Addressing General Assembly, International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Says Right Lessons Must Be Learned from Japanese Nuclear Accident
Addressing General Assembly, International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Says Right Lessons Must Be Learned from Japanese Nuclear Accident
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
46th & 47thMeetings (AM & PM)
Addressing General Assembly, International Atomic Energy Agency Chief
Says Right Lessons Must Be Learned from Japanese Nuclear Accident
Taking Up Agency’s Annual Report, Speakers Praise Newly-Agreed Nuclear
Safety Action Plan; Assembly Concludes Debate on International Criminal Court
In the wake of the near-meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant that had “changed the landscape” of nuclear safety, General Assembly delegates today said the incident was a grave reminder of the need to close existing safety gaps in the world’s nuclear programmes.
Speakers from all regions of the world repeatedly sounded that note of caution as the Assembly took up the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was presented by the Agency’s Director General, Yukiya Amano. Among other key points, the report focused on the urgency of working with Japan to mitigate the consequences of the accident — which had been set in motion by a massive earthquake and tsunami — and strengthening the international nuclear safeguards system.
“It is vital that […] the right lessons are learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident,” stressed Mr. Amano, noting that Member States had recently approved a 12-point Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which included key elements such as “stress tests” for nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, the IAEA had been working steadily to help Japan bring the situation at the site under control, and Japanese authorities believed that so-called “cold shutdown” status at the Fukushima plant could be achieved by the end of the year.
Despite the incident, however, he said the IAEA projected that the number of nuclear reactors operating in the world would continue to increase steadily in the coming decades. Most of that growth would likely take place in countries that already had operating nuclear power plants, such as China and India, but many developing countries were also considering or planning to introduce nuclear energy in coming years.
Nuclear security remained a critical issue for all States, said Mr. Amano, recalling that the tenth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., had been commemorated during the period under review. He cautioned that the Agency continued to receive worrying reports of incidents of the theft or loss of nuclear material, and that progress remained slow towards the entry into force of an important Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
Turning to the related issue of nuclear verification — which sought to ensure that declared nuclear material was not being diverted from peaceful uses — he said that the Agency had not been able to confirm that Iran’s nuclear programme was geared exclusively towards peaceful uses. He urged that country to take steps towards the full implementation of all relevant obligations.
The IAEA had also found Syria to be in non-compliance with its safeguards obligations, and was seriously concerned about the nuclear programme in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where the Agency been unable to implement any safeguards measures since 2009. Recent reports of uranium enrichment in that country were “deeply troubling”, he said, adding that he would continue to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fully implement all of the relevant resolutions of the IAEA General Conference and the Security Council..
The representative of Japan, speaking during the debate that followed Mr. Amano’s presentation, confirmed that his country was now moving forward to overcome the devastating Fukushima Daiichi accident, and extended his deep appreciation to Member States, the IAEA, and all other organizations that had rendered support, assistance and solidarity. Thanks to such support, the situation at the plant was moving steadily towards restoration, and Japan would continue to work closely with partners around the world to make the most of all available expertise.
Many delegates emphasized that the accident, while profoundly tragic, had nonetheless sparked salient discussions about nuclear risk reduction and human and environmental protection. The accident had transformed the nuclear landscape, said the Head of the Delegation of the European Union, who added it had presented a “strong challenge” to the IAEA and the wider international community.
Onon Sodov, Director of the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, agreed that accident had reminded the international community of existing safety gaps in the world’s many nuclear programmes. The IAEA — the only international organization with the necessary expertise — must lead the effort to strengthen global nuclear safety and security, she stressed.
Drawing parallels between the Fukushima accident and the Chernobyl disaster — which marked its twenty-fifth anniversary this year — the representative of Ukrainesaid that, since the events in Japan, Ukraine had reassessed safety at all of its operational nuclear power plants. It had also launched a comprehensive review of the national nuclear framework, and joined the European Union stress-tests and the relevant peer review process. He welcomed the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, held in June 2011, and expected the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety that had emerged from that meeting to be more ambitious in terms of peer review missions and transparency.
“We need to take all necessary measures to bolster safety and security,” said the representative of Senegal. That was particularly true in preparing for nuclear emergencies and protecting people against their potential hazards. He described a long history of cooperation between IAEA and Senegal, and said that, armed with those experiences, Senegal was in a good position to testify that IAEA — besides serving its regulatory functions — also contributed significantly to social and health progress.
At the opening of the meeting, the representative of Italy introduced a draft resolution on the Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saying that the consensus text, as in previous years, would note with appreciation the annual report, and would reaffirm the General Assembly’s strong support for the Agency’s indispensable role in encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, and among others, in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.
In other business, the Assembly continued its consideration of the report of the International Criminal Court. It also held a by-election to select one State who would put forward a candidate to fill a position on the Joint Inspection Unit. The candidate would complete the term of a member from the Latin American and Caribbean States who had resigned. Having obtained a majority of votes, Honduras was selected to propose a candidate to fill that position.
Also speaking during today’s debate on IAEA was a Member of Parliament of India.
Representatives of the following countries also took part in that debate: Pakistan, Cuba, China, United States, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and Belarus.
Representatives of the following countries spoke about the Report of the International Criminal Court: Brazil, Kenya, United States, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Syria.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 2 November, to conclude discussion of the Report of the IAEA.
The General Assembly met today to take up the 2010 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Before the Assembly is the Agency’s fifty-fifth report (GC(53)/5), which analyses the Agency’s significant activities within the context of notable developments during the year.
The Assembly was also expected to fill vacancies on the Joint Inspection Unit, as well as to continue and conclude its consideration of the annual report of the International Criminal Court. For more information, please see Press Release GA/11163.
The IAEA report notes that for well over 50 years now, the Agency has been dedicated to the achievement of the vision “Atoms for Peace”, serving as the focal point for worldwide cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, for promoting global nuclear safety and security, and — through its verification activities — for providing assurances that international undertakings to use nuclear facilities and materials for peaceful purposes only are being honoured.
In this, its latest survey of worldwide nuclear related developments in 2010 and how they affected its work, the Agency notes that the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, caused by the extraordinary natural disasters of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan on 11 March 2011, continues to be assessed. As this report focuses on developments in 2010, the accident and its implications are not dealt with here, but will be addressed in future reports of the Agency, it notes.
On the status and trends in nuclear technology, nuclear power, nuclear fuel cycle and sustainable development, the report states that the need for sustained economic development to reduce poverty and hunger clearly necessitates increases in the supply of energy and electricity. Nuclear power is a significant contributor to world electricity, and its role as a major source of energy supply and as a mechanism to mitigate climate change has been undergoing a steady re-evaluation. More than 60 countries have expressed an interest in exploring nuclear power, many of which are likely to bring their first reactors online by 2030, according to Agency projections. Construction started on 15 new nuclear power reactors, the largest number of new construction starts since 1985.
Five new reactors were connected to the grid, and one reactor was retired, resulting in a net increase of global nuclear generating capacity to 375 gigawatts of electric power (GW(e)). At the end of the year there were 441 reactors in operation and 66 under construction.
