|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
46th Meeting (AM)
Taking up Report of International Atomic Energy Agency, General Assembly Adopts
Resolution Reaffirming Its Strong Support for Agency’s Indispensable Role
IAEA Chief Says Body is More Than ‘Simply World’s Nuclear Watchdog,’
Highlights Work in Nuclear Energy, Science, Medicine, Technical Cooperation
In his first address to the General Assembly, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today he aimed to change the widespread perception of the Vienna-based body as simply the world’s “nuclear watchdog”, emphasizing instead a balanced approach to pursuing non-proliferation of atomic weapons and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, two of the three pillar objectives of the landmark 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Presenting the Agency’s annual report to the Assembly, Director General Yukiya Amano said access to nuclear power as a clean, stable energy source should not be limited to developed countries alone. With 60 countries considering introducing nuclear power into their energy mix, the Agency offered advice on how to set up appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks and ensure the highest standards of safety and security without increasing proliferation risks. For countries expanding their nuclear power programmes, the Agency was assisting on operational safety and security issues and improving nuclear waste disposal.
In the area of technical cooperation, where the Agency was making a real difference in many developing countries, he drew attention to the Peaceful Uses Initiative, announced this year by the United States, which had generated funding for various IAEA-backed activities focused on nuclear power infrastructure. He also said he had made cancer in developing countries a high priority during his first year in office — efforts that had started to bear fruit — and more broadly underscored the importance of a focus on nutrition, food security and water resource management. The ultimate goal was to make countries self sufficient, able to maintain a trained human resource base in all areas of nuclear sciences and applications.
As in previous years, the Assembly adopted a resolution, introduced today by Pakistan’s representative, reaffirming its strong support for the Agency’s “indispensable” role in encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security. It also appealed for continued State support for its activities. The text also listed the decisions taken by the Vienna-based Agency over the past year.
In half-day debate, speakers zeroed in on more traditional areas of contention: the persistent large number of non-nuclear weapon States that did not benefit from their right to nuclear energy, the limited effectiveness of the Comprehensive Safeguards System — by which the Agency verifies whether countries are living up to their international commitments not to use nuclear programmes for weapons purposes — and the need to strengthen supervision of compliance with nuclear disarmament commitments.
Some speakers noted a “climate of distrust” that persisted around Iran and Syria, and accused the IAEA of “turning a blind eye” to other countries’ activities, which undermined its good intentions. Libya’s delegate, voicing the concern of a few speakers hoping to see a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, said it was disappointing that Israel, which was not under the Agency’s supervision, continued to maintain “a large nuclear arsenal.”
Other speakers, however, focused on forward momentum. Japan’s representative said the Action Plan agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference presented an opportunity to restart efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation based on the spirit of cooperative multilateralism. With that in mind, his Government had co-hosted a Foreign Ministers’ meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, which had discussed concrete measures for a world with less threat of nuclear risk.
The Russian Federation’s delegate said his Government had proposed a global nuclear power infrastructure, which would allow States to benefit from nuclear energy and cover their needs without the creation of expensive proliferation-prone elements, that country’s delegate said. In 2007, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan had created a uranium enrichment centre, which Armenia and Ukraine had used last year.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Belgium’s delegate reaffirmed that each country had the right to define its own energy strategy. For those States considering or planning to include nuclear power in their energy strategies, the IAEA had a key role to play in helping them ensure that the development and operation of nuclear power took place under the most stringent legal, operational safety and security and non-proliferation conditions.
Pakistan’s delegate stressed that a balance between the Agency’s regulatory, promotional and safety functions would ensure its continued relevance in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation. As Chair of the Board of Governors, Pakistan also believed the entry into force of the amendment to article VI of its statute would enhance the Board’s representative character and contribute to a more effective role for Agency.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Egypt, Cuba, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Mongolia, Ukraine, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Sudan, United States, Venezuela, Republic of Korea, Norway, Ethiopia and Iran.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea spoke in explanation of position before action.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 9 November to elect seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination and appoint members of the Committee on Conferences.
The General Assembly met today to take up the fifty-fourth report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document GC(54)/4), which summarizes developments over the past year in the major areas related to safeguards, safety, and science and technology. In the area of nuclear technology, both global energy demand and interest in nuclear power continued to grow in 2009. Construction began on 11 new nuclear power reactors, the largest number since 1987, and projections of future nuclear power growth were revised upwards, especially for China, India and the Russian Federation.
As of 1 January 2010, there were 437 nuclear power reactors in operation, with a total capacity of 370 electric gigawatts. Fifty-five reactors were under construction, the largest number since 1992. The growing interest in nuclear power, stemming from increased economic development and the need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, led to a comeback of uranium mining after a two decade slump, says the report. Member States requested Agency assistance in uranium exploration, resource evaluation, and mine development, planning, safety and regulation.
As for fuel supply assurances, the report notes discussions were held on the establishment of low-enriched uranium reserves under the Agency’s auspices, envisaged to assure supply for State power reactors in the case of disruptions caused by non-technical or non-commercial reasons. Technological developments for new plants focused on improved plant economics and construction times, the report says, while longer term design and construction are under way for fast reactors and high temperature gas cooled reactors. Nuclear techniques applied to food and agriculture were key tools to address the effects of climate change on regional and global food security in the next decade.
In the area of human health, the report notes a new initiative to strengthen medical physics in radiation medicine through an international collaborative effort with relevant international organizations and professional societies. Also, amid a rapidly growing cancer incidence in developing countries — with an estimated 75 million people in low— and middle—income countries to be diagnosed by 2020 — the Agency’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) is helping to strengthen global coordination. To address the drastic shortage of cancer control professionals in developing countries, the Agency launched the PACT Regional Cancer Training Networks and the Virtual University for Cancer Control and Regional Training Network (VUCCnet) in Africa.
