Statement of the G-77 and China during the IAEA Board of Governors
Meeting 1- 5 March 2010 delivered by Ambassador Taous Feroukhi, Permanent Representative of Algeria
Agenda item: Adoption of the Agenda of the Board
The G.77 and China wishes to join the consensus on the request by the Russian Federation regarding the deletion of Agenda item 2(b) contained in the draft agenda of this session of the Board of Governors.
The Group would like to acknowledge the implications of such a request which is a change in the normal practice. However, this compromise allows for the flexibility needed when similar cases occur in future.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.
At the outset, I would like to express on behalf of the G.77 and China its sincere condolences to the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. I seize this painful occasion to assure the people and Governments of Haiti and Chile of the compassion and solidarity of the G.77 and China in these difficult circumstances.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the G.77 and China on agenda items 2 (a): Nuclear Safety Review for the year 2009 and 2 (c): Draft Safety Requirements.
Agenda Item 2: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management
(a) Nuclear Safety Review for the year 2009
The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Director General for his comprehensive introductory statement and for issuing the Nuclear Safety Review for 2009, as contained in document GOV/2010/4. The Group also thanks DDG Taniguchi for his presentation of this agenda item and for the technical briefing on 12 February 2010.
The Group takes note of the Secretariat's efforts to support nuclear safety worldwide. As stated on several occasions, the Group attaches great importance to the issue of nuclear safety, which constitutes one of the elements of any nuclear programme and believes that the Agency plays a key role in this field, as provided for in Article III of the Statute. The Group therefore notes with satisfaction that the safety performance of the nuclear industry in recent years has remained at a high level and that international cooperation in 2009 continued to result in improvements.
The Group concurs with the view that as the uses and the introduction of nuclear technologies expand, vigilance and concrete actions to enhance nuclear safety must continue. The Group, however, recalls that the primary responsibility for the safety and security of nuclear and other radioactive materials rests entirely with the State. The Group also reiterates its position that nuclear safety and security considerations should not be used to hamper the development and utilization of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.
An adequate nuclear safety infrastructure is essential for any nuclear power programme, and, as called for in the related GC Resolutions, the assistance the Agency provides in this regard is of utmost importance, especially for developing countries. While noting other international initiatives in the area of nuclear safety infrastructure, the Group would like to stress the central role the Agency plays in this field, owing to its mandatory functions, broader membership and long-standing experience.
The Group notes the global renewed interest in the nuclear power especially in the developing countries. Such prospects call for the need to enhance international cooperation and assistance for the new entrants in order for them to develop adequately qualified and trained human resources in the nuclear field. In this regard, the Group reiterates its support for the Agency's activities related to developing strategies for sustainable education and training in nuclear safety. The Group looks forward to the completion of the Safety Assessment Education and Training (SAET) Programme for the standardization and harmonization of education and training based on Agency's safety standards.
In regard to the changing technology, the Group concurs with the view that vendors of new technologies have a responsibility to ensure that users have access to all information and resources necessary for safe operation, and that both, countries using those technologies and vendor countries need to collaborate so that nuclear safety knowledge is transferred effectively. The Group calls upon the Agency to play a facilitatory role in this regard.
The Group notes that the Agency has consolidated its safety standards and guidance for countries exploring the option of nuclear power and produced a draft safety guide, DS424, "Establishing a Safety Infrastructure for a National Nuclear Power Programme", to serve as a 'road map' to apply the entire set of the Agency's safety principles and requirements. While welcoming publication of such useful guidance document, the Group would like to stress that these documents should not be used as a reference for deciding on TC projects.
The Group notes various services the Agency offers to Member States, upon request, for assessment of safety of nuclear installation, research reactors, regulation, fuel cycle facilities, design, decommissioning and for the assessment of development of infrastructure. The Group also commends the Secretariat for providing member states the platform to share safety experience through Incident Reporting System (IRS). The Group notes with appreciation the recent integration of the Incident Reporting System of Research Reactors (IRSRR) in the common platform of IRS, Fuel Incident Notification and Analysis System (FINAS) for wider dissemination.
The Group also appreciates the Agency's effort towards establishing networks at regional and global level to support capacity building in the area of assessment of safety and security. In this context, the Group notes the development of Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN).
The Group concurs with the view that continued attention and priority must be given to the safety status of nuclear power plants currently in operation. Many of these plants have been in operation for several decades and are facing ageing phenomena such as material degradation and obsolescence. In this regard, the Group welcomes the Agency's recently published Safety Guide entitled Ageing Management for Nuclear Power Plants.
The Group takes note with satisfaction that research reactors around the world continued to be operated safely in 2009.
