf. 


Egypt’s representative said that the speaking order for the chairs of regional groups was well established and he hoped the fact that the Palestinian Observer did not appear on the speakers’ list was not the start of a new trend.  He asked the Acting President of the Assembly if the Palestinian Observer, as Chair of the League of Arab States, could be accorded the possibility of speaking among the chairs of regional groups. 


The Assembly Vice-President decided that the Palestinian Observer could make his presentation following India’s statement, the next speaker inscribed on the list. 


MUFTI MOHAMMED SAYEED ( India) said that the international community had recognized the need to protect and secure radiological materials, owing to the increasing global concern that terrorists could gain access to use them.  India supported the Agency’s efforts towards ensuring safety and promoting a global security culture.  The IAEA should pay special attention to the development of nuclear energy, particularly in areas of the world where development needs and aspirations remained unfulfilled.  A closed nuclear fuel cycle was critical if nuclear power were to make sustained contributions on a large enough scale to meet global energy needs.  The reprocessing and recycling of nuclear fuel would not only meet that need but would also reduce long-term radio toxicity and security implication of the disposal of spent fuel.  In India, thorium offered an excellent matrix for efficient burning of surplus plutonium, with a much higher level of proliferation resistance and much lower level of actinide.


In essence, he said, India’s well-established three-stage nuclear power programme was aimed at the long-term objective of tapping the country’s vast thorium resources.  In the front end of the closed fuel cycle, the programme provided inputs into the indigenous pressurized heavy water reactor phase.  In the back end of the cycle, reprocessing of the spent fuel had enabled development of a fast breeder test reactor for two decades and that, in turn, had launched a fast breeder programme.  The technology of reprocessing the irradiated thorium had led to the recovery of enough U-233 to fuel a small reactor.  A comprehensive capability in nuclear waste management had also been achieved.


Expressing concern for the aging of the work force in many areas of nuclear application, he called for creation of a database and for support of the Agency’s educational activities.  The Agency’s promotional role was a direct, visible and measurable benefit to States in promoting the applications of nuclear technology in areas of food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environmental protection and industry.  The Agency’s efforts to ensure safety and promote a global security culture were also vital.  India, with its well-developed research and development capabilities along with its sizeable pool of highly qualified work force, was prepared to add its efforts to those of the international community for developing sustainable growth of nuclear energy, while addressing proliferation concerns.


RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Arab League of States, said his delegation appreciated Mr. ElBaradei’s work as the head of the IAEA, as well as that of the Agency in the area of technical cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, particularly its efforts to further develop and modernize its technical cooperation strategy to better serve Member States’ development priorities and to identify the vital short- and medium-term contributions nuclear technology could make to that goal.  The Arab League also reaffirmed its support for and encouragement of the IAEA’s strategy to focus on projects that provided tangible economic returns, he added.


Turning to verification and safeguards, he affirmed the IAEA’s crucial role in that matter, but stressed that the effectiveness of the safeguards framework would not be achieved without universal adherence to its components.  Moreover, ongoing shortcomings in efforts to achieve the universality of the Agency’s safeguards threatened to jeopardize the international community’s intensive efforts to curb and eliminate nuclear proliferation.  The Agency, therefore, must seek to ensure the universal character of the comprehensive safeguard, as a main pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.


He went on to highlight the many important initiatives that Arab States had undertaken, at regional and international levels, to address the dangers of nuclear proliferation.  Since 1974, those States had called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  Despite all those efforts to guarantee security and stability in the region, it had been regrettable that Israel had not demonstrated any serious engagement in the matter.  Israel continued its refusal to place all its nuclear facilities under the Agency’s safeguards regime and that fact had negatively impacted all efforts aimed at addressing nuclear non-proliferation, particularly in the Middle East.


The Arab League, therefore, called on the international community to support Mr. ElBaradei’s efforts to fulfil his mandate to promote implementation of the safeguards regime in the Middle East.  With regard to nuclear security, there was also no doubt that the international community needed to support and strengthen the Agency’s activities and programmes aimed at protecting nuclear and radioactive materials and nuclear installations from the threat of terrorism.


CHENG JINGYE ( China) said that he wished that the Agency would play a more active role in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Despite remarkable achievements in the area of technical cooperation, challenges remained in that area.  Giving priority to safeguards over technical cooperation in the Agency’s work remained unchanged, however, but the problem of shortage of financial resources for financial cooperation remained unresolved.  China consistently opposed any form of nuclear proliferation and hoped that the Agency would further promote the universality and effectiveness of the Additional Protocol.


He said that, on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, China advocated a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation.  China firmly opposed the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  He hoped that all parties would stick to the objective of the denuclearization of the Peninsula and called upon all concerned to stay calm and restrained and make joint efforts to prevent the further deterioration of the situation.  The six-party talks were still the realistic and feasible means to solve the issue.