Turning to nuclear safety and security, the report says that in 2009, the nuclear industry’s safety performance remained at a high level. Safety performance indicators — such as those related to unplanned reactor shutdowns, safety equipment availability, radiation exposures of workers, radioactive waste management and radioactive releases to the environment — had shown steady improvement over the past two decades. Capacity building was part of an integrated approach to develop technological, scientific and managerial competencies as well as human, organizational and institutional capabilities, says the report.
The decommissioning of the Rancho Seco nuclear power reactor in the United States brought the number of fully dismantled power reactors around the world to 15. Fifty-one shutdown reactors were in the process of being dismantled, 48 were being kept in a safe enclosure mode, three were entombed and, for six more, decommissioning strategies had not yet been specified.
The report also highlights the Agency’s incident and emergency preparedness, stressing that the ability to adequately respond to a nuclear or radiological emergency remains a central element of international nuclear safety. While Member States were working with the secretariat to improve local, national, regional and international preparedness, many did not meet international safety requirements for emergency preparedness and response. The Agency continued to promote adherence to the international legal instruments adopted under its auspices, in particular the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), which was currently the only such instrument to yet enter into force.
In the area of nuclear security, the report underscores that the risk that nuclear or other radioactive material could be used in malicious acts remained high and was considered a serious threat to international peace and security. With regard to its Technical Cooperation Programme in 2009, the report notes that activities in Africa continued to focus on building human and institutional capacity in the use of nuclear applications to achieve development goals, such as food security and better nutrition and health services.
In Asia and the Pacific, the emphasis was on strengthening institutional capacity for applications in health, agriculture and energy, the report adds, while European projects focused on maintaining safety standards in older nuclear power plants and on mitigating environmental degradation caused by uranium mining. In Latin America, strategic partnerships continued to be an important means to address State development needs.
In the area of financial resources, the Agency reports that in 2009, $85 million was disbursed to 125 countries or territories, of which 26 were least developed nations. Human health remained the single overriding priority in all regions in the technical cooperation programme, accounting for about 21 per cent of the budget. Nuclear safety accounted for 15 per cent, while food and agriculture contributed around 14 per cent.
As for its safeguards and verification programme, the Agency says that through the application of safeguards, it aimed to ensure nuclear material and facilities were used only for peaceful purposes. In the year under review, safeguards had been applied for 170 States with safeguards agreements in force with the Agency. The secretariat could not draw any safeguards conclusions for 22 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) non-nuclear-weapon States without safeguards agreements in force.
During 2009, the Director General submitted four reports to the Board of Governors on the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant Security Council resolutions in Iran, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Agency was able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but as that country had not provided information or access that would have allowed the IAEA to make progress on outstanding issues, and as Iran had not implemented its additional protocol, the Agency had been unable to draw a conclusion regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.
Contrary to Security Council decisions, Iran did not suspend is uranium enrichment related activities, the report says, and continued its heavy water related projects. The Agency continued its verification activities in relation to the allegations that an installation destroyed by Israel at Dair Alzour in Syria in 2007 had been a nuclear reactor under construction. Syria had yet to provide a credible explanation for the origin and presence of anthropogenic natural uranium particles found at Dair Alzour. Syria has not cooperated with the Agency since 2008 in connection with unresolved issues related to the Dair Alzour site and the three other locations to which it was allegedly related. Though the Agency was able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Syria, the Agency’s verification activities continued.
Concerning other verification activities, the Agency implemented monitoring and verification measures in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea related to the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and one facility at Taechon. Those activities were discontinued at the request of the country, and the Agency’s inspectors left in April 2009 after the Government ceased all cooperation. Since that date, the Agency has been unable to carry out any monitoring and verification activities in the country, and thus could not provide any conclusions regarding its nuclear activities.
Statement by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
In his first speech to the General Assembly, YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a constant theme of his first year in office had been to take a balanced approach to pursuing the objectives related to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy. “I am trying to change the widespread perception of the Agency as simply the world’s ‘nuclear watchdog’ because it does not do justice to our extensive activities in other areas,” he said, citing nuclear energy, nuclear science and applications, and technical cooperation.
Presenting the Agency’s annual report ((document GC(54)/4), which highlighted its work over the last year, he said some 60 countries were considering introducing nuclear energy and he expected up to 25 new countries to bring their first nuclear power plants online by 2030. While it was up to States to decide whether to opt for nuclear power, the Agency had a key role to play in ensuring that expansion of nuclear power took place in a responsible and sustainable manner.
The Agency continued to help countries expanding existing nuclear programmes, focusing on operational safety and security, improving nuclear waste disposal and decommissioning old reactors. He said it also had signed an agreement with the Russian Federation in March to establish a low enriched uranium bank in Angarsk, meant to assure supply for nuclear power plants. In that context, he encouraged international lending institutions to consider “being more open” in their approach to funding such projects. Nuclear power’s benefits in mitigating the effects of climate change deserved more recognition.
Turning to nuclear applications, he said he had made cancer in developing countries a high priority, especially as 665 people in those nations died of cancer every hour, nearly three times as many as in developed nations. Further, 70 per cent of cancers were diagnosed too late for life-saving treatment. The Agency’s focus had raised awareness about cancer in developing countries to a higher political level, with pledges and donations to the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy now at record levels. Meanwhile, nuclear technology was also useful in increasing scientific knowledge of water resources, and the Agency’s Water Availability Enhancement Project aimed at helping States acquire that knowledge.