The Group commends the Secretariat for its various efforts in bringing together representatives from different Member States to share their experience in the area of nuclear safety and identifying those areas in which Member States need assistance.
The Group notes that a large number of nuclear facilities will undergo decommissioning in the next 40-60 years. In this context, the Group appreciates the work of the Agency in providing the Member States through the International Decommissioning Network in the sharing of practical decommissioning knowledge.
The Group notes with satisfaction that the occupational radiation exposure in the nuclear facilities is being managed very well. The Group commends the Secretariat for its various programmes which have contributed towards this improvement. The Group encourages the Secretariat to put more concerted efforts to address the issues related to protection of occupational workers in industrial radiography and medical uses where more than half of the radiation exposures now take place.
The Group notes that the while access to medical technology using ionizing radiation is gradually increasing in developing countries, it is still far from reaching the optimal level. The Group notes with appreciation the activities of the Agency with regard to assistance in the optimization of medical exposures to patients, and encourages the Agency undertake more efforts in making the state of the art technology available to the developing countries.
The Group notes that an increasing number of countries recognize the importance of the non-legally-binding Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. The Group would like to highlight that while the Agency is mandated to establish nuclear safety standards, the Agency's role with regard to nuclear security is to provide advice, upon request, and information to Member States, inter alia, through the publication of nuclear security guidelines. The Group takes note of the assistance provided by the Agency to developing Member States in this regard.
The Group notes that a designated concept for the control of Disused Sealed Sources (DSRSs) and aimed at providing Member States lacking an adequate disposal system has been developed within the Agency. The Group also commends the assistance provided by the Secretariat to developing countries in this area.
On the denials of shipment of radioactive sources, the Group welcomes the continuing efforts of the Steering Committee to guide international activities to promote awareness among decision-makers and relevant parties, towards addressing this critical issue. However, the group expresses its concern that despite the international efforts, the denials and delays continue to occur in all parts of the world. In this regard, the Group notes that the database overseen by the steering committee has registered more than 200 incidents of denials by the end of 2009. The Group also notes that the action plan of the steering committee which is focused on communication and training is nearing completion. The Group requests the Secretariat to make an assessment of the degree of impact these actions have achieved. The Group believes that having recognized the effective communication with the transport personnel and authorities of Member States to be an essential tool to combat this issue, more concerted effort should be applied to address this problem.
Turning to the safety of radioactive waste management and disposal, the Group shares the view that confidence in the safety of radioactive waste management and disposal arrangements are among the important factors contributing to the public acceptance of nuclear energy.
With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Safety Review for 2009, as contained in document GOV/2010/4.
(c) Draft Safety Requirements:
On the Draft Safety Requirements for Governmental, Legal and Regulatory Framework for Safety: Revision of Safety Standards Series No. GS-R-1, as contained in document GOV/2010/2, the Group notes that the draft was approved by the Nuclear Safety Standards Committee, the Radiation Safety Standards Committee, the Transport Safety Standards Committee and the Waste Safety Standards Committee in June 2009, and was endorsed by the Commission on Safety Standards in October 2009. Accordingly the Group concurs with the action recommended for the Board. In doing so, the Group wishes to recall the non binding character of these documents.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Agenda Item 3: Nuclear Technology Review - 2010
The Group would like to express its sincere appreciation to the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Technology Review - 2010 contained in document (GOV/2010/5).
The Group also thanks both Mr. Sokolov and Mr. Burkhart for introducing this agenda item and for the technical briefing arranged on 12 February 2010 to present the contents of the report.
The Group notes that a total of 55 reactors were under construction at the end of the year 2009, the largest number since 1992.
The Group wishes to highlight that the existing power plants, including those in developing countries, have thus far established a remarkable operational safety and security record, indicating the significant contribution nuclear energy can have in the future energy mix, especially in developing countries where the need for industrialization and growth will continue to increase considerably.
The Group is pleased to note that the interest in starting new nuclear power programmes also remains high. Over 60 Member States have expressed to the Agency interest in considering the introduction of nuclear power. The Group notes with satisfaction that the number of Agency technical cooperation projects on the introduction of nuclear power tripled in 2009. The Group stresses that for the Agency's TC activities to be effective and successful they have to actively respond to the needs and priorities of the recipient Member States.