On the Iranian nuclear issue, he said that China supported preserving the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, advocated resolving the situation through diplomatic negotiations and supported the Agency’s active role in that regard.  He hoped that the Iranian side would respond to the appeal of the international community by taking a constructive attitude and creating conditions for the resumption of dialogue.  He hoped that other parties concerned would remain calm and restrained, stick to the direction of peaceful resolution and find effective ways to resolve the situation, rather than taking measures that might complicate it.


FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan) said his delegation agreed with the Agency’s assessment that the global need for energy was growing, in large part because of rising oil and natural gas prices.  Pakistan also agreed with the Agency’s identification of emerging and future trends, concerning, among others, environmental constraints on the use of fossil fuels, energy supply security and expansion plans for nuclear power.  With that in mind, the role of nuclear energy would be crucial, particularly for developing countries. 


He said that Pakistan had long been a strong promoter of efforts to harness nuclear technology for peace, progress and prosperity for all.  Towards that goal, his country had established several training centres, including a full-fledged university for nuclear science and engineering, to help meet both its needs for technical manpower, as well as technical training requirements of other countries.  Pakistan had also developed the entire range of nuclear fuel cycle facilities and now had two nuclear power plants in operation, with a third under construction.  Further, Pakistan had established four nuclear agricultural research centres which were being used to help farmers grow and harvest larger and better quality crops throughout the country.  Pakistan also had 13 nuclear medicine and oncology centres providing diagnostic and treatment facilities to several hundred thousand patients each year.


Pakistan’s economy was growing remarkably fast and, as a country with a population of some 150 million people and limited fossil fuel resources, Pakistan considered nuclear power generation an indispensable element of its national energy security strategy, he said.  The Government had launched a 25-year energy security plan to respond to the high growth rate and rising demand for energy.  Pakistan accorded the highest importance to the safety and security of its nuclear installations, particularly as it expanded its nuclear capacities.  Among other things, it had strengthened security around its installations to avoid any possibility of sabotage, illicit acquisition or trafficking of nuclear material.


Finally, he acknowledged that the old consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation had broken down.  He reiterated Pakistan’s proposal to convene a special conference to set out a new consensus, which responded to current and emerging realities.  Such a new consensus should eliminate the discrimination and double standards that characterized the present non-proliferation arrangements.


RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) said that the renewed interest in the nuclear option to produce nuclear energy was closely related to the issue of guaranteeing a nuclear fuel supply.  That should not, under any circumstance, become a monopoly of a few.  A key objective of the Agency’s work was to guarantee an adequate balance between its diverse activities in the fields of verification and technical cooperation.  Attempts by some States to overemphasize the Agency’s verification role to the detriment of its promotion of nuclear technologies were unacceptable.  The negative image of “nuclear watchdog”, which many in the mass media had termed the Agency, distorted its mandate in verification and safeguards matters and even ignored its important role in ensuring technical cooperation and the promotion of peaceful applications of nuclear energy.


He said his country was especially interested in nuclear technologies and their applications in such areas as health, agriculture and food, industry, hydrology and environmental protection.  His Government carried out an important revitalization of those applications, as evidenced in a significant investment to purchase diagnostic and therapeutic equipment for hospitals countrywide.  Cuba, a founding country of the IAEA and active Agency member for more than three decades, gave a very high priority to technical cooperation.  That was particularly evident in Cuba’s timely fulfilment of its financial commitments with the Fund for Technical Cooperation; implementation of 87 per cent of its national projects; and the contribution, in the past decade, of more than 300 Cuban experts in technical missions overseas.  All of that had been accomplished, despite the tight economic and commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.


The only secure and effective way to avoid the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, however, was to achieve their total elimination, he stressed.  The mere existence of nuclear weapons and the doctrines that defended their possession and use were a threat to international peace and security.  Cuba reaffirmed the historic position of the Non-Aligned Movement, as reiterated at the Movement’s summit last September in Havana, which had held that nuclear disarmament was and should continue to be the highest priority in the field of disarmament.  His country further rejected attempts by some to prejudge whether the character of the nuclear programmes of some countries were peaceful or not, in disregard for the IAEA’s own criteria.  The IAEA was the only competent authority to verify fulfilment of the obligations under its safeguards agreements.  Any State, no matter how powerful, had the right to arrogate such a mandate.


JOON OH ( Republic of Korea) said that universal adherence to the Additional Protocol to the NPT was an essential measure for improving the current safeguards and verification regime.  He was disappointed that, as of today, only 78 countries were participating in the Additional Protocol.  He supported current endeavours to develop a new framework for utilizing nuclear energy, with the aim of providing reliable access to nuclear fuel and technologies, while controlling sensitive nuclear activities.  As a country relying heavily on nuclear energy, with 20 nuclear power plants in operation, the Republic of Korea would actively participate in the relevant discussions on that issue. 


