The Group of 77 and China thanks the Secretariat for bringing out a comprehensive update on the Nuclear Technology Review as contained in document GOV/2007/3 and DDG Sokolov and DDG Burkart for introducing the item. The Group would also like to thank the Secretariat for the briefing on 26 February 2007. The Group takes this opportunity to commend the Secretariat for the conduct of the Workshop on 'Issues for the introduction of Nuclear Power' in December 2006 and also thanks the Department of Nuclear Energy for their briefing and arrangement for the visit to the Nuclear Power Plant at Temelin in the Czech Republic.
The document provides a broad world-wide perspective on nuclear technologies for both power and non-power applications. It presents an analytical global nuclear power growth scenario (both high and low) with IAEA mid-term projections up to 2030 and International Energy Agency (IEA) projections up to 2050.
The Group notes that with regard to the share of nuclear power in the world's electricity generation during 2006, the final data are likely to show a decrease from the 16% it contributed in 2005. The mid-term projections for low and high scenarios respectively indicate growth at the rate of 1.1% per year and a steady growth at 2.6% per year up to 2030. The International Energy Agency (IEA) TECH plus scenario suggests nuclear power's share of global electricity generation to reach 22% with a steady growth up to 2050 at the same rate as in the IAEA high projection. The Group considers that the Agency should work out appropriate strategies in its future programmes to counter the identified obstacles in order to realize this target of growth.
With regard to Nuclear Power as a viable source of Energy for Sustainable Development and in light of the GC resolution on Nuclear Power, the Group considers that the Agency, with availability of appropriate tools, can play a proactive role at the 15th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-15) in New York in May 2007. Further, along with the international nuclear community, the Secretariat should explore the possibility of including nuclear power among the options for reducing emissions within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The Group notes with satisfaction the growing membership (28) of Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), which represents a cooperative effort of both developed and developing Member States under the aegis of the Agency and supports all its Phase-2 activities. The Group also encourages all complementary efforts between INPRO and the Generation (IV) International Forum (GIF) initiative.
The Group, while recognizing that substantial Uranium resources are likely to be available, is concerned with the significant increase in its prices. Under these circumstances, the Group believes that the Agency should make all efforts, inter alia, through Coordinated Research Projects or regional TC programmes, to address issues related to mine development, improving fuel behavior during longer dwelling times for increasing average burn up and the associated material requirements while bearing the cost/benefit factor in mind.
With regard to the management of waste from spent fuel, the Group notes with satisfaction that there is a high level of confidence in both wet and dry storage technologies and their ability to cope with rising volumes pending implementation of final repositories for all high level waste.
The Group notes with satisfaction the world-wide developments on Small and Medium-sized reactors both in the context of power and non-power applications. The Group supports all Agency activities envisaged under this area and believes that the Agency should facilitate, to the extent possible, technical, legal, regulatory and financial assistance to developing countries in particular, with small electricity grids, planning to introduce nuclear power as a part of their energy mix.
The Group also notes with interest all developments under the International Thermo-Nuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project and requests that it be kept informed periodically of the progress made thereunder. It also notes the world-wide activities under Advanced Fusion and Fission section and looks forward to the evaluation of several types of reactors which will project nuclear power as inherently safe, environmentally benign and economically viable source of energy for sustainable development.
The Group appreciates all the Agency's efforts aimed at promoting Nuclear Knowledge Management, and urges the provision of greater assistance to Member States, particularly to developing ones, towards ensuring preservation of nuclear knowledge, and meeting their education and training needs. In particular, the Group acknowledges the Agency's International Nuclear Information System (INIS) which is playing an important role as a knowledge management tool for a wide dissemination of vital information necessary to ensure the safe utilization of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.
On the issue of assurances of fuel supply, the Group considers this issue as a complex endeavor that would likely require a phased approach while addressing in-depth, the associated technical, legal and financial aspects. In this context, the Group is of the view that it is premature for this issue to be considered by the Board before the various aspects and concerns have been adequately addressed.
The Group reiterates that the primary objective of the Nuclear Technology Review is to highlight the notable developments in nuclear technology during the year. It should remain a technical document and any reference to non-proliferation is, in the Group's view, out of context. The Group is of the view that undue concerns about proliferation should not hamper the development of nuclear science and technology for the socio-economic uplift of the developing nations.
The Group notes with interest the progress in radiation technology and the new applications and recalls that one of the three major international meetings namely the International Meeting on Radiation Processing (IMRP 2006) was held in Malaysia from 26 February to 3 March 2006. The Group would like to highlight the increasing use of radiation processing for the property enhancement or for the production of novel polymeric materials in industrial applications, as well as in healthcare and biotechnology, particularly in regenerative medicine or tissue engineering. In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate its call to the Agency to continue providing technical support through the Technical Cooperation programme, to developing member states in improving their radiation processing capability and capacity.
With regard to accelerators and research reactors, the Group notes that specialised accelerators, novel techniques and improved instrumentation are continuously being developed to meet increasing demands in materials and biomedical research. The Group recognizes the importance of research reactors for the production of radioisotopes and other neutron beam applications, and notes the increasing use of low energy cyclotron-produced fluorine-18 as fluorodeoxy glucose (FDG) for positron emission tomography (PET) applications in the diagnosing and treatment of various cancers. In this regard, the Group calls for the continuing support of the Agency in providing equipment, technical expertise and capacity building opportunities in these fields to developing Member States.