In the area of nuclear safety and security, a “significant” improvement of performance since the Chernobyl disaster nearly 25 years ago reflected better design and operating procedures and a more effective regulatory environment, among other things, he observed. The Agency promoted an integrated approach to safety, focusing on management, effective leadership and a “safety culture”, and continued to assist States in developing a sustainable nuclear security capacity. It also reaffirmed its role as part of the international nuclear security framework at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, held in April. However, he urged States to make progress towards the entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which remained slow.
As for technical cooperation, he said the Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative – announced this year by the United States, which had contributed $50 million over five years to that programme — had resulted in more funding for some of the Agency’s technical cooperation activities, especially those focused on nuclear power infrastructure for countries embarking on new nuclear power programmes. Regarding nuclear verification, he said he had stressed that all safeguards agreements between States and the Agency, and other relevant obligations, should be fully implemented.
The nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was a serious concern, as the Agency had had no inspectors there since April 2009, and had not been allowed to implement safeguards in the country since December 2002. Implementation of measures called for in Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009) had not been done. He called on all parties to make concerted efforts to resume Six-Party Talks at an appropriate time.
In the case of Iran, he said the Agency continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material, but the Government had not allowed the Agency to confirm that all such material was in peaceful activities. Cooperation included, among other things, full implementation of resolutions of the Agency’s Board of Governors and United Nations Security Council.
On the wider Middle East, he said he had submitted a report on Israeli nuclear capabilities to the Agency’s General Conference in September, as requested, and had held consultations on convening a forum on the experience of existing nuclear-weapon-free zones for establishing such a zone in that region. However, there was no convergence of views on that issue. He expressed hope that a 2012 conference, called for by the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, on the creation of such a zone in the Middle East would take place and lead to a productive outcome.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said Pakistan had contributed to the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme through training, the provision of experts and hosting of seminars. There was a need for enhanced and assured resource allocation for technical cooperation, technical transfer and training, and the programme could be expanded through more developing country involvement in its design and implementation. He agreed that all States should fully comply with their safeguards obligations and international commitments, as fulfilment such legal obligations was the most important step towards maintaining the credibility of the safeguards regime.
Continuing, he said that a balance between regulatory, promotional and safety functions would ensure the Agency’s continued relevance in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation. Its primary role in the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology should be re-emphasized. For its part, Pakistan had established a strong, independent nuclear safety and security infrastructure, he said, noting the country was party to various international conventions and contributing to both the Agency’s Illicit Trafficking Database and International Reporting System for Operating Experience, among other things. Having signed its first commercial nuclear power plant in 1965, Pakistan was the fifteenth nation in the world — and only second developing country — to start a nuclear power programme.
With a sizeable civilian nuclear programme and decades of experience in power generation, Pakistan was in a unique position to share its expertise. Further, Pakistan’s energy security strategy envisaged the setting up of several additional nuclear power reactors to increase nuclear power’s share in the energy mix from the present 0.8 per cent to 4.2 per cent by 2030, he said. In addition, Pakistan had focused on the applications of ionizing radiation and radioisotopes in the fields of health, agriculture and industry. Finally, the entry into force of the amendment to article VI of the Statute would enhance the representative character of the Board of Governors and contribute to a more effective role for Agency.
Introducing the draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (document A/65/L.10) as Chair of the Board of Governors, he said the text, as in previous years, reaffirmed the Assembly’s strong support for the Agency’s “indispensable” role in assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses, as well as in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security. By its terms, the Assembly would appeal to States to continue the Agency’s work.
CEDRIC JANSSENS DE BISTHOVEN ( Belgium), in his statement on behalf of the European Union, said this year marked an important milestone for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and had given it impetus. Committed to effective multilateral action against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the European Union welcomed the consensus reached at the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in May. What was needed now was to begin implementation of the NPT Action Plan, building on the results of the Review Conference and continuing the spirit of consensus and cooperation which characterized the negotiations.
With regard to IAEA mandate, the European Union would be particularly keen to ensure that the Agency operated in an effective and efficient manner and had adequate resources, he said, asserting that his delegation was fully committed to the implementation of the Action Plan and would support the Agency’s efforts to that end. Noting that the Agency’s system of safeguards was a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and played an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT, he reiterated the European Union’s view that the measures contained in the Additional Protocol formed an integral part of that system and that the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements together with Additional Protocols constituted the current IAEA verification standard.
In that regard, he called for universalization of those two essential instruments of the IAEA safeguards system without delay, as a means to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, enhance security worldwide and increase the confidence needed for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to reach its full potential. Continuing, he reaffirmed the European Union’s understanding of the role of the Security Council as the final arbiter of international peace and security in order to take appropriate action in the event of non-compliance with the NPT obligations including safeguards agreements.
Stressing nuclear security as an essential programme of the IAEA, he commended the Agency for its activities aimed at preventing and combating nuclear terrorism. Also, the European Union was of the firm view that each country had the right to define its own energy strategy. For those countries that considered or planned to include nuclear power in their energy strategies, the Agency had a key role to play in assisting them to ensure that the development and operation of nuclear power took place under the most stringent legal, operational safety, security and non-proliferation conditions, he said. The European Union also welcomed the Agency’s activities to increase the contribution of nuclear technology to peace, health and economic development.
MAGED ABDULAZIZ ( Egypt) said that while a large number of non-nuclear weapon States did not benefit from their right in nuclear energy in the past, the situation had changed with the qualitative and quantitative increase in energy needs in the developing world, including Egypt. Thus, Egypt decided in 2006 to enter the field of nuclear energy, based on its national scientific and practical capabilities, and had started the process through adopting national legislation in March 2010 establishing a regulatory authority in charge of nuclear and radioactive activities. Preparations were underway to build the country’s first nuclear reactor, within a wider plan that included four nuclear reactors for electricity generation by the year 2025. In that context, Egypt looked forward to increasing its cooperation with the IAEA in the coming years.