He said his Government also supported the work of the IAEA Advisory Committee on Safeguards and Verification.  Given that one year had already passed since its establishment, it was high time for it to fulfil its mandate by recommending to the IAEA Board an initial set of measures to strengthen the safeguards system.  His country would continue to lend strong support to the IAEA’s efforts to promote the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to nurture a culture of safety and security as a means of ensuring the sustainable use of nuclear power to meet States’ development needs. 


The nuclear test conducted by North Korea on 9 October posed a grave threat.  Not only to the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and North-East Asia, but for global non-proliferation as well, he said.  North Korea’s behaviour was “in outright defiance” of the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the 19 September 2005 Joint Statement agreed at the six-party talks, as well as the related Security Council pronouncements.  In response to “such a reckless act by North Korea”, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1718 (2006) on 14 October, which obligated North Korea to abandon all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes, and to act strictly in accordance with the NPT and the terms and conditions of the IAEA Safeguards Agreement.  His Government strongly supported the decision of the Council and requested the IAEA to do all in its capacity to fulfil its mandate.


The Republic of Korea had made clear, in the strongest terms, that that provocative act by North Korea would not be condoned and that North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons should not be tolerated, he said.  He urged North Korea to comply fully with requirements of Security Council resolution 1718 (2006) by abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes and returning to the six-party talks immediately, without preconditions.  Towards that goal, his Government would work closely with all parties concerned for the faithful implementation of that resolution, while “keeping the window of diplomatic resolution open”, he said. 


The Republic of Korea supported the swift and stern decision made by the Security Council and requested that the IAEA in all its capacity to fulfil the mandate.  He urged North Korea to fully comply with the requirements of resolution 1718 passed by the Security Council.  To this end, he said, the Republic of Korea would work closely with all parties involved for the implementation of the resolution, while keeping the window to diplomatic resolution open.  He welcomed the Director-General’s statement that the Agency would work towards a solution that addressed the international community’s concern about the nature of the Democratic People’s Republic’s nuclear activities.  He fully supported that statement and believed in the Agency’s critical role in upholding the nuclear security and safeguards system.


ABDULAZIZ AL-JARALLAH ( Kuwait) said the Agency’s technical cooperation programme was a cornerstone of development efforts.  Kuwait had hosted a number of regional activities to promote the assurance of safety and security in the management of nuclear energy.  However, not all States had heeded the Agency’s call for implementation of the NPT and there would be no security in the Middle East as long as Israel was the only entity in the region with nuclear capability.  Iran should cooperate with the IAEA, so as to dispel causes for concern.  In short, there should be a full and non-selective application of the NPT by all countries to strengthen its efficacy in the three aims it was intended to promote, that of disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


ANTON VASILIEV ( Russian Federation) said the IAEA was a unique global institution, which had the authority to assess States’ compliance with their obligations in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, within the NPT framework.  His Government supported further improvement of the Agency’s verification mechanism and development of its control activities.  Special attention must also be given to the universalization of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement as an essential instrument for increasing the efficiency of the Agency’s overall safeguards activities to verify States’ compliance with their obligations under the NPT.


He went on to say that the promotion of efficient international efforts in the field of non-proliferation was especially relevant, particularly to ensure that weapons of mass destruction did not fall into the hands of terrorists.  The atrocious terrorist acts that had been committed in Russia and elsewhere had underscored the need to ensure security guarantees that would prevent terrorists from getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction, most importantly by consolidating relevant joint efforts to establish a global system for countering new threats and challenges, particularly in the nuclear sphere. 


Here, he drew the Assembly’s attention to the recent global initiative launched by the Presidents of Russia and the United States to combat nuclear terrorism.  That offered an opportunity for joint actions by all countries concerned and called for the launch of concrete cooperation towards, primarily, the implementation of the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. 


On specific areas of the IAEA’s work, he said that Russia understood that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would fully comply with its obligations under Security Council resolution 1718 (2006) and, in particular, return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards.  At the same time, Russia was looking forward to the resumption of six-party talks aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  The potential of the IAEA to help resolve through diplomatic means, the Iranian nuclear problem was far from exhausted.  The international community should work out solutions that would both remove all doubts as to the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and ensure the country’s legitimate energy needs.


FIDELINO LOY DE FIGUEIREDO ( Angola) said that his Government appreciated the Agency’s endeavours and strongly supported the strengthening of technical cooperation activities, particularly those related to the transfer of nuclear science and technology.  The Agency’s technical cooperation programme contributed to socio-economic development and it was imperative, therefore, that its resources were sufficient. 