With regard to projected growth for nuclear power, the Agency reports that current expansion and near- and long-term growth prospects remained centred in Asia, where 12 of the 15 construction starts took place, as were two thirds of the reactors under construction at the end of the year. Four of the five new reactors connected to the grid were in Asia, and expectations for future growth remained high in 2010.
On support to operating nuclear power plants, the Agency observes that there is now a more global and competitive energy market than when most existing plants were constructed, as well as more demanding regulatory, stakeholder and environmental requirements. Of the 441 nuclear power reactors in operation at the end of 2010, 358 had been operating for more than 20 years.
According to the Agency, most of the growth in nuclear power capacity will occur in the 29 countries that already have operating nuclear power programmes. After a slowdown in new construction in the 1990s, these countries have recently shown increased interest in building new plants. Currently, 24 countries are planning to expand their existing nuclear programmes and, at the end of 2010, 65 reactors were under construction in countries with operating reactors. At the same time, the Agency received an increasing number of requests for assistance with future expansions of nuclear power programmes. Agency assistance continued to help in developing the necessary nuclear power infrastructure Energy Assessment Services.
As countries make progress, their plans for nuclear power are becoming more concrete and detailed. Of the 60 countries that received Agency assistance in this area through national and regional technical cooperation projects in 2010, approximately one third were studying the nuclear power option in preparation for a decision, while roughly half had expressed interest in understanding the issues but had not taken steps toward a decision.
Insofar as assurance of supply is concerned, in December 2010, the Board of Governors authorized the Director General to take steps towards the establishment of a low enriched uranium (LEU) bank. The LEU bank will be owned and controlled by the Agency, as a supply of last resort for nuclear power generation while avoiding any disturbance of the existing commercial fuel market, and will be funded exclusively through voluntary contributions.
Pledges and contributions in excess of $150 million have been provided by the European Union, Kuwait, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and Kazakhstan has offered to provide a location for an Agency LEU bank and bear the relevant storage costs. Should a Member State’s LEU supply be disrupted due to exceptional circumstances, and the supply cannot be restored by the commercial market, State-to-State arrangements or any other such means, the Member State may call upon the Agency’s LEU bank to secure that uranium for fuel supplies. Work on this fuel bank is continuing.
According to the IAEA, the twenty-first century promises the most open, competitive, globalized markets in human history and the most rapid pace of technological change ever. If a technology is to survive and flourish, continual innovation is essential. While the Agency does not develop technology directly, it promotes the exchange of technical information among interested Member States, using Technical Working Groups, coordinated research projects, international conferences and the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) to foster international cooperation.
Concerning its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy, the report says in 2010, the Agency continued to strengthen its partnerships with health and cancer control organizations through the Joint Programme on Cancer Control by the World Health Organization (WHO)/IAEA. As part of its capacity-building and awareness initiatives in 2010, the Agency invited 72 policy makers from the African and the Asia–Pacific regions to attend coordination and planning meetings on cancer control.
Turning its attention to its contribution towards the management of water resources ten years after adopting the Millennium Development Goal of “reducing in half the number of people without access to safe drinking water”, the United Nations discussed progress in the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Report and in the Dushanbe Declaration, which was an outcome of the ‘Water for Life’ conference held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in June 2010; the Agency initiated a project in 2010 to enable Member States to have a sound scientific basis for the use and sharing of their water resources. The IWAVE (IAEA Water Availability Enhancement) project aims at facilitating the comprehensive gathering and use of scientific information to fully assess the availability and quality of water resources.
Noting that the world’s growing population continued to be faced with inadequate food supplies, partly caused by the changing environment and further exacerbated by the global financial crisis, science, including nuclear and isotopic techniques, provides solutions for making sustainable agriculture techniques accessible to people everywhere. With that in mind, early application of rapid and sensitive nuclear and nuclear-related diagnostic tests to control transboundary animal diseases was one of the Agency’s key priorities in the area of food and agriculture in 2010. It contributed to the control and eradication of rinderpest, a devastating disease of cattle.
The Agency has provided $20 million over the years to support the eradication of rinderpest, with the return on investment in Africa alone of $1 billion per year in livestock production. Building on this, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health are expected in 2011 to officially declare the global eradication of rinderpest, the first time that this has been achieved for an animal disease.
Reporting on nuclear safety and security, the Agency observed in that the international nuclear community maintained a high level of safety performance in 2010. Nuclear power plant safety performance remained high, and indicated an improved trend in the number of emergency shutdowns as well as in the level of energy available during these shutdowns. In addition, more States explored or expanded their interests in nuclear power programmes, and more faced the challenge of establishing the required regulatory infrastructure, regulatory supervision and safety management over nuclear installations and the use of ionizing radiation Building Capacity in Member States.
As the global demand for energy intensifies and the need to counteract climate change becomes more urgent, many countries have committed themselves to exploring the possibility of embarking on nuclear power programmes or expanding existing ones. However, the report asserts that not all States have adequate competences, especially with regard to the required legal and regulatory frameworks necessary for nuclear safety and security. In June 2010, the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) was formed to assist Member States in this effort.
On incident and emergency preparedness, the report notes that not all Member States are adequately prepared to respond to radiation events, and any expansion in the use of nuclear energy needs to go hand in hand with enhancement of national, regional and international emergency preparedness and response capabilities. Moreover, increased concern over the malicious use of nuclear or radioactive materials stressed the need to broaden those capabilities. In light of these facts, in 2010, Agency activities were geared to enhancing technical guidelines, providing technical assistance, building capacity in Member States, fostering the sharing of information, and improving international and the Agency’s arrangements and capabilities. In specific terms, the Agency organized 38 training events on various aspects of emergency preparedness and response.
It is the finding of the Agency that worldwide statistics on the decommissioning of nuclear power plants did not change significantly in 2010. At the end of the year, 124 power reactors were shut down. Of these, 15 were fully dismantled, 52 were in the process of being dismantled or planning for short term dismantling, 48 were being kept in safe enclosure mode, 3 were entombed, and 6 did not yet have specified decommissioning strategies.
In general, access to radiation in medicine increased for the global population; however, about 25 per cent of the world’s population in developed countries received around 75 per cent of the medical procedures utilizing ionizing radiation. The safety record for the transport of radioactive material remained excellent in 2010, according to the Agency. However, denials and delays of shipment of radioactive materials continued to occur, with the most apparent increase in denials of shipment resulting from national variations in regulations. The International Steering Committee on Denials of Shipment of Radioactive Material continued to coordinate efforts to find solutions related to denials of shipment.
On its Technical Cooperation Programme in 2010, the Agency says nuclear safety accounted for 18.4 per cent of disbursements. It was followed by human health at 17.9 per cent, with food and agriculture, at 14 per cent, in third place.
For many African Member States, meeting basic human needs remained the top priority on the agenda for national development plans and international cooperation programmes in 2010. Activities in the region concentrated on supporting Member States in developing technical, managerial and institutional capacities in nuclear science and technology. A second focus was the sustainable application of nuclear techniques in key areas of national and regional significance to achieve increased food security, improved nutrition and health services, better management of groundwater resources, improved energy development planning including the feasibility of the nuclear power option, quality control in industrial development and a cleaner and safer environment.