He noted that the Comprehensive Safeguards System, implemented by the IAEA in non-nuclear weapon States, represented one of the most important international systems employing verification to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. However, said the representative, the effectiveness of that system remained limited in light of the absence of its universality, particularly in the Middle East. It was essential that the role of the Agency be strengthened in the area of verifying compliance of nuclear-weapon States in the field of nuclear disarmament, and moreover to realize the universality of the NPT through Israel’s accession to the Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon State.
Egypt saw “promising horizons” in attaining significant progress in the field of universalizing the Treaty in the Middle East and the universalization of the application of the Comprehensive Safeguards System therein, through the honest implementation of the detailed Action Plan adopted by the 2010 Review Conference. Another important aim was the immediate start of preparations for convening the international Conference in 2012, to launch regional negotiations aimed at the establishment of a zone free of nuclear as well as other weapons in the region.
On the international level, he said Egypt welcomed the signature of the new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) between the United States and the Russian Federation. It looked forward to expanding the application of that framework to cover a larger and more comprehensive form to include all other nuclear-weapons States, in a manner that could bring about transparency, irreversibility and effective verifiability of progress in the field of nuclear disarmament. As for the area of technical cooperation, Egypt had opened its nuclear facilities and laboratories to States from the Arab region and African continent, and had placed its experience in that field at the service of the Arab and African States. He went on to stress the importance of technical cooperation for Egypt and other developing countries in the area of employing nuclear technologies in the fields of health, agriculture, food, water resources, radioactive isotopes, radiation technologies and others.
RODOLFO ELISEO BENÍTEZ VERSÓN ( Cuba) welcomed the important role of the Agency and said that his country strongly contributed to technical cooperation as required by the IAEA’s mandate. Among other cooperation, it contributed broadly through its research programmes — some 29 during 2009 — and cooperated strictly with its financial requirements. In particular, Cuba funded 100 per cent of its participation. Nonetheless, the continued trade blockade imposed by the United States affected the Agency’s activities in Cuba and was in direct violation of the Agency’s mandate. The blockade had cost more than $100 billion in losses. As a result the IAEA was facing difficulties in accessing the equipment necessary to carry out its work in Cuba, as companies there could not purchase essential equipment. Additionally, other areas, including the fight against cancer in Cuba, were negatively affected by the “unjust and unlawful embargo.”
Despite such challenges, Cuba recognized the efforts of the IAEA to seek alternatives to the embargo. For its part, Cuba had no undeclared nuclear materials or activities. It noted with concern the climate of mistrust when it came to Iran and Syria, and the related “double standard” known to all Member States. The IAEA should recognize the sovereignty of all Member States, while still being permitted to conduct its activities freely. He further called on all Member States to respect the right of all States to the use of nuclear energy.
He also called for a “coordinated solution” to the question of nuclear energy on the Korean Peninsula, as well as for the establishment of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East, and in particular for the convening of a conference on that matter. Cuba also urged Israel to adhere to the aims of the NPT “without delay or conditions.” Finally, he stressed that the consideration of the question of nuclear fuel should be transparent and rejected all attempts to use nuclear fuel as a device of “coercion,” and emphasized the common responsibility of all Member States to contribute to a safer world for future generations.
RAPHAEL S.C. HERMOSO ( Philippines) said his country had been cooperating with the IAEA to develop necessary human resources and infrastructure to use nuclear technologies to meet challenges in food security, environmental resource management and human health. The Philippines believed science and technology could help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and placed great importance on the various applications of nuclear technology in reaching sustainable development targets.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference had also underlined the IAEA important role, helping development through its Technical Cooperation Programme and its various activities in nuclear power and non-power applications. The Conference also reaffirmed the role of the Agency preventing the diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses as well as promotion of nuclear safety and security — safety and security should be given high priority as nuclear energy use expands in the coming decades, he said.
The Philippines had had the honour of presiding over the Conference, and looked forward to working with other delegations to move forward and implement the follow-on actions contained in the Final Document related to work of the Agency. At the same time, the IAEA could only contribute to addressing global concerns if it pursued activities in a balanced manner. “We have consistently stressed the importance of addressing the long-standing concern of developing countries in achieving a balance between the Agency’s promotional role as outlined in Article II of its Statue, and its activities in nuclear safety, verification and security,” he said. The challenges and issues confronting the IAEA were complicated by political realities, which Members States and the Agency needed to overcome to advance common objectives.
HASAN KLEIB (Indonesia) said his country was pleased the Director General had put more weight on promotion of nuclear energy for cancer control, and the IAEA’s work to improve agricultural quality through science and technology was also “extremely vital.” Those important roles of the Agency strengthened its technical nature and decreased the overwhelming perception that it was merely a “nuclear watchdog.” The IAEA had also been indispensable supporting developing countries to use nuclear technology to benefit humanity — the Technical Cooperation programme was needed to transfer nuclear science and technology, but should be made more robust on its own merits and should not in any way be politicized, he said. Further, the Agency’s Peaceful Use Initiative was welcomed, and he hoped that a significant portion of the funds targeted to that end would be used to finance request-based technical cooperation projects.