On Sterile Insect Technique, he said that trypanosomosis disease, transmitted by the tsetse fly, was claiming ten of thousands of human lives and millions of livestock yearly.  Angola thus supported the Agency’s activities aimed at eradicating the tsetse fly and encouraged continued support to African Member States in their efforts to build national capacities.  On malaria, more than 90 per cent of the world’s cases occurred in Africa, causing 2 million deaths annually.  It was thus crucial that Sterile Insect Technique be developed to control and eradicate the mosquitoes or anopheles.  Likewise, the problem of HIV/AIDS and the management of water resources also needed much attention.


He stressed that Angola had become a member of the IAEA in 1999 and was participating in several regional and interregional projects with its assistance.  However, the benefits from the Agency’s help could only be maximized if it included the training of nationals in nuclear science and technology. 


On IAEA safeguards in the Middle East -- while supporting the inalienable right of all States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes – Angola encouraged all NPT State parties to respect the statutory mandate of the Agency, he stressed.  His Government appealed to Member States involved in negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme to continue dialogue towards achieving a peaceful solution.


MIRJANA MLADINEO ( Croatia) expressed pleasure at having been elected to the Board of Governors at the Agency’s September General Conference.  She commended the Agency for its wide-ranging activities in the fields of technology, safety and verification, expressing particular support for its continually developing set of concepts and means for approaching new challenges, especially in regard to dangerous trends in nuclear proliferation.  She also supported the Agency’s efforts to achieve universal application of a strengthened safeguards system and to developing a new international or multinational approach to managing the proliferation-sensitive aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.


She said the General Conference had presented a special event on the multinational approach to the fuel cycle towards development of a new framework.  The discussion had highlighted the relevance of assuring supply to promote both non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  The discussion had also showed the thorough and sensitive consideration the subject required from the perspective of safeguarding the rights and obligations of non-nuclear countries under the NPT.  Her country would further develop its closeness with the Agency, including in technical cooperation activities in the areas of health, environment and capacity-building, as well as in implementation of international obligations.  Croatia was also ready to strengthen its regional role in maximizing the peaceful use of nuclear energy and confronting the growing risks of both proliferation and nuclear terrorism.


SIVUYILE MAQUNGO ( South Africa) said that the promotion of nuclear energy was reaching unprecedented levels and prioritization because of the belief that it could contribute to the improvement of living standards, assist in combating poverty and contribute to sustainable development.  The promotion of nuclear energy came with the unique responsibility of enhancing the regulatory capabilities of developing countries through technology transfer and capacity-building, with special emphasis on technical cooperation in developing countries.  The prevalence of cancer, which was increasing in developing countries, required new and determined efforts to curb it.  For that reason, he reiterated South Africa’s support for the Agency’s programme of action for cancer therapy.


He said that the Additional Protocol had an important role to play as an additional measure to provide the desired assurances that Member States applied their nuclear technology solely for peaceful purposes and that no declared or undeclared material was diverted to nuclear weapons programmes.  Member States of the Agency had committed themselves to providing it with the necessary support to fulfil its safeguards and verification mandate.  Countries with access to advanced technologies bore a greater responsibility to provide assurances and to build confidence in the peaceful nature of their programmes. 


The issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were inextricably linked, he said.  Concerted efforts to prevent proliferation should be matched by a concurrent effort to eliminate, in a verifiable and irreversible manner, all nuclear weapons and to promote universal adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Without any progress in the elimination of highly enriched uranium and other fissile material with military applications, including plutonium, the global security threat could not be diminished.  Focusing exclusively on highly enriched uranium in civilian applications could generate a misunderstanding that could only contribute to a false sense of security.  He called on nuclear weapon States to work expeditiously towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons and for the commencement, in the Conference on Disarmament, of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices.


MEHDI DANESH-YAZDI (Iran) said that, in 1999, the IAEA General Conference, in acknowledgement of the rapid growth of energy demands worldwide, coupled with growing concerns over greenhouse gas emission, had requested the head of the Agency to pursue efforts to strengthen the Agency’s technical cooperation activities aimed at improving scientific, technological and regulatory capabilities of developing countries, while continuing to assist those countries in the production of nuclear energy as a component of their energy mix for the twenty-first century.  Further, the NPT had reaffirmed that important objective and had recognized the inalienable right of all States parties to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


In fact, the inalienable right of all NPT States parties to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, without discrimination, constituted one of the three major pillars upon which the Treaty had been founded, he said.  But, notwithstanding such requirements, the cooperation of developed countries -– the main suppliers of nuclear technology -- remained unsatisfactory.  After nearly 50 years, the budget of the IAEA’s technical cooperation section was perennially “unsteady”, largely because it was funded through voluntary contributions and certain Member States placed restrictions on its allocations.