In Asia and the Pacific, the focus was on strengthening human and institutional capacity for nuclear safety and for applications of nuclear technology in health, agriculture and industry, and supporting infrastructure building for Member States embarking on nuclear power. In Europe, projects to support the development of nuclear power and the use of radiation in health care, as well as to maintain appropriate levels of safety and security in all aspects of the peaceful use of nuclear technology, were an important area of activity.
In Latin America, in addition to ongoing projects in the areas of radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, plant breeding, pest control and water management, strategic alliances and partnerships continued to be important means to address the development needs of Member States. Emphasis was placed on disseminating the achievements of the projects carried out in connection with the ARCAL Regional Agreement over the last 25 years. In all regions, cooperative arrangements, including regional agreements, have become key strategic mechanisms to expand cooperation with other partners at the regional and international levels, said the report.
On its financial resources, the report notes that the Agency’s technical cooperation programme is funded by contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF), as well as through extra-budgetary contributions, Government cost-sharing and contributions in kind Overall, new resources reached a total of $127.6 million in 2010, with $79.7 million for the TCF (including previous year payments to the TCF, assessed programme costs, national participation costs and miscellaneous income), $45.6 million in extra-budgetary resources, and $2.2 million representing in-kind contributions. With regard to disbursements, $114.3 million was disbursed to 129 countries or territories, of which 29 were least developed countries, reflecting the Agency’s ongoing effort to address the development needs of the world’s poorest States.
On safeguards and verification, the Agency’s verification programme remains at the core of multilateral efforts to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, says the report. Through the application of safeguards, the Agency aims to assure the international community that nuclear material and facilities are used only for peaceful purposes. As such, the Agency has an essential verification role under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), as well as other treaties such as those establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones Safeguards Conclusions for 2010.
For a “broader conclusion” to be drawn that “all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities”, both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol must be in force, and the Agency must have been able to conduct all necessary verification and evaluation activities. Of the 99 States that had both a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an additional protocol in force, the Agency concluded that all nuclear material remained in peaceful activities in 57 States. For the remaining 42 States, the Agency was only able to conclude that declared nuclear material remained in peaceful nuclear activities, as it had not yet completed all the necessary evaluations under these States’ respective additional protocols.
For States that have an agreement in force but no additional protocol, the Agency does not have sufficient tools to draw soundly based safeguards conclusions regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. For the 68 such States, the Agency drew the safeguards conclusion that declared nuclear material remained in peaceful activities. Safeguards were also implemented with regard to declared nuclear material in selected facilities in the five nuclear weapon States with voluntary offer agreements. For these five States, the Agency concluded that nuclear material to which safeguards were applied in selected facilities remained in peaceful activities or had been withdrawn as provided for in the agreements.
The Secretariat could not draw any safeguards conclusions for the 17 NPT non-nuclear-weapon States without safeguards agreements in force. For the three States that had safeguards agreements in force based on INFCIRC/66/Rev 2, the Secretariat concluded that the nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards were applied remained in peaceful activities during 2010, the Director General submitted four reports to the Board of Governors on the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions in Iran.
In 2010, while the Agency continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities declared by Iran, the Agency was not able to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in that country was in peaceful activities. Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran did not: implement the provisions of its additional protocol; implement the modified Code 3.1 of the subsidiary arrangements general part to its safeguard agreements; suspend its enrichment related activities; suspend its heavy-water-related activities; and clarify the remaining outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.
During the years under review, Iran announced that it had selected the sites for new enrichment facilities and that construction of one of these facilities would start in 2011. In 2010, the Director General submitted four reports to the Board of Governors on the implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic ( Syria).
The Agency continued its verification activities in relation to the allegations that an installation destroyed by Israel at Dair Alzour in Syria in September 2007 had been a nuclear reactor under construction. Syria has yet to provide a credible explanation for the origin and presence of anthropogenic natural uranium particles found at the Dair Alzour site 10, the report says that Syria has not cooperated with the Agency since 2008 in connection with the unresolved issues related to that site and the three other locations to which it is allegedly functionally related. In 2009, the Agency found anthropogenic natural uranium particles at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) near Damascus. A plan of action was agreed between Syria and the Agency, the aim of which is to resolve the inconsistencies between Syria’s declarations and the Agency’s findings.
Under Other verification activities, the Agency reports that since December 2002, it has not implemented safeguards in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and, therefore, cannot draw any safeguards conclusion regarding that country. Since 15 April 2009, the Agency has not implemented any measures under the ad hoc monitoring and verification arrangement agreed between the Agency and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and foreseen in the Initial Actions agreed at the Six-Party Talks.
Although not implementing any verification in the field, the Agency continued to monitor the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear activities by using open source information, satellite imagery and trade information. In this regard, the Agency learned with great regret of the report on the uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyong.
The Agency also continued to further consolidate its knowledge of the that country’s nuclear programme with the objective of maintaining operational readiness to resume safeguards implementation in the State, to implement ad hoc monitoring and verification arrangements and to resolve any issues that may have arisen due to the long absence of Agency safeguards. The report says that the Agency continues to regard the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear issue and that country’s nuclear tests as a serious threat to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and regional and international peace and stability.
Concluding, the report underscores that the role that the Agency has played in helping to achieve global development objectives continues to conform to the objective stated in Article II of its Statute, namely to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”.
In that context, several principles central to the Agency’s mission were reinforced during 2010, the most important of which were the following: Important benefits for achieving sustainable development and for improving the quality of life can derive from the peaceful application of nuclear energy and nuclear techniques. The Agency thus has an important role in assisting developing countries to improve their scientific and technological capabilities in the nuclear area.
Also, both national measures and international cooperation are essential for nuclear, radiation, waste and transport safety, and the Agency has a key role in the promotion of a global safety culture. Agency safeguards are a basic component of the non-proliferation regime and create an environment conducive to nuclear disarmament and nuclear cooperation. Responding to the challenges of the future requires collaborative efforts by Member States, international organizations and civil society. It also requires flexibility — the ability to adapt to changing circumstances to achieve common goals. For the Agency, this cooperation is the key to harnessing nuclear energy in the service of peace and development for humanity.
Statement by Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency
Introducing his report, YUKIYA AMANO, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), recalled that a serious accident had taken place on 11 March 2011 at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following a devastating earthquake and tsunami. The IAEA had been working steadily to help Japan bring the situation at the site under control and to mitigate the consequences of the accident. The Japanese authorities had been working to stabilize the reactors, and were now confident that so-called “cold shutdown” status would be achieved by the end of the year. The IAEA would continue to support the country in the challenging work of decontamination and remediation in the affected areas.
“It is vital that […] the right lessons are learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident”, he stressed, describing several measures taken in response. In September, 151 Member States had endorsed a 12-point Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which had included key elements such as “stress tests”. The framework for expert peer reviews by the IAEA of operational safety at nuclear power plants was being strengthened.
Despite the accident, however, he said the IAEA projected that the number of nuclear reactors operating in the world would continue to increase steadily in the coming decades. Most of that growth would likely take place in countries that already had operating nuclear power plants, such as China and India. Additionally, many developing countries still planned to introduce nuclear energy in coming years.