He went on to commend the 2010 NPT Review Conference for taking practical steps to ensure resources of the IAEA for technical cooperation were sufficient and predictable. As a member of the IAEA Board of Governors next year, Indonesia intended to further expand the focus of the Agency to facilitate peaceful use of nuclear energy in the world, especially in developing countries. His country looked forward to enhancing engagement with the IAEA and hoped for greater collaboration and support by the Agency for the application of nuclear science and technology in Southeast Asia.
WANG MIN ( China) said his country was glad the role of the Agency was widely recognized and supported. The 2010-2015 China Technical Cooperation Country Programme Framework with the IAEA laid out a solid blueprint for his nation’s own cooperation with the Agency amid the fast development of its nuclear energy. By drawing on the standards and norms developed by the IAEA, China now had legislation and a regulatory system for nuclear safety in line with international practice. The IAEA also sent this year, for the first time, a mission to China to review its safety regulatory framework, he added. Meanwhile, in the field of nuclear security, China had contributed to development of guideline documents and would cooperate with others to set up a “Centre for Excellence” in the country.
He said his country was also ready to provide necessary assistance to others through the IAEA, sharing experiences accumulated developing nuclear energy. With the rapid development of global nuclear energy, the Agency’s role was becoming more important than ever. Among other things, the Agency should focus on strengthening technical cooperation and assistance, especially through heeding opinions of developing countries; it should continue to foster development of nuclear safety and security legislation and strengthen public confidence; and it should continue its active role addressing sensitive hotspot nuclear issues. “Dialogue and negotiation is the only way toward a peaceful resolution of the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue and the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope that the IAEA and the Director General will make full use of their advantage and play a constructive role restarting and promoting the negotiation process,” he said.
ONON SODOV ( Mongolia) stated that her delegation fully supported the report of the Agency as well as the related draft resolution. The Agency was set to play an increasing role in global economic and social development, including towards promotion of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in developing countries. Mongolia highly commended the Agency’s efforts in assisting developing countries through technical cooperation programmes in the areas of peaceful uses and development of nuclear technology, in particular through its Technical Cooperation Department and Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) office.
She said that in 2010, Mongolia had been designated as the eighth PACT Model Demonstration Site country, which allowed it to combine the country’s resources with the expertise of the Agency, the World Health Organization and other partners and stakeholders to combat the growing epidemic of cancer. Mongolia was ready to continue to work and support the Agency’s efforts to assist developing countries in the field of human health, particularly in nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology.
A week ago, the Director General had paid a visit to Mongolia and exchanged views on further developing Mongolia-Agency cooperation. He also attended a related workshop, the result of which would make an important contribution to exchanging experience and knowledge in the important area of fighting cancer. Mongolia further welcomed the joint IAEA/Food and Agriculture Organization programme to boost crop and livestock production and to ensure food quality, safety and security. She believed that it was highly important that the Agency continued to help Member States reach the Millennium Goals by improving agricultural productivity.
IBRAHIM O. A. DABBASHI ( Libya) commended the IAEA for the assistance it provided developing countries, and stressed that his country aspired for a more intense cooperation with the Agency regarding its peaceful uses of nuclear agency, particularly in the field energy and health. The Agency’s continued support of certain countries, while “turning a blind eye” to others, was a “flagrant injustice” that undermined its good intentions, he said. For example, it was disappointing that Israel continued to hold a large nuclear arsenal, which was not under the Agency’s supervision and threatened peace in the region.
In that regard, he called on the international community to exercise pressure on the IAEA to take an active and effective position. Regrettably, while the Agency ignored Israel’s nuclear threat, it deployed greater efforts in countries where there was no proof of nuclear use for other than peaceful means. Therefore, he called on support for all States to settle their disputes regarding their nuclear programmes and to pursue peaceful negotiations and consultations with good intentions.
To that end, he called for the total elimination of large nuclear arsenals in relevant countries, as stipulated by the NPT. It was urgent for the international community and the Agency to deploy all efforts to ensure that all countries adhered to the Agency’s strict approach of supervision, and to oversee implementation of the pillars of the NPT: nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Finally, he called on all Member States to appeal to the developed countries to facilitate the export of nuclear technology to developing States, including Libya, which were interested in using nuclear energy for health and energy.
DINA MARTINA ( Ukraine) stated that her delegation had made a good contribution to the success of the 2010 Non-Proliferation Review Conference by chairing Main Committee II of that gathering, which had dealt with non-proliferation issues. Ukraine was particularly pleased that in 2010, Member States had managed to secure an agreement on further steps to implement the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Resolution on the Middle East, including a relevant conference to be convened in 2012. Ukraine strictly fulfilled its obligation under the Safeguard Agreement and the Additional Protocol, she said, with both instruments in force in the country since 2006.
Continuing, she said that her delegation believed that each country had a right to define its own energy strategy. It was well known that both the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on Safety of Spent Fuel and Safety of Radioactive Waste Management had developed from lessons learned from the Chernobyl disaster. Ukraine called on States embarking on a nuclear power programme to become party to those conventions without delay or hesitation. Ukraine also positively noted the recent establishment of the International Nuclear Safety Centre as well as the International Seismic Safety Centre.
In May 2010, the Agency presented the Final Report of the Joint EU-IAEA-Ukraine project on comprehensive safety assessment of all operating Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plants. For the past two years, the Agency had conducted a number of missions to all 15 power reactors in Ukraine covering issues of design safety, operation safety and waste safety. She said Ukraine was pleased to note the positive conclusions of that in-depth review, and encouraged other countries both with mature and emerging nuclear power programmes to consider conducting such missions and assessments. Ukraine had also participated in the work of the International Uranium Enrichment Centre in Angarsk, Russian Federation, which was the first such type of joint enterprise and would serve as an example for future activities in the field.