Today, he said, much of the world’s nuclear power remained concentrated mainly in industrialized countries, creating an exclusive club of “nuclear haves”, which effectively disrupted and hampered access by NPT developing countries to nuclear power and technology, under the pretext of the developing countries’ concern about “non-proliferation”.  Moreover, there was a dangerous trend emerging in which countries not belonging to the NPT were not subjected to any international pressure to adhere to the requisite nuclear safeguards outlined by the Treaty.  Instead, they appeared to be encouraged and even rewarded in different ways.


The Israeli regime, for example, had been allowed to acquire a large stockpile of nuclear weapons and to defy the international community’s efforts to turn the volatile Middle East into a region free of nuclear weapons, he said.  That regime, thus emboldened, was now audaciously leading “a masquerade of lies and deception” against Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme.  Iran, as the most recent victim of weapons of mass destruction, strongly believed the international community must ensure that the nightmare visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never befall the people of any other region.  The only obvious guarantee was the total elimination of nuclear weapons as stipulated by the NPT and emphasized in an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, he declared.


But, as an interim measure, he said the international community must take all necessary steps to ensure the universality of the non-proliferation regime and the IAEA safeguards.  Further, the IAEA could and should play a decisive role by pursuing a vigorously balanced and non-discriminatory application of the NPT and its own safeguards.  Like all other parties to the NPT, Iran considered the pursuit and development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be an inalienable right and had thus invested extensive human and material resources in that field.  At the same time, Iran had repeatedly stated that nuclear and other weapons had no place in its defence doctrine.


Further, all the IAEA’s reports since 2003 had indicated the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and the Agency had repeatedly reaffirmed that it had not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other explosive devises.  Still, despite all those assertions, it had been regrettable that a politically motivated propaganda campaign launched in “certain circles” attempted to distort the facts.  He stressed that Iran had demonstrated its readiness to resume negotiations, without preconditions, with its counterparts to assure them of the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.  To that end, Iran had responded in good faith to the package proposed by the “5 plus 1” group, with a view to providing a reasonable basis to build confidence through constructive negotiations.


Opening the afternoon’s discussion, JIRO KODERA ( Japan) said that, since the role of nuclear energy had been re-evaluated in recent years and its use was now being widely promoted, the IAEA role had become even more important ensuring that nuclear resource and power initiatives fully took into account nuclear proliferation, safety and security concerns.  Japan, for its part, had always used nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and was committed to cooperating with the Agency on the strict implementation of safeguards in the country.


Turning to the first of two issues that posed “an imminent challenge to the international community”, he said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent announcement that it had conducted a nuclear test had shocked the world.  That announcement, coming as it did following the Security Council’s presidential statement calling for that country to refrain from such tests, was totally unacceptable.  It was all the more so because it had so recently followed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s ballistic missile launch.  Those actions posed a serious threat to peace and security in East Asia and the entire international community.  He called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respect Security Council resolution 1718 (2006) and to refrain from any actions that would further aggravate the situation, abandon all its nuclear weapons and, among other things, to return to the six-party talks. 


On Iran’s nuclear activities, he said it was regrettable that that country was continuing to enrich uranium in defiance of Council resolution 1696 (2006).  The question was not whether Iran had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as such a right could only be exercised when that country had taken the required steps to restore the confidence of the international community lost as a result of its past activities.  Japan strongly urged Iran to accept the terms of that resolution, to immediately suspend its enrichment activities and return to the negotiating table.  That was the best option and would benefit all the parties concerned.


HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said his delegation recognized the value of, and the IAEA’s role in, promoting nuclear technology for achieving sustainable development and of nation-building.  Malaysia supported the Agency’s move towards improving assurances of supply in the field of nuclear power generation technology, while at the same time reducing the risks of spreading sensitive technologies that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.  Such a move, however, should not lead to the unilateral adoption of any sort of norm that could affect the inalienable right of States parties to the NPT to engage in research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination. 


He also expressed his country’s belief that all nuclear-weapon States should stand by their obligations to purse good faith negotiations on effective measures leading to the rapid end to the nuclear arms race and, thereafter, to complete nuclear disarmament.  At the same time, such a multilateral approach should provide more economically attractive options for developing countries to get their nuclear power generation programmes under way, particularly those with relatively small programmes involving only a handful of nuclear power plants.  Malaysia also believed that strengthening the existing nuclear-weapon-free zones in all regions of the world, based on agreements freely arrived at among the States in the region concerned, would be another major step towards achieving global nuclear disarmament. 