Nuclear security remained an extremely important issue for all States, he said, recalling that the tenth anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC had been commemorated during the period under review. In that vein, the number of States participating in the IAEA’s Illicit Trafficking Database programme continued to grow, and currently stood at 113. As of June, 172 incidents had been reported during 2011, 32 of which involved the theft or loss of nuclear or radioactive material. Such incidents demonstrated that security weaknesses continued to exist, he stressed. Progress towards the entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material also remained slow six years after its adoption.
The reporting period had seen a major success story in the form of the eradication of the deadly cattle disease rinderpest — the first animal disease ever to be eliminated — which had been accomplished using nuclear technologies. He added that those same technologies were now being applied to diagnose and control other transboundary animal diseases, such as a devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Mongolia.
He said the IAEA technical cooperation programme also provided essential support to Member States in every region of the world. It was assisting efforts to combat child malnutrition, to support breastfeeding programmes and to address child mortality from water-borne illnesses. Assistance had also been provided to help counter non-communicable diseases, to establish an early warning system for Harmful Algal Blooms in El Salvador, and to implement a drip irrigation project in Kenya. New resources for such assistance rose to $127.7 million in 2010 from $112.2 million in 2009.
Turning to nuclear verification, he reported that 112 countries had now brought into force additional protocols to their safeguard agreements with the IAEA. Such protocols were essential tools to allow the Agency to be able to provide credible assurance not only that declared material was not being diverted from peaceful uses, but that there were no undeclared nuclear materials and activities in a country. He strongly hoped that the remaining States would conclude additional protocols as soon as possible, he said, calling on the 14 non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without safeguard agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay.
In that vein, he noted that Iran was still not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the Agency to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran was for peaceful purposes. He therefore urged Iran to take steps towards the full implementation of all relevant obligations in order to establish international cooperation in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. In the case of Syria, the IAEA had recently come to the conclusion that it was very likely that a building destroyed in the Dair Alzour site in 2007 was a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency. In June 2011, the IAEA had found Syria to be in non-compliance with its safeguard obligations and reported that non-compliance to the Security Council and the General Assembly.
The nuclear programme in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remained a matter of serious concern, he said, as the Agency had been unable to implement any safeguard measures in that country since 2009. Last year’s reports about the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility and a light water reactor in the country had been “deeply troubling”. He would continue to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fully implement all of the relevant resolutions of the IAEA General Conference and the Security Council.
Introduction of Draft
Introducing the draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (document A/66/L.6), CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI ( Italy), noted that his delegation had been elected to Chair the IAEA Board of Governors for the 2011-2012 period. Italy was firmly convinced that safety, security and nuclear safeguards were essential to ensuring the peaceful uses of nuclear energy that protected the health of the population and the integrity of the environment. Italy advocated a strong international nuclear regime to guarantee that commitments and obligations under the NPT were verified through the strict and independent monitoring of the IAEA.
The draft text before the Assembly was the result of consultations in Vienna. The consensus text, as in previous years, noted with appreciation the annual report of the IAEA; took note of the resolutions adopted at the fifty-fifth regular session of the Agency’s General Conference held from 19 to 23 September; reaffirmed the General Assembly’s strong support for the Agency’s indispensible role in encouraging and assisting the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security; and appealed to Member States to continue to support the Agency’s activities. Italy and the other sponsors hoped that the draft would be adopted by consensus, as it had been last year.
Statements on Report of International Atomic Energy Agency
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of Delegation of the European Union, said that the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant had changed the landscape of nuclear safety worldwide and had presented a strong challenge to the IAEA and the wider international community. The European Union had contributed to meeting that challenge through its EU-Japan Summit of 28 May, along with its involvement in the IAEA’s Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in June. That Conference had begun the process of ensuring that the international community drew lessons from the Fukushima accident and implemented them, with an eye towards achieving the highest standards of nuclear safety globally.
Continuing, he said International cooperation was crucial for promoting the nuclear safety framework globally. In that context, the European Union was undertaking, as a matter of priority, a review of all of its nuclear power plants through the use of “stress tests”. In parallel with that review, the European Union would conduct a review of the existing European legal and regulatory framework for the safety and security of nuclear installations, to be completed by the end of the year.
In 2009, the European Union had adopted its Nuclear Safety Directive, which was binding on all of its members. It remained deeply concerned by the protracted and serious challenges to the non-proliferation regime posed by Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria, as reported by the IAEA Director General. It also reaffirmed its 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 NPT obligations, including safeguard agreements. The European Union expressed its strongest regret that, for the first time, no resolution on strengthening and improving the safeguards system and the application of the Model Additional Protocol had been adopted during the fifty-fifth IAEA General Conference. Countries considering or planning to include nuclear power in their energy strategies should cooperate closely with the IAEA, he stressed.
“We face a new era of threats from non-State actors, particularly terrorists, who seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction”, he continued. In light of those ongoing threats, his delegation actively supported the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1540 (2004) and 1887 (2009), both on aspects of nuclear non-proliferation. He said the European Union supported IAEA activities in the areas of nuclear security in the framework of the implementation of the bloc’s strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The European Union was one of the main contributors to the IAEA’s Nuclear Strategy Fund, he said. As effective physical protection was of utmost importance, his delegation urged all Member States that had not yet done so to become parties to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its amendment. Finally, he said the European Union supported both the IAEA and cooperation with third countries in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, with a total contribution of at least €30 million by the end of 2010.
ONON SODOV, Director of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, expressed deep condolences and sincere sympathy to the people and Government of Japan for the tragic loss of human life and suffering as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. That tragic event had been a grave reminder of the need to close the existing safety gaps and constantly increase the safety and security of nuclear facilities around the world. She said that the IAEA, the only international organization with the relevant expertise, must lead the effort to strengthen global nuclear safety and security. Mongolia believed that convening, as proposed by the Japanese Government, an international conference to consider the lessons of Fukushima would also be practically useful for improving emergency preparedness and relief.
She said that Mongolia was embarking on uranium exploitation and had considered adding nuclear power to its energy mix. The Government was well aware that uranium exploitation entailed great responsibilities, including ensuring physical security of nuclear material at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. She said it would, therefore, look to the Agency and its international partners for advice and assistance in the proper exploitation of its uranium reserves. As part of its initial measures, the Mongolian Government was also working to accede to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.
Last year, Mongolia was designated the eight Model Demonstration Site country under the IAEA Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). As such, Mongolia was working to develop the required capacity in radiotherapy to ensure effective early detection and treatment of cancer. Other priority areas of cooperation with the Agency included agriculture, food security and overall capacity building. Mongolia had this year submitted 8 proposals for the new biennial project cycle 2012/2013 in accordance with the priority needs and the Agency’s mandate. Mongolia noted that its commitment to strong cooperation with the IAEA could be seen from the fact that the IAEA projects in Mongolia had the highest implementation rate in the Asia-Pacific region this year.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said that his country had recently concluded its term as the Chair of the IAEA Board of Governors for 2010-2011, which demonstrated the international community’s confidence in the country. In an increasingly complex and challenging international environment, the Agency’s role had become even more important, he said. It was therefore important for the Agency to be seen as an impartial, efficient and professional body, and not just as a “nuclear watchdog”.