President Viktor Yanukovych had announced Ukraine’s decision to get rid of all stocks of highly enriched uranium by the time of the next Nuclear Security Summit, she said, noting that activities to that end had already begun, and the country intended to remove a substantial part of those stocks by the end of 2010. Ukraine positively viewed the increasing research activities of the IAEA concerning the innovative reactor technologies and fuel cycles. It offered the relevant expert services to the Agency, on a free-of-charge basis, within the International Project (INPRO) on sustainable energy. Ukraine would continue further active cooperation with the Agency in development and implementation of the regional programmes addressing the issues of non-power use of nuclear technologies, namely medical applications, dosimetry, and mitigation of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.
Finally, she drew attention to the commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which would take place in 2011. In its related activities, Ukraine hoped to foster the region’s long-term development and provide people with the support they needed to lead safe and healthy lives. A conference entitled “Twenty-five years after Chernobyl Accident: Safety and the Future” would also be convened in Ukraine in 2011, and she looked forward to the broad participation of interested States and international institutions in the conference. Finally, Ukraine stated that it was still restoring the Chernobyl site, and related projects were estimated at some 750 million Euros. The country counted on the support of donors and States at the upcoming pledging event to help bring the Chernobyl projects to a successful conclusion.
TEO EIK RUEY ( Singapore) said the year had seen much movement on the nuclear and non-proliferation agenda, but amid the many political commitments, the practical side of the equation — ensuring that such commitments were implemented — should not be forgotten. In that regard, the IAEA played a vital role in monitoring progress, and Singapore reaffirmed its contribution to nuclear security. The Asia-Pacific’s rapid economic development required an increasing demand for energy, noting that the region was home to 34 of the 55 nuclear power reactors currently under construction.
Singapore supported the right of the States to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as guaranteed under the NPT, however, he stressed that it must be balanced by the grave responsibility of the safety issues mandated and with full compliance with non-proliferation obligations. In that regard, Singapore urges all States to sign the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol, in order to enhance global nuclear security.
He went on to say that the support and participation of the international community was vital to the efficacy of the Agency’s safeguards and verification regime. For its part, Singapore had ratified the IAEA Additional Protocol and Modified Small Quantities Protocol, hosted a workshop on Additional Protocol and Trade, among its other initiatives. Moreover, Singapore was preparing a feasibility study to explore its potential use of nuclear energy and reiterated its support for greater regional cooperation.
To that end, he noted the Agency’s participation in the ASEAN Regional Forum Intersessional Meeting on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, held recently in Singapore, where participants agreed that the objective of a multilateral fuel cycle to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy was complementary to a global non-proliferation regime. In an effort to promote safety and security, Singapore joined the Agency’s Illicit trafficking Database, and was working toward acceding to IAEA’s Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material in its 2005 Amendment. In closing, he reaffirmed Singapore’s full support for the role and work of the Agency.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said his country highly valued the work of the IAEA, and that it was important that its efforts continued to be stepped up. The Agency was working to contribute to energy supply, combat climate change, and other important matters, he added. However, the Agency needed support from Member States to in order to discharge its mandate effectively. The Russian Federation would continue its support to the Agency, which had recently visited Russia. It was also important that the Agency’s verification programme continue to expand.
The Russian Federation was a donor to projects aimed at the safeguards system and fully endorsed the IAEA’s efforts and assistance to developing states, and additionally allocated resources to national technical support programmes. It endorsed the Agency’s technical cooperation efforts, as well as its support to developing States. He said the Russian Government had also proposed an initiative for a global nuclear infrastructure, and noted with satisfaction that it had been taken up. The Russian Federation further welcomed the Agency’s work in ensuring safety and security States developing nuclear programmes, and attached great importance to several related issues, including the safe disposal of nuclear fuel waste, and other matters. The Russian Federation, along with Kazakhstan, had additionally created an international centre for service and material supply to further these goals.
Furthermore, the delegation supported the INPRO programme, with a long-term contribution of 23 million rubles annually for that project between 2008 and 2012. Regarding regional proliferation challenges, he paid tribute to the Agency’s efforts to put in safeguards in Iran and Syria. He hoped for more active cooperation between Iran and the Agency, urging Tehran to respond constructively to proposals, and said he hoped that related negotiations would soon begin.
TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan) said the Action Plan agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference presented an opportunity to restart efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation based on the spirit of cooperative multilateralism. For its part, Japan had co-hosted a Foreign Ministers’ meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, held in September, at United Nations Headquarters, which had discussed concrete measures for a world with less threat of nuclear risk. Further, the Director General’s recent visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki would enable the Agency to further contribute to nuclear disarmament in its implementing stages.
Turning to the use of nuclear science and technology for social and economic development, he said the Japanese Government would actively promote “green innovation” in its effort to create a low-carbon society. Through its Integrated Support Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Security, Japan would contribute to human resource development for strengthening nuclear security. Further, in an effort to promote technological development, Japan would take advantage of its own long history and achievements made in that area, most notably, the application of radiation technology for cancer treatment. Noting the shortage of human resources required to implement the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Japan would continue to contribute in that area, he said.
He went on to say that Japan was working in concert with Member States to strengthen the Agency’s safeguards through the universalization of the Additional Protocol, by hosting activities such as the Asian Senior-level Talks on Non-Proliferation meetings, among other initiatives. Finally, he stressed that North Korea’s nuclear issue remained a grave threat to the peace and security of East Asia, the international community and the NPT regime, and further stated that Iran must remove global concerns of its use of nuclear energy. Japan would continue to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, among other actions, toward a settlement of the nuclear issues and called on all Member States to address the challenges through constructive cooperation.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said her country was a major producer of uranium ore and had fuel fabrication capability to further expand its involvement for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Kazakhstan collaborated with the Russian Federation to make its uranium available for enrichment to use in power reactors and was working on a “ Nuclear Technologies Park”, under surveillance of the IAEA. Her delegation had been following with great interest the Agency’s initiative to develop multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle to reduce the further spread of sensitive technologies, and endorsed the criteria that any mechanism should be non-political and non-discriminatory, available to all safeguards-complying Member States, so that no State should be required to give up its rights under the NPT.