Towards that goal, he said he welcomed the recent signing of the Treaty declaring Central Asia a nuclear-weapon-free zone, which had been signed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  In that connection, Malaysia called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, specifically urging Israel to promptly place all of its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.  Closer to home, his Government remained concerned that a large number of nuclear-weapon States refused to sign the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty. 


On implementation of the NPT safeguards with Iran, he reiterated that the IAEA was the sole authority for verifying safeguards and other obligations by that country and that the Agency’s efforts in that regard should not face undue pressure or interference.  On the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he deplored the nuclear test that that country claimed to have conducted earlier this month and called on it to cease developing its nuclear weapons capability and return to a moratorium on nuclear testing.


KHALID ABBAS AHMED ( Sudan) said the Agency should continue efforts to tap into the capacities of the major Powers to increase the use of nuclear energy for electric power to meet the growing needs of all countries.  It should also promote work in adapting nuclear power to the field of medicine.  The Agency should be the only competent authority to verify nuclear activities and there should be no interference in its work.  There should also be no double standards and all verifications should be uniformly and universally administered.  His country supported peaceful nuclear activity in every region, but Israel’s failure to cooperate with obligations made the situation impossible in the region of the Middle East, which should become a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  The Agency should also increase funding for technical assistance to African countries, particularly in the search to eradicate mosquitoes and other health-threatening disease-bearing pests, which was a bane of those countries.


CESAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) reviewed the progress made by the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Control and Accountability, which, this year, had celebrated its fifteenth anniversary.  The agency was a tangible mechanism, which reflected the convergence of nuclear power and integration of Argentina and Brazil.  Several years old, it was the result of a process of mutual confidence and transparency in the sensitive and relevant technological area of nuclear technology.  During those years, the Brazilian-Argentine Agency had effectively applied the Common System of Accountability and Control of Nuclear Materials, thanks to the spirit of collaboration and competence exhibited by officials of both countries working in the agency.


He said that both the common system for accounting and control of nuclear materials and the organization created for its administration -- the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Control and Accountability -– were of utmost importance in the current context of the new impulse towards the peaceful use of nuclear development in those countries and around the world.  The mechanism also acquired particular relevance in terms of international safeguards, as the bilateral agency had actively participated in the framework of the IAEA safeguards agreement, carrying out inspections and audits in a coordinated manner, sharing equipment and technology with the international Agency, designing control approaches, establishing joint inspection procedures and striving to avoid duplication of efforts.  The bilateral mechanism had been possible because, after years of rivalry, Brazil and Argentina had decided to join forces and integrate efforts among countries in the South of the Americas.


HJALMAR W. HANNESSON ( Iceland) reaffirmed his commitment to the three pillars of the IAEA’s mandate, namely verification, safety and technology, and urged States to comply with their commitments in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation and their safeguards obligations under the NPT.  In that context, he said that Iceland had condemned the recent nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and urged that country to return to compliance with its NPT obligations.  Iceland supported Mr. ElBaradei’s efforts to seek clarifications from Iran and to verify its nuclear programme, but was concerned that after four years, the IAEA had been unable to make progress as to the “correctness and completeness” of Iran’s declaration that its programme was of a peaceful nature. 


He went on to say that Iceland believed that nuclear and radiation safety measures were a national responsibility, but that international cooperation was indispensable, in order to maintain the effectiveness of such measures beyond national boundaries.  Turning to his own country’s experience, he said that, last year, Iceland ratified the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and urged other Member States to do so.


SERGEI RACHKOV ( Belarus) said his country considered the IAEA’s technical cooperation mechanism to be an important tool for introducing innovative ideas, technologies and experiences in the nuclear sphere.  Such cooperation had helped support several important projects in Belarus, from health protection to the prevention of trafficking in nuclear materials.  Belarus was particularly interested in the IAEA’s training courses on radiation safety and, for several years, it had been hosting, with the participation of experts for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Eastern European countries, annual and regional programmes on the protection and security of sources of radioactive emissions. 


On the Chernobyl Forum, in which the IAEA had played an important organizational and coordinating role, he said important work had been done to assess the health, and ecological and socio-economic consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.  The twentieth anniversary of that tragedy -- marked this past April -- had sparked numerous recommendations on ways to boost international cooperation with the Forum.  Belarus called on the IAEA to make further constructive contributions towards the implementation of those recommendations, emphasizing its readiness to broaden its interaction with the Agency, in order to more rapidly overcome the terrible legacy of Chernobyl and ensure that all affected regions returned to normal as soon as possible.