The Assembly’s recent high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security had served to focus international attention on the important issues of nuclear safety, and the adoption of a Nuclear Safety Plan of Action, was both timely and useful. Pakistan fully supported the Agency’s role in evaluating and institutionalizing the lessons learned from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi accident, he said. Additionally, he stressed that it was important to take into account the differentiated nature of countries’ needs and circumstances. Effective implementation of the Plan of Action would therefore depend in large measures on the degree of international assistance and cooperation in developing countries. Pakistan fully endorsed the views of the Non-Aligned Movement on nuclear power and developing States. Pakistan, for its part, had begun a comprehensive review of the existing power plants, and would bring about modifications if necessary.
Pakistan had benefited from the expertise of the IAEA in the form of expert missions, the Operational Safety Review Team, and technical cooperation programmes. Placing emphasis on such cooperation, he also stressed the need for enhanced and assured training facilities for the developing countries through greater involvement of developing countries in the programme’s design and implementation. Pakistan had long been a supporter of safe and sustainable nuclear energy, he continued, noting that the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission was actively engaged in harnessing nuclear energy for such uses. However, the main challenge was to harness nuclear power for electricity; Pakistan hoped to dramatically increase the percentage of its electricity that came from nuclear power by 2030.
Nuclear security had emerged as a critical area requiring attention, he continued. While Pakistan supported international efforts in that regard, it also shared the IAEA view that “responsibility for nuclear security rests entirely with each State”. In recent years, a number of related initiatives and activities had sprung up globally, often performing overlapping work. Pakistan shared the concern of the IAEA about the duplication of such efforts. It would be counterproductive financially and politically to overlap efforts, in particular in the development of parallel guidelines, recommendations, standards and guidance documents in the field of nuclear security.
Pakistan’s national Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) was a strong, credible and independent overseer, he stressed. It had followed international standards and maintained a close relationship with the IAEA, an approach which had won the PNRA wide appreciation among its global peers. Finally, he noted, the global non-proliferation architecture had changed in recent years, as policies and practices had eroded the sanctity of long-standing norms and legal instruments that underpinned the regime. Pakistan believed in an equitable, non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach and hoped that considerations of nuclear safety and security would help, not hinder, the peaceful use of nuclear energy in support of development.
PREM CHAND GUPTA ( India) said his country viewed nuclear energy as an essential element of its national energy basket. India was committed to taking forward its three-stage nuclear programme based on a closed fuel cycle. It envisaged a major expansion of nuclear energy in the coming decades – 20,000 MW by 2020 and projected to grow to 60,000 MW by 2030. India’s nuclear track record was impeccable and the Government continued to underscore the safety of its plants as a matter of the highest priority. It had undertaken a number of key measures to that end. He added that all India’s reactors, whether indigenous or imported would, without exception, meet the enhanced safety standards.
He went on to say that India’s National Disaster Management Authority had drawn up a strategy on “management of Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies” which provided a holistic and integrated approach to disaster management. He said India’s nuclear programme was oriented towards maximizing the energy potential of available uranium resources and the utilisation of the large thorium review. Available uranium resources could not sustain the projected expansion of nuclear power without adopting the closed fuel cycle approach. India encouraged the Agency to further engage itself in the thorium fuel cycle.
India was of the view that the Agency’s work programme and achievement under nuclear applications were of significance and special value in meeting the needs of developing countries, he continued. Activities in the spheres of food and agriculture, human health and nutrition, water resources, etc., were notable in this connection. Experts from India regularly participated in all these programmes and provided support to the Agency.
The Bhabhatron telecom unit, donated through the IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) by the Government of India to Vietnam, was successfully commissioned in 2010. The exhibition of another Bhabhatron unit to Sri Lanka donated through a similar arrangement is presently in progress. Indian experts were providing full support to Sri Lanka in construction, installation and commissioning of the faculty and training of the technical staff.
ANAYANSI RODRÍGUEZ CAMEJO ( Cuba) said that the application of nuclear technologies contributed to desertification, global warming and other natural phenomena that affected food production and human life on Earth. Cuba gave high priority to cooperation between developing countries, and for 26 years had been active in the Regional Agreement of Technical Cooperation for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America (ARCAL) in cooperation with the IAEA.
Cuba’s participation in the Ibero-American Forum of Radiation and Nuclear Safety Regulatory Agencies (FORO) had also enabled it to contribute to maintaining a high level of security with regard to nuclear and radiological safety. IAEA’s technical cooperation programme should be strengthened without conditions and in accordance with its priorities. She said that Cuba was committed to technical cooperation and in 2010 had had a 77 per cent achievement rate in such projects, lower than in the past, due to the United States blockade.
That blockade, which violated the Agency statute, also prevented IAEA from bringing necessary equipment to Cuba, causing economic losses to Cuba of some $975 billion. Cuban scientists were also prevented from participating in activities in the United States, such as cancer-related programmes. Cuba recognized the Agency’s efforts to find ways around the situation. Nuclear disarmament was also of highest priority to Cuba. She further recognized IAEA efforts in nuclear waste transport and other areas, and said the Fukushima accident showed that nuclear security efforts in the face of natural disaster must be stepped up.
WANG MIN ( China) said that over the past year, the Agency had carried out a great deal of work in accordance with its statutory mandate. In the aftermath of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident last March, the IAEA had played an important role in providing member States with information about that incident and assisting Japan in its accident response. In June, the Agency convened the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety with a Ministerial Declaration adopted and international consensus on nuclear safety consolidated. The Agency developed a comprehensive Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.
He said that China believed those efforts were of great importance in improving international nuclear safety and emergency response performance, promoting relevant international cooperation and safeguarding the safe and sustainable development of global nuclear energy. At the same time, through its technical cooperation program, the Agency provided guidance to member states in developing nuclear power projects and promoted the application of nuclear technology to human health, medical service, food and agriculture and environment protection.
Nowadays, nuclear energy played an irreplaceable role in safeguarding energy security, promoting economic development and combating climate change. In the course of its nuclear energy development, China always adhered to the principle of “safety first”. He said that China had also attached great importance to nuclear security capacity-building, supported and actively participated in relevant international cooperation. At the same time, China strictly fulfilled its safeguard obligations and actively supported the Agency to improve its verification capability. China also supported the Agency to continue carrying out its technical cooperation programme and promoted the nuclear power development and nuclear technology application.
He said that Agency shouldered important responsibilities in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and preventing nuclear proliferation. Facing the new situation after the Fukushima accident, the Agency should further strengthen its role in enhancing nuclear safety. It was China’s hope the Agency would give priority to summarizing lessons of the Fukushima accident, increasing technical assistance to developing countries, and strengthening nuclear safeguards and preventing nuclear proliferation.
DONALD CAMP ( United States) said that his Government’s decision to become a co-sponsor of the resolution to be acted on by the Assembly demonstrated its strong commitment to the IAEA and its work. He quoted United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who had recently said, “this year, the IAEA has again proven itself to be an indispensible forum” for regulating nuclear safety, security and related matters.