The Group notes the world-wide developments under Research Reactors and the focus on applications related to radioisotope production, neutron beam applications and material irradiation for nuclear energy systems besides teaching and training for human resources development. The Group encourages increased regional collaboration and networking, more effective management, utilization and sharing of resources and expertise which are evolving for research reactor applications in the above areas.
In view of the growth in nuclear medicine and radionuclide therapy and the technically demanding requirements for radiological and pharmaceutical safety, the Group encourages the Agency in its efforts to assist member states in meeting stringent quality assurance standards in radiopharmaceutical production. In this regard, the Group appreciates the efforts of the Agency in conducting the regional meeting on the Future Direction and Work Planning for Implementation of Good Radiopharmacy Practices and on 23 - 27 April 2007, in Shanghai, China.
The Group also notes with interest the growing request for the use of nuclear databases in supporting nuclear applications in research, energy and in the production of therapeutic radionuclides in nuclear medicine and thanks those member states that have assisted in the Agency's efforts to compile such databases.
In the field of agriculture and nutrition, the Group is encouraged by the growing progress achieved in the use of isotopic techniques and in the mutation induction techniques for plant breeding. In this regard, the G77 and China underlines the need for the Agency to continue its efforts aimed at improving and enhancing the methodology for genome sequencing, creating possibilities for increasing the number of crop varieties that are tolerant to harsh conditions. Livestock productivity and health are being improved through the use of stable isotopes. The Group encourages the IAEA in its work and in assisting member states in projects related to animal nutrient uptake and as a consequence, to the optimization of feeding regimes.
In view of the expanding use of Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for the control of major agricultural pests, including fruitflies and screwworm flies, the Group reiterates its view that the Agency should continue its research and assistance to Member States in the use of this environment-friendly technique to improve their agricultural products, animal production and productivity. In this regard, the Group encourages the Agency to enlarge the scope of SIT to combat other pest insects such as malaria transmitting mosquitoes. In the same context, the Group would like to see the IAEA consider the use of other nuclear techniques, inter alia, stable isotope techniques, to help in the fight against locusts. Bearing in mind the importance of the application of SIT for insect pest control in developing countries, the Group encourages the Secretariat to address the problems that it is facing and supports its work in this field. The Group also requests the Secretariat to keep Member States updated in this regard.
In sub-section G of the report, on human health, the Group notes the combined modalities for providing structural and molecular information in nuclear cardiology using the PET-CT will continue to grow in the management of cardiovascular disease worldwide. The Group also notes the new imaging techniques and their positive impact on diagnoses and early disease assessment as well as for their use in radiotherapy in determining accurate dose delivery to affected organs and reducing the doses received by adjacent healthy tissues.
In this context, the Group wishes to reiterate the continuing importance of the Programme of Action on Cancer Therapy (PACT) as a fund-raising activity, equipment delivery vehicle and programme for assisting in the development of national cancer strategies of developing states through imPACT missions, as well as in establishing networks of cancer training centres. The Group wishes to take this opportunity to thank Member States for their financial and other contributions and pledges to PACT. The Group calls on Member States to help provide for the financial needs of the PACT programme Office to enable it to fulfil its mandate from the Board of Governors and in accordance with Board decisions and General Conference resolutions.
The Group would like to encourage the Agency to continue assisting developing Member States in human nutrition programmes focusing on preventing and treating malnutrition such as through the use of stable isotopes for the assessment of body composition and for measuring human milk intake in infants.
The Group of 77 and China notes with interest the efforts undertaken worldwide in understanding the water cycle and climate in order to help in setting up sustainable water resource management and preservation. In this regard, the Group reiterates the need for assistance and expertise for detection of groundwater and its management as well as in the field of desalination in order to respond to the expanding global demand for fresh water, notably in developing countries facing huge shortages. In this connection, the Group encourages the IAEA to continue providing assistance, expertise, training and related equipment to Member States.
On environmental issues, the Group is aware of the crucial role played by radiotracers as cost effective tools for analysing the elemental composition of air particulate matter with a view to addressing air pollution and climate change. The Group also encourages the Agency to continue its work in the monitoring of the marine environment and marine food chains for radionuclide and toxic metal contamination to ensure the safety and quality of seafood.
The Group wishes to highlight the positive scientific role that the Agency can play to address the negative global effects of climate change, as indicated in Part H.1 of the report and in the additional information accompanying GOV/2007/3- Nuclear Technology Review. In view of the alarming effect of the acidification of the oceans and the related drop of carbonate ion concentration on corals in particular, and marine life, in general, the Group wishes to encourage the Agency to further enable developing countries to develop the use of radioactive and stable isotopes and new nuclear techniques to address the challenges posed by climate change.
In this regard, the Group also requests the Secretariat to include, in the next Nuclear Technology Review, a section regarding the future role of the Agency with regard to measuring the effects of climate change and its impact on sustainable development, and the possible synergies of the Agency on this issue with the respective scientific establishments of developing countries. With these comments, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the document GOV/2007/3 and the recommended action. Thank you, Mr Chairman.