BIODUN OWOSENI ( Nigeria) recalled that the Agency was a catalyst for the transfer of nuclear technology for the peaceful purposes of socio-economic development, especially for the developing countries.  The Agency must continue to expand the opportunities offered by nuclear energy in areas of food production, disease control, water management, environmental protection and development of industrial applications.  Towards that end, his country had developed a country programme framework with the Agency and had given priority to core projects exploring the role of nuclear power as part of the national energy plan.  Technical capabilities were being expanded in areas from nuclear medicine to isotope hydrology.  The capacity for developing the infrastructure for radiation protection was also under way.  In addition, linkages with other countries were being strengthened through the Agency.


Continuing, he said that the devastation of insect pests, such as tsetse flies and malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, constituted a major obstacle to eradicating poverty on the African continent.  The Agency had assisted in that area through both technical cooperation funds and extrabudgetary contributions to the African Union’s Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign.  Agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had also contributed to the campaign, as had countries and development partners.  Nigeria had also achieved remarkable success with an area-wide sterile insect technique, aimed at creating a tsetse-fly-free zone, and a feasibility study was being carried out to apply the strategy to malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.  The Agency and other parties were encouraged to make use of the multi-purpose Gamma Irradiation Facility at the Sheda Science and Technology Complex in Abuja, which served as a regional sterile insect breeder for the African continent and its neighbours, with applications to industrial and research purposes.


The IAEA should broaden its staff recruitment and disposition to encompass all regions and underrepresented States, in a fair and balanced manner.  Women from developing countries must be given priority consideration and more resources must be dedicated to the Technical Cooperation Fund.  The amount of $80 million for the 2007-2008 biennium was really a zero-sum gain, in light of the increased demand of Member States for technical cooperation and assistance.  Considering the magnitude of the challenges facing the IAEA, the time had come to enhance its funding in order to carryout its very important activities and meet future challenges.


Finally, he said that the nuclear Powers had inadvertently encouraged other States to proliferate horizontally, with a total of nine nuclear-weapon States as of this month.  That represented an increase of one or two of those States every decade, with no end in sight.  It was time to reverse that trend through effective nuclear disarmament, including the conclusion of a legally binding agreement to extend negative security assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons to developing States and voluntarily renouncing nuclear weapons possession.


PHUA MEI PIN ( Singapore) said that, given the world’s growing energy needs, there appeared to be a nuclear revival and nuclear power was seen as an important alternative source of energy.  The largest growth of nuclear power installations would likely take place in Asia.  Singapore remained concerned about the defiance of the international community by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and urged that country to heed Security Council resolution 1718 (2006), return to the NPT and resume cooperation with the IAEA.  To deal with future challenges, the IAEA would have to strengthen three pillars:  nuclear safety, nuclear verification and nuclear technology, he said.


Emphasizing the need to maintain high standards in nuclear safety as the demand for nuclear energy grew, he said the IAEA should also strengthen its transboundary emergency preparedness and response capabilities.  He commended the establishment of the Incident and Emergency Centre (IAEC), which would contribute to confidence-building in the use of nuclear power. 


He said that States should remain watchful of not letting nuclear materials and installations fall into the wrong hands.  He also endorsed the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), which stepped up controls against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Stating that Singapore was working towards acceptance of the necessary instruments to ratify its additional protocol and to modify their small quantities protocol, he said it was imperative to find a balanced approach.  Clandestine proliferation should be stopped, but the right of States to pursue peaceful uses of nuclear power should be upheld, he added.


VIKTOR KRYZHANIVSKY ( Ukraine) said his country had developed its long-term national energy plan based on its rich natural resource of uranium, which could also be useful for others.  The plan focused on developing sustainable sources of nuclear knowledge and nuclear science, particularly in relation to nuclear medicine.  Ukraine also continued to develop its regulatory infrastructure and its mechanisms for ensuring radiation security and managing radioactive waste.  Those activities took up a great deal of the national budget, as did related activities, such as nuclear waste processing and the storage of spent nuclear fuel. 


Notwithstanding other issues related to the Chernobyl disaster, he said his country was grateful for the Agency’s support of efforts to mitigate the effects.  Numerous steps were being taken to ensure nuclear safety and security, such as the strengthening of physical storage structures and the tightening of export and import control.  Ukraine was also strictly adhering to IAEA’s safeguards system.  All of those steps were being taken with the assistance of the technical cooperation mechanism.


TRIYONO WIBOWO ( Indonesia) lauded the efforts of the IAEA, particularly the technical cooperation programmes, which ranged from power generation to industrial, environmental, medical and agricultural applications.  Indonesia had cultivated biofuel plants for biodiesel and sweet sorghum for bioethanol.  These achievements were in line with Indonesia’s green energy action plan, which sought to develop alternative sources of energy.  Similarly, his country had developed improved varieties of staple food crops, including high quality rice mutant varieties.  He thanked those Member States that had contributed to the Technical Cooperation Fund.  That had helped to fund the cooperation programmes in less developed countries.