For its part, the United States had launched the “Peaceful Uses Initiative”, a new programme aimed at highlighting and strengthening the Agency’s role in helping people gain access to the benefits of nuclear energy. The United States had funded the programme with an initial $50 million over the next five years, he continued, inviting other States to match that amount. The United States looked forward to working with the Agency and all Member States to advance its work in the years ahead, he said, and his Government remained committed to ensuring that it had sufficient resources to perform its work.
YEVHENII TSYMBALIUK ( Ukraine) noted that 26 April 2011 marked a quarter century since the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that had dispelled the world’s illusions about the complete safety of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. One outcome of two international events the country had held commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary was a unanimous recognition of the need to secure adequate levels of nuclear safety, as the key priority, throughout every stage of nuclear energy production. The accident had triggered international instruments to ensure the highest levels of nuclear waste and radiation safety and the relevant systems of emergency preparedness and response, he said.
Noting the nuclear accident in 2011 at Fukushima Daiichi, he said the IAEA had a leading role to play in any nuclear emergency and its on-site involvement was vital to addressing situations like the one at Fukushima. Based on lessons learned from that incident, Ukraine had reassessed safety at all operational nuclear power plants, introduced measures to reinforce the independence of the national nuclear regulatory authority and, as top priority, launched a comprehensive review of the national nuclear framework, and joined the European Union stress-tests and the relevant peer review process. He further welcomed the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety held this June in Vienna and expected the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety that had emerged form that meeting to be more ambitious in terms of peer review missions and transparency.
While responsibility for nuclear safety rested with States, the IAEA Safety Fundamentals and Safety Requirements should constitute a minimum obligatory basis for states which had civil nuclear programmes. He supported the Agency’s activities aimed at improving over nuclear sources, radiation transport and waste safety and the implementation of its Nuclear Security Plan for 2010-2013.
Ukraine called upon all states that had not yet done so to adhere to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and to act in accordance with its purpose prior to its entry into force. Further, he said that universal adherence to the NPT and the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement would strengthen non-proliferation and enhance security. Ukraine cooperated with the IAEA on many programmes from research to technical cooperation. The key to success in technical cooperation was to address the real needs of Member States. To that end, he recommended that the Agency develop partnerships with other organizations where appropriate.
AISHAH KARIM ( Singapore) said that as the global focal point for nuclear cooperation, the IAEA continued to play a crucial role in promoting the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. Nuclear safety had come into the spotlight this year with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March. That incident had demonstrated the grave dangers of low-probability high-impact accidents that were difficult to predict or fully guard against. She said we must all work together to further strengthen the global nuclear safety framework, and the global emergency preparedness and response mechanisms for nuclear emergencies. Singapore said it believed that the IAEA should drive that process.
Nuclear non-proliferation remained a core aspect of the IAEA’s mission. Singapore firmly believed that all States had the right to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. At the same time, the Agency had the vital task of ensuring that nuclear material and technology meant for peaceful purposes were not diverted for non-civilian uses that could threaten regional and international peace and stability. Singapore strongly urged all States which had not done so to accede to the NPT and the IAEA’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and additional protocols.
As a member of the IAEA Board of Governors, Singapore wanted to reiterate its continued support for the Agency’s vital role and tasks. In its final year on the Board, Singapore, she said, would continue to exert its utmost efforts for the advancement of the IAEA’s mission.
STEVEN CIOBO, Minister of Parliament of Australia, welcomed Director-General Amano’s actions and initiatives regarding nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima incident, noting further that his Government was pleased to have participated in the Ministerial Conference in June and to have contributed to efforts to contribute to improving nuclear safety and addressing public confidence as reflected in the Nuclear Safety Action Plan adopted at the General Conference.
He said that the Action Plan was a “strong and practical” demonstration of the priority the world community attached to achieving highest possible nuclear safety standards and Australia encouraged States to be proactive in undertaking the actions outlined therein in addition to any additional ones relevant to national circumstances. For its part, Australia was committed to best international practice regarding safeguards, safety and security of nuclear material, and had established an informal Vienna-based contact group for existing and prospective uranium mining countries to exchange views and share best practices.
Emphasizing the IAEA safeguards system as a central pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, he underscored the need for universal coverage, and called on all NPT States that had yet to do so to conclude Comprehensive Safeguard Agreements, as well as Additional Protocols, without delay. States that had not signed and ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty should also do so. He stressed that IAEA safeguard obligations were not voluntary and called on countries in breach of those obligations to engage with the Agency to resolve all issues and demonstrate the peaceful intent of their nuclear programme. In the spirit of the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative, Australia had contributed $100,000 to the “marine Benchmark Study on the Possible Impact of the Fukushima Radioactive Release in the Asia Pacific Region.” Moreover, the world community should never lose sight of the Agency’s role in enhancing State capabilities to prevent, diagnose and treat health problems through the use of nuclear techniques.
HERMOSO PAPHAEL ( Philippines) said his country supported the central role of the IAEA in the area of nuclear safety, and welcomed the adoption of the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which would serve as a building block for the development of more specific measures for enhancing nuclear safety worldwide. Through its cooperation with the IAEA, the Philippines had been developing the necessary human resources and physical infrastructure for the utilization of nuclear technologies to help meet the challenges many of us faced today.
On human health, the Philippines’ standing request to be part of the Agency’s Programme of Action on Cancer Therapy (PACT) was finally approved for implementation this year. The IAEA continued to play an important role in helping countries achieve their Millennium Development Goals through its Technical Cooperation Programme and its various activities in nuclear applications. The Philippines acknowledged the significant contribution of projects supported by the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme, especially in the areas of health and nutrition, environmental resource management, and increasing agricultural and industrial productivity.
The Philippines reaffirmed the importance of strengthening the Agency’s nuclear verification capabilities and establishing confidence in the peaceful nature of nuclear activities. The Philippines shared the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons, and strongly supported the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones as a way to contribute to international peace and security. In his own region, he said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established such a zone, and welcomed the progress in discussions in recent months with the nuclear weapons states on their possible accession to the Treaty setting up the zone.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal) said he regretted that his delegation had experienced problems in accessing the Director General’s report on time, and hoped the problem would be corrected. Of all international issues, he said, the dilemma posed by nuclear technology was the most broadly shared and the most difficult to tackle. Nuclear energy was used for many peaceful purposes. Nonetheless, such applications posed certain risks, as evidenced by the recent Fukushima nuclear plant accident. In that regard, Senegal welcomed the new Action Plan that sought to improve the global framework for safety and security, and reiterated the urgency of reviewing the rules and principles that governed the application and oversight of safety and security as well as improving transparency and accountability. “We need to take all necessary measures to bolster safety and security”, he said, particularly in preparing for nuclear emergencies and protecting people against their potential hazards.
In that connection, the pursuit of the peaceful use of nuclear energy must take into account the need to protect human health and the environment. He described a long history of cooperation between the IAEA and Senegal, and said that, armed with those experiences, Senegal was in a good position to testify that the IAEA had contributed to social and health progress. The international community must keep in mind the positive accomplishments made in those difficult areas. Moreover, the nuclear verification regime must evolve. The IAEA must be reinforced and better prepared to execute its mandate.