Kazakhstan had proposed to host an IAEA nuclear fuel bank for use by those unable to acquire nuclear fuel supply in the market. Her country also maintained the strictest control over its equipment and installations that enriched uranium and which reprocessed spent nuclear fuel. With the growing importance of nuclear energy, Kazakhstan had an agreement with the IAEA on technical cooperation for 2010-2015 to develop nuclear education, medicine and agriculture, research reactor safety, technology, radioisotope and radiation applications. Yet, it was of great importance that Kazakhstan, though a stalwart and responsible member of the IAEA, was being denied participation in the work of its elective bodies due to existing procedure; in fully supporting amendments to the IAEA Statute, Kazakhstan was nevertheless confident that a solution would be found to participate full in its activities.
AHMED TABOUL ( Sudan) reiterated his support of the IAEA for it programmes and plans to develop and transfer nuclear technology, and to uphold a global safety regime in the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Of particular importance, he said, was the use of nuclear power for eradicating pests and improving water resources and irrigation systems in large scale agricultural fields. To that end, he called for assistance from Member States to help develop national systems that would revitalize and back regional projects to combat malaria and other diseases, as well as disease-carrying mosquitoes in Africa, which would, therefore, enable the continent to achieve its social and economic development, including its Millennium Development Goals.
Furthermore, he reiterated the rights of all States to develop and generate nuclear energy without any discrimination and called for the backing of Africa’s aspiration for weapon-free zones. It was of grave concern that the Middle East was far from achieving that goal, he said, noting that Israel continued to refuse to place or submit its nuclear programmes under IAEA safeguards and that it ignored repeated appeals made by the international community. Israel’s commitment to implement the NPT would help reduce tensions in the region and would blaze a trail toward achieving international peace and security, he said.
Finally, he stressed Agency’s important role in Africa’s development, and noted that additional resources to develop nuclear energy in the region, particularly in the area of health, would allow Africa to achieve economic and social development. In closing, he said a greater cooperation and assistance by developed countries to developing countries would reduce the use of nuclear energy for other than peaceful purposes. In that regard, the Agency must continue to work with States to strengthen cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear power.
BROOKE D. ANDERSON ( United States) supported the adoption of the draft resolution before the Assembly. As in the past, the United States had co-sponsored the text to underline its strong support for the Agency. Her Government looked forward to continued work with States to ensure the Agency had the necessary resources to address a growing array of challenges and respond increasing number of requests for support. Strongly commending the Agency’s technical excellence and impartiality in the conduct of statutory treaty and advisory duties to Member States, she said the United States looked forward to continued work with the secretariat and States to advance its work across its three pillars.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said his country had benefited from technical cooperation and financial support from the IAEA through various projects. Nuclear energy was an alternative to meet the growing demand for electricity in Venezuela as natural and climatic factors had recently caused a serious crisis that sector. On 15 October 2010, the Russian Federation had signed an agreement with his Government to develop nuclear energy in Venezuelan territory for peaceful purposes, which would minimize Venezuela’s dependence on hydropower and fossil fuels, and would be in line with the need to mitigate negative effects of climate change. That agreement was an expression of the sovereign right of countries to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, he said, adding his country rejected attempt “to distort the nature and scope” of that right through actions that violated the NPT.
“We observe with concern how a group of countries have continued their efforts to exert pressure against the Iran to force that country to relinquish its legitimate right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear industry, seeking technological independence and diversifying its energy supplies,” he said, calling for an end to pressure so that a negotiated political solution could be found to the impasse. When this matter was addressed in forums unfamiliar with the nature of IAEA safeguards, it was based on biased and discriminatory subjective criteria that might affect the credibility and authority of the IAEA, he said. Venezuela also regretted that Israel was the only country in the Middle East that had not acceded to the NPT — it must accede to the Treaty without further day and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, he said.
KIM BONG-HYUN ( Republic of Korea) commended the work of the IAEA in striving for the realization of its overarching objective, the accelerated and enlarged contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. However, he said that the ever-increasing demand for the expanded use of nuclear energy posed considerable challenges to the Agency. The Republic of Korea was of the view that the IAEA was the sole competent authority to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear materials and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities and facilities. Therefore, it followed that IAEA should be equipped with the appropriate authority, as well as resources to sustain the capacity needed for that purpose.
In that context, the Republic of Korea strongly supported the universalization of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol. He urged States Parties that had not yet done so to conclude and bring into force the instruments without delay. He also drew attention to the growing importance of the ratification of the revises Small Quantities Protocol by relevant States, particularly those introducing nuclear power. The Republic of Korea believed that global nuclear security would greatly benefit from international cooperation and that the IAEA, with its technical expertise, could make a significant contribution in that regard. As previously announced, the Republic of Korea would host the next Nuclear Summit in 2012 and the plenary meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in 2011.
He went on to emphasize that the peaceful resolution of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear issue was vital to not only securing peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia, but also to preserving the integrity of the international non-proliferation regime. The delegation welcomed the adoption of a resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Agency’s General Conference in September 2010, as well as the fact that the Agency continued to engage in the matter despite the absence of Agency inspectors in Yongbyon.