Stating that Indonesia had been strongly supportive of the IAEA’s nuclear security activities, he commended the Agency’s measures in transport safety and waste management.  A number of missions had been conducted in Indonesia to help the country improve the operational safety and security of its three research reactors, including the establishment of an information system on the licensing and inspection for radiation facilities and a radiological emergency preparedness exercise.  Highlighting his country’s belief in nuclear energy as an energy option, he said Indonesia was embarking on a nuclear energy programme and expected to have operational nuclear plants by 2016.  He thanked the IAEA for having provided the country with three nuclear power related technical cooperation projects, which had helped it to train qualified personnel to supervise and operate the new power plants.


Indonesia endorsed the Agency’s safeguards system and had signed and ratified the NPT, considering that Treaty the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, he said.  On the issue of safeguards, his country called on Iran to cooperate with the Agency, adding that the nuclear capabilities of Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also of concern.  All proliferation concerns and safeguards issues were best addressed through multilateral efforts, under the auspices of the IAEA, bearing in mind the inalienable rights of all States to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


ARMEN MARTIROSYAN ( Armenia) said his country attached much importance to nuclear energy, for both economic and security reasons.  New standards were being developed at all times.  The Agency had helped his country to ensure the safe operation of Metsamor, the Armenian nuclear power plant, and Armenia had made commitments to introduce upgrades in safety standards.  The measures would be carried out as soon as the power plant underwent its annual outage and refuelling.  Then, a technical meeting for coordination of the international assistance would follow to assess the measures taken and come up with additional recommendations. 


He said Armenia also paid much attention to the protection of radioactive sources.  In 2006, the inventory of the existing radioactive sources had been made and an investigation of “orphan” sources was currently under way.  Sustainability of energy sources was a major issue for Armenia.  His country was very interested in elaborating new standards for new nuclear stations, safety and security of the fuel cycle, ecological aspects and non-proliferation issues.  A feasibility study for nuclear energy development in Armenia had been approved by the IAEA Director-General for the next biennium.  It would analyze the expenditures for the construction of new nuclear reactors based on the existing infrastructure and the expertise of the current staff of the Metsamor nuclear power plant. 


Armenia’s progress towards ensuring the safe and secure operation of its nuclear power plant would have been very difficult without the unwavering support of its partners and donors, he said, thanking the Governments of the United States, the Russian Federation, France, United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Slovakia for their financial and professional support.


ALEXEI TULBURE ( Moldova) said the IAEA had played an important mission in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technologies while providing technical assistance to developing countries.  His country had received help in the development of its legislative framework so it harmonized with the European Union standards.  Moldova recently adopted a national law that regulated the safe implementation of nuclear activities, he said.


Facing scarce energy resources, his country was attempting to find alternative energy resources.  It had signed a new country programme framework for cooperation in nuclear equipment for human health, radiation processing, radiation safety, emergency preparedness and radioactive waste management.  Moldova had received $3 million in grants through the IAEA for its cooperation assistance projects and it had submitted three national projects for consideration at the next biannual cycle, including two related to the implementation of nuclear technology for cancer treatment and the establishment of new industrial segments based on radiation processing technology.  He thanked the IAEA and the United States Government for the support it had provided regarding the safety of radioactive sources.  He said his country would cooperate further with the IAEA on the issue of safeguards.


Action on Draft


Next, the Assembly took up the draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document A/61/L.9).


Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he would vote against the resolution.  The Agency had no reason to include his country’s name in the resolution since it was neither a member of the Agency nor a party to the NTP.  The report was biased and in a direction set by the United States, which had labelled his country a member in an axis of evil.  His country had developed nuclear power in response to threats by the United States and yet the Agency addressed the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a biased manner and without objectivity.  His country was committed to the denuclearization of the Peninsula through dialogue, but that was predicated on the United States living up to its obligations.  The resolution was biased and led to no solutions, he reiterated.


Outcome


A recorded vote was requested.  The resolution on the Agency’s report was adopted by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) with 1 abstention ( Zambia) (annex I).


Immediately following the vote, Zambia’s representative said she had intended to vote in favour of the resolution.


Explanation of Position


Syria’s representative, speaking after the vote, said he had supported the resolution, but that support did not mean he had not been disappointed by the Agency’s General Conference in September, where it had been decided that the question of Israel’s renunciation of its nuclear capacity would be put off for a year.  Thus, a clear message had not been sent to Israel regarding its nuclear activities.  The “voice of right” had again been silenced on the matter, but the day would come when that voice would no longer be silenced.  Israel was still the only State in the region that had not become a party to the NPT.


ANNEX


Vote on Report of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)


The draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document A/61/L.9) was adopted by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 1 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:


In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.


Against:  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


Abstain:  Zambia.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.