THOMAS GÜRBER ( Switzerland) said his country would like to focus on the nuclear accident at Fukushima — the key issue the IAEA had faced in recent months. That incident demonstrated that such disasters had transboundary and multi-dimensional consequences, and should be managed with a global approach. Therefore, Switzerland welcomed the Action Plan to strengthen nuclear safety; by its very nature, the IAEA must play the role of coordinating all international efforts in strengthening nuclear safety.
“ Switzerland has been actively involved in the negotiation process of the Action Plan and, like several States, has expressed regrets about the relatively measured ambitions contained in the finally adopted document,” he said. However, he added that Switzerland considered the Action Plan a first step in a process that should lead to less voluntary commitments from the Members States in the field of nuclear safety. Switzerland therefore welcomed the rapid implementation of a Nuclear Safety Action Team to coordinate the implementation of the Action Plan, and welcomed the commitment by the IAEA Director General to inform Member States on progress implementing the Plan. Switzerland would continue to be fully committed in this area, to ensure development of nuclear energy would not mean “a sword of Damocles” hanging over societies’ heads.
TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan) said the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and its resulting tsunamis, causing grave damage to Japan and its people. His country was now moving forward to overcome that tragic event, and extended the deepest appreciation to Member States, the IAEA, and all other organizations that had rendered support, assistance and solidarity. Thanks to such support, the situation at the plant was moving steadily towards restoration, and Japan would continue to work closely with partners around the world to make the most of all available expertise.
On nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he said that the IAEA was the only international organization with expertise in all aspects of nuclear energy, and not only in the areas of nuclear safety and security. Japan would continue to lead efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons. Regarding the actions of particular countries, he said that nuclear issues surrounding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea constituted a threat to peace and security in East Asia and to the international community as a whole. They also posed a serious challenge to the NPT regime. Further, he said it was indispensible for Iran to take action to alleviate all suspicions and win the confidence of the international community. While Iran had invited the IAEA to visit its facilities in August, his delegation remained seriously concerned that Iran continued to engage in uranium enrichment activities.
He said the IAEA’s continuing efforts to utilize nuclear technologies to develop solutions for global issues, such as water shortages and a lack of access to cancer therapies in developing countries, were highly appreciated among Member States. In that connection, he welcomed the initiative taken by the IAEA to raise awareness among the wider United Nations audience. To ensure nuclear safety, it was essential to train nuclear experts to underpin such vision. His delegation was convinced that, through the resilience of Japan’s partners in the international community, including the IAEA, it would overcome the challenges stemming from the tragic events in March and find a path towards a safer nuclear future.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said her country was a major producer of iron ore and had fuel fabrication capability to further expand the peaceful uses of nuclear energy within the framework of IAEA safeguards. Kazakhstan collaborated with the Russian Federation for making available its uranium for enrichment at the National Centre in Angarsk, Siberia, for use as nuclear fuel in power reactors, and also worked on the Kurchatov, “ Nuclear Technologies Park”, under IAEA surveillance. Kazakhstan has officially confirmed in writing to the Agency to host an IAEA nuclear fuel bank on two of its sites for countries unable to acquire nuclear fuel supply in the market. As soon as the site was determined, steps would be taken to establish the facility. The National Atomic Energy Company “Kazatomprom” was in the process of creating a vertically-integrated establishment with a complete nuclear fuel cycle with IAEA standards.
The Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, with its treaty signed in Semipalatinsk, was an additional contribution to Kazakhstan’s effort for a world free from nuclear weapons. The country was consistently implementing the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, as well as Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) to strengthen measures to combat illegal trafficking of nuclear and other materials. In view of the growing importance of nuclear energy, Kazakhstan had reached an agreement with the IAEA on technical cooperation for 2010-2015 to develop nuclear energy for nuclear education, medicine and agriculture, research reactor safety, nuclear technology, radioisotope and radiation applications, for collective global human security.
She said that an issue of great importance was that Kazakhstan, though being a key and responsible member of the IAEA, was being denied the opportunity to participate in the work of elective bodies due to the existing rules of procedure. In fully supporting the early entry into force of the amendments to Article VI of the IAEA Statute, Kazakhstan was nevertheless confident that a solution would be found.
ALEXANDER A. PANKIN ( Russian Federation) said that the endeavours of the IAEA needed to grow so that it broadened its efforts to ensure the peaceful use of atomic agency. He recalled its unique verification method, which allowed it to monitor States’ compliance with non-proliferation with regard to the NPT. The Russian Federation had taken steps to become a financial donor in projects to strengthen the safeguards system and it also provided money for scientific and technical projects, especially with regard to developing countries. The extent of nuclear energy development priorities was the formation of new nuclear cooperation architecture. His Government had a priority initiative to develop a global infrastructure for nuclear energy.
He was convinced that the accident in Fukushima could provide lessons. Such accidents must not be repeated and he said a professional assessment of the accident must be conducted. He noted results of the Ministerial Conference of IAEA on nuclear safety and security, the session on Fukushima and the joint declaration that came out of the conference, which echoed the proposals of the President of the Russian Federation, regarding the convention on nuclear security and early warning system on accidents. Regional proliferation challenges were important and it was practical for the multinational system to look for answers. The Russian Federation continued to back political and diplomatic resolution of matters regarding the nuclear programmes of Iran or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. His delegation approved of the draft resolution before the Assembly on the report of the IAEA, and noted the Agency’s work to bolster international security and safety.
ZOYA KOLONTAI (Belarus) said that the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme was instrumental to its efforts aimed at the peaceful and secure use of atomic energy. The cooperation programme with Belarus focussed on the development of a national nuclear energy infrastructure, the use of nuclear medical technology, and restoring areas affected by the Chernobyl accident. In 2008, Belarus decided to undertake a national nuclear energy programme. Planning for an atomic power station, which would soon enter the construction stage, was being conducted in close cooperation with the IAEA. Belarus would strictly observe its international obligations and security norms during the process.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident and the recent earthquake in Japan underlined the need to strengthen the nuclear and radiological safety regime, she said. Nuclear safety was not a theoretical concept for Belarus but a priority supported by national legislation. In cooperation with the Agency, Belarus was realizing an integrated plan for physical nuclear security within the Republic as part of international efforts aimed at nuclear security. Today, trust in nuclear energy had to be re-established. That must be done through a new level of nuclear safety, which could only be achieved through effective coordination of efforts and transparency in cooperation among IAEA member States, other organizations and partners.
By-Election to Appoint One Member of the Joint Inspection Unit
One round of secret ballot voting took place in the advisory vote to select a country from Latin American and Caribbean States to propose a candidate to replace Inspector Enrique Román-Morey of Peru, who had resigned, and to complete his term for the period 1 January 2012 through 31 December 2016.
Latin America and Caribbean States
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Having obtained the required majority, Honduras was selected to propose a candidate for appointment to the Joint Inspection Unit.
Statements on Report of International Criminal Court
LEANDRO VIEIRA SILVA ( Brazil) attached great importance to the development of international law provided by the Rome Statute, which had established the first permanent, treaty-based court to try individuals accused of having committed the most serious crimes. The independence and legitimacy of such an important judicial institution hinged on its ability to bring to justice accused persons, with fairness and full respect for their rights. Brazil believed that the values enshrined in the preamble of the Rome Statute were truly universal in nature. That was why Brazil had always been a supporter of the Court’s universality. He noted the total number of States Parties to the Rome Statute as 119 countries. He hoped more States, large and small, would ratify the Rome Statute.