Continuing, he said the IAEA had been unable to implement safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since December 2002 and was therefore not in a position to draw any related conclusions. On that point, he welcomed the Director General’s “repeated emphasis” of the authority of the Security Council’s resolutions regarding the implementation of the Agency’s safeguards agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Though that country was currently refusing to cooperate on that matter, the Republic of Korea hoped that the Agency would be able to resume an active role in the process of its neighbour’s denuclearization. Finally, he stated that his Government was committed to the NPT’s goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, and thus supported international efforts to bring about progress in the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
KNUT LANGELAND ( Norway) was pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Stressing that nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament were closely linked, he said. The international community could not achieve the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons as set out in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty unless there was confidence in the integrity on the non-proliferation regime. It was therefore vital that the Agency was provided with the necessary legal tools to implement its non-proliferation mandate. Norway reiterated its call for the universalization of the IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements and the Additional Protocol, and urged all countries with outstanding proliferation issues to fully cooperate with the Agency in resolving those matters and in demonstrating the sole peaceful nature of their nuclear programmes.
The Treaty’s 2010 Review Conference had underlined the importance of international cooperation with regards to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, said the representative. He noted additionally that the majority of countries, including Norway, did not produce electricity from nuclear power plants. However, the delegation recognized that as the demand for energy increased, more countries might come to identify nuclear energy as an option. Therefore, the role of the IAEA would be even more critical in the years to come. Norway had provided substantial voluntary contributions to support the IAEA’s work to strengthen nuclear safety and security in developing countries and to the establishment of a nuclear fuel bank. It was imperative that Member States provide sufficient and predictable funding so that the Agency could carry out its important mandate.
GRUM ABAY ( Ethiopia) noted that the IAEA’s growing role in promoting the socio-economic development of Member States through its technical cooperation was bringing tangible progress in its efforts to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Indeed, Ethiopia was one of the beneficiary States of the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme, through, among others, a major project aimed at eradicating the tsetse fly from the Southern Rift Valley regions, with an Integrated Pest Management approach. Currently, the project was being implemented within the framework of the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomes Eradication Campaign initiative, with the support of the African Development Bank and the Ethiopian Government.
Additionally, he said that technical cooperation between Ethiopia and the IAEA in the area of human health had resulted in putting in place a modest national infrastructure for the application of nuclear medicine and radiotherapy, among other projects. He called on the Agency to continue its efforts, and particularly to support Ethiopia and other developing countries in combating cancer through sustainable therapy programmes and by carrying out more integrated national and regional initiatives.
Ethiopia firmly believed that the provisions of sufficient and predictable resources to the programmes of the Agency, and, more importantly, balanced distribution of resources to the safeguards, nuclear safety and technical cooperation activities of the Agency, must be ensured. As one of the founding members of the Agency, Ethiopia would reaffirm its commitment to the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies by respecting global and international instruments designed to control radioactive and other nuclear materials by promoting the peaceful use of nuclear applications.
ESHAGH AL-HABIB ( Iran) said nuclear cooperation between the suppliers and recipients had always been marked by restriction, hindrance and disruption. Furthermore, it was unfortunate that being part of the NPT and the IAEA Safeguards Agreement did not facilitate cooperation, but served to create impediments to peaceful uses of energy. “It is even true that non-parties are more richly rewarded through nuclear cooperation,” he said, adding: “In the case of Israeli clandestine nuclear activities being completely outside of any IAEA monitoring, nuclear exchanges and transfers of advanced nuclear materials, equipment and technology, facilitated by the United States and its partners, has contributed and continues to contribute to the proliferation activities of the Zionist regime that is endangering global and regional peace and security.”
The 2010 NPT Review Conference called to continue efforts, within the IAEA, to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of its technical cooperation programme, strengthen assistance to developing States parties in peaceful use of nuclear energy and make every effort to ensure resources for technical cooperation were sufficient, assured and predictable. “In today’s presentation by the Agency, the expectation was to hear the future plans of the IAEA for such important issues,” he said. The IAEA Statute also stipulated the Agency should conduct its activities “furthering the establishment of safeguarded worldwide disarmament”. “Now, the question is ‘what is the plan of the Agency in this important area?’ It is obvious that the Agency needs to be more active in these areas,” he said. He also noted recent reports of the Agency on Iran seemed to have been prepared under pressure from outside because they used unusual language on safeguard obligations.
Claiming that Iran had not provided necessary cooperation was also incorrect and misleading, he said, since the Agency had full access to all nuclear material and facilities in that country, including frequent inspections. Iran was determined to exercise its right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and to build on its own scientific advances, including fuel cycle. “ Iran’s commitment to its obligations under the NPT is steadfast and does not request anything more than exercising its inalienable rights,” he said. In the meantime, Iran had always declared its readiness for talks based on justice and mutual respect and just recently welcomed the decision to return Group of 5+1 to negotiations. “We are waiting to see the goodwill of the other parties and their real intention for meaningful and successful talks,” he said.
Action on Draft
Speaking ahead of the Assembly’s action on the text, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation opposed the resolution. Both the IAEA’s report and the resolution remained unfair in their attitudes towards the situation on the Korean peninsula, which was the direct result of hostile nuclear policies from the United States. The American nuclear threat against Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had lasted for more than half a century, “and no conventional weapons can serve as a deterrent to a nuclear threat,” he said.
In order to denuclearize, confidence must be built between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States. Conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries should be reached as soon as possible and was the best way to ease tensions and accelerate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. His country also rejected allegations by South Korea and Japan based on misunderstandings of root issues, he said.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” by consensus (document A/65/L.10)
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