The period covered by the report showed that the Court currently faced an unprecedented workload. It continued to be seized of the five situations already opened, and recently, Pre-Trial Chamber III authorized yet another investigation. He said that the number of individuals subject to proceedings before the court had increased from 15 to 25 persons. Brazil continued to stress the importance of the cooperation between the Court and the United Nations. He attached particular importance to the efforts aiming to reinforce rule of law activities, such as those that supported the domestic capacity of States to prosecute serious crimes. States had a sovereign responsibility to deliver justice and promote law enforcement. They must be supported in their efforts to reinforce their national institutions.
MACHARIA KAMAU ( Kenya) said that his country was committed to its obligations under the Rome Statute as well as the rule of law and natural justice. Recently, the International Criminal Court had opened a liaison office in Kenya, and the Government had granted the office, as well as its officials, full diplomatic immunities and privileges. Kenya was deeply aware that it had the primary responsibility to exercise criminal jurisdiction over all those responsible for crimes committed in Kenya, including during the post-election violence of 2008. The Government had made commendable progress in investigating and prosecuting those suspected of participating in that violence. Extensive reforms had been undertaken under the new constitution such as appointment of a new Chief Justice and the restructuring of the police force.
Kenya, he stated, considered the Rome Statute an instrument for entrenching the rule of law and fighting impunity, and encouraged States who were not parties to the Statue and particularly those within the Security Council to consider becoming States Parties. Further, he added that there was a perception that the Court was unfairly and selectively targeting some countries, particularly in Africa. There was also the perception that the ownership of the Rome Statute had been usurped. Such perceptions undermined the Court. Impunity at the national level should not be substituted with impunity and high-handedness at the international level by “selective and prejudicial” application of the principles and Articles of the Rome Statute. Therefore, the Court needed to candidly interrogate why some party states continued to be disgruntled and alienated within the International Criminal Court.
FRANK LOY (United States) said that although the United States was not a party to the Rome Statute, it was steadfastly committed to promoting the rule of law and to the principle that those responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law should be held to account. The United States had cast its first vote in favour of a referral to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council earlier this year, reflecting its continued engagement with the Court and States Parties to the Rome Statute to end impunity for the worst crimes. The Obama Administration was also supporting the Court’s prosecution of those cases that advanced United States interests and values, consistent with the requirements of United States law.
By its nature, the Court was intended to examine only those accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for the gravest crimes within its jurisdiction, and depended on States to complement its work with national-level prosecutions, he continued. In that regard, the United States had supported the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to draft legislation establishing specialized mixed courts and would continue to assist efforts to strengthen the capacity and independence of the Congolese judicial system in order to achieve justice for the victims of sexual violence and other grave crimes. Much had been achieved, but reparations and coordinated and effective witness and judicial protection remained key gaps to be filled.
LESTER DELGADO SÁNCHEZ (Cuba) said that the establishment of an International Criminal Court that was impartial, fair, truly independent and not subordinate to political interests was still a goal his country supported. However, given restrictions on its independence, the Court had been “tainted from the beginning” because of the way its relationship with the Security Council was defined, and because the Council was authorized to suspend investigations initiated by the Court itself, despite the Review Conference in Kampala last year.
Cuba had condemned that negative trend, and had stressed that the Security Council violated the rules of international law and treaty law and continued to refer cases to the Court, including those that involved States not party to the Rome Statute. That showed a clear double standard, he said, as did the fact that crimes committed by countries that were permanent members of the Security Council but were not Party to the Rome Statute could not be investigated. Such facts undermined the Court’s legitimacy, “and at this rate, there will soon be talk about reforming the Court and its Statute”. The Court must be independent, he declared.
The responsibility of the Security Council should not be in limiting the role of the Court as a judicial body. For 50 years Cuba had suffered at the hands of its powerful neighbours to the North, facing uncountable loss, and he noted that the Kampala Review Conference on the Rome Statute had been “a lost opportunity” to ensure that treaty covered all forms of aggression. He reconfirmed Cuba’s resolve to have a truly effective international criminal justice system which respected international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
EDUARDO ULIBARRI (Costa Rica) reiterated his support for the Court as an essential component of international law architecture and in the fight against impunity for the gravest crimes. Noting the increased number of accessions to the Rome Statute — 5 States during the period covered by the report — he expressed satisfaction that there were now 119 States Parties to the Court. He appealed to those States that had not yet done so to accede to the Rome Statute.
Expressing concern at the failure of States to execute arrest warrants issued by the Court, he hoped that procedures on non-cooperation would be adopted by the Assembly of States Parties that would encourage States to assume their responsibilities. Further, he was concerned that budgetary constraints might hamper the work of the Court. Its workload had increased, but its budget had been cut in real terms. He hoped the next assembly of States parties would take into account improvements in the Court’s efficiency and that the importance of its work outweighed the costs. Regarding the exercise of powers by the Security Council, he said that cooperation between the Council and the Court had led to tangible achievements, but that referrals by the Council incurred costs which should be borne by the United Nations.
PATRICIO TROYA (Ecuador) said that from the outset, his country had been a supporter of the Court. It backed all efforts towards creating and consolidating the international justice system. He welcomed the new members of the Court, which brought to 119 the number of parties to the Rome Statute. He noted that there were compromises achieved at the Kampala Review Conference regarding complementarity and support for victims and affected communities.
However, he said there was much work needed in several areas, in particular, regarding the independence of the court, and gradually eliminating any political interference from any organs of the United Nations. The principle of non-aggression had been discussed at Kampala, and he hoped those talks would lead to guarantees regarding the sovereignty of States. Universalization of the Rome Statute was an irrefutable objective. In terms of funding, there was no justification allowing protection for witnesses and victims, or the work of prosecutor, to be jeopardized due to funding issues. In conclusion, Ecuador echoed the call to maintain a constructive relationship between the Court and bodies of the Organization.
LOUAY FALOUH (Syria) said the Rome Statute was designed to end impunity for those who committed the crimes listed in it, and it reaffirmed the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. He also said that all States should refrain from force against the political independence of any State. States should also respect territorial integrity. The preamble of the Rome Statute also emphasized the standards regarding interference in internal affairs of any State. The Statute also reaffirmed jurisdiction of the court when national systems could not carry out relevant judicial functions. He said that some countries turned facts “upside down” to level accusations against Syria and misrepresented international law. Their aim was to put such laws and the Court itself in the service of politics to serve interventionist logic to interfere in the internal affairs of other States.
As for the statements heard today, he said Syria would have thought the representative of Australia would have talked about the woman “devoured by sharks” in full view of ships at sea, and he noted their justification for the establishment of “immigrant camps” on the North coast of Australia. He reaffirmed that the Syrian Government was serious in implementing the promised reforms and had already begun to put them into practice. The Syrian authorities were taking upholding their legal responsibilities and would bring to task those who violated judicial norms.
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