The Group notes the publication of a brochure on a new Agency service, INIR Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Missions: Guidance on Preparing and Conducting INIR Missions. INIR missions are Agency-coordinated peer reviews conducted by teams of international experts on the basis of an Evaluation of the Status of National Nuclear Infrastructure Development, published by the Agency in late 2008. The Group also notes that INIR missions were conducted in Jordan, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Group highly commends the Secretariat for its efforts in assisting interested Member States to analyze energy options and to prepare for the introduction of nuclear power or uranium production. The Group notes that the Secretariat has provided some guidance documents during the past three years on important topics relating to the launching of nuclear power programmes. In this context, the Group reiterates that while these documents may provide useful guidelines, they should not be considered as the only reference for Member States embarking on a nuclear power programme. The Group reiterates its view that these documents are not binding and should not be used to restrict technical cooperation activities or interfere in the technical work of the Secretariat.
Furthermore, it should be emphasized that the nuclear policies of any Member State evolve to suit its social, legal and economic specificities. Hence, it should be left upon each member state to pursue the approach it deems best suited to its nuclear policies.
Turning to the area of fuel cycle, in order to support the sharing of educational resources and the promotion of technical educational opportunities and identify some common challenges, the Group urges the Secretariat to study the feasibility of initiating an IAEA resource library of references, programmes, tools and pooled resources. In this area also, the Group stresses the necessity of maintaining the role of the Agency as the leading vehicle promoting the transfer and development of technology and knowledge related to all peaceful nuclear applications including nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle.
Given the crucial importance it attaches to the issue of human resource development, the Group finds the efforts of the Agency to be crucial in identifying the required policies on the national and international levels for human resource development and availability in the field of nuclear science and technology. The Group looks forward to the International Conference on Human Resource Development for Introducing and Expanding Nuclear Power Programmes, in March 2010 in Abu Dhabi.
The Group values the Agency's International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) which provides a forum in which technology holders and users jointly consider innovative nuclear energy systems. The Group appreciates INPRO's publications on IAEA Tools and Methodologies for Energy System Planning and Nuclear Energy System Assessments and Common User Considerations by Developing Countries for Future Nuclear Energy Systems. The Group takes great interest in the work of various technical working groups under the auspices of the Agency in the development of nuclear technology and dissemination of knowledge in the Member States, inter alia, through Coordinated Research Projects. The Group will request the Secretariat to also reflect their activities in the Nuclear Technology Review 2010. The Group looks forward to the 2010 update of the International Status and Prospects of Nuclear Power.
The Group notes that with the growing interest in nuclear energy, more than 20 Member States exploring the possibility of building new research reactors have approached the Agency. The Group further notes that the accelerators and research reactors continue to play an important role in building strong basic capabilities in nuclear field and in supporting related education and training in Member States. In this context, the Groups appreciates the work of the Secretariat and encourages it to continue to provide such support, especially by making use of capacity already built in many countries with Agency assistance.
The Group notes with satisfaction that through their formal Cooperation Agreement, the Agency and the ITER Organization began planning international cooperation on training, personnel exchanges, conferences, and publications on fusion components and installations.
The Group attaches great importance to the role of nuclear and related technologies in food security, human health including disease prevention and control, environmental protection, water resource management as well as the use of radioisotopes and radiation. These are all areas where nuclear and isotopic techniques are beneficial in supporting socio-economic development in many countries throughout the world.
As reported in the Nuclear Technology Review 2010, the Group particularly notes with satisfaction the Agency's ongoing work in improving livestock productivity and health, insect pest control, food quality and safety, crop improvement, sustainable land and water management, human health, environment, water resources, radioisotope production and radiation technology. The Group fully supports the Agency's important work in these areas and encourages the Secretariat to continue to assist requesting member states in these fields.
The Group welcomes the joint publication of the Agency and the FAO entitled Manual for the Use of Stable Isotopes in Entomology, which introduces the basic principles and techniques of stable isotope science and reviews the use of stable isotopes in entomological research.
The Group appreciates the holding of the Agency's International Conference on Advances in Radiation Oncology (ICARO) in April 2009 where several new technological developments in the field of radiation oncology were highlighted.
In this context, the Group urges the Agency to continue its efforts to support developing member states in combating cancer through sustainable cancer therapy programmes by carrying out more integrated missions of PACT (impact) and fostering more regional PACT programmes. The Agency is also encouraged to improve PACT implementation and resource mobilization for this programme as one of its priorities. The Group looks forward to the Scientific Forum of the forthcoming General Conference devoted to Cancer in developing countries, as announced by the Director General in his opening statement.
The Group notes that isotope techniques for the assessment of water resources are becoming more accessible due to the expanded use of recently developed laser spectroscopy analyzers for measuring water isotopes. The Group recognizes the essential role played by the IAEA in assessing the performance of the technology and in assisting Member States with procuring the analyzers as well as by providing training to technicians.
As isotope hydrology helps to improve the assessment of water resources, it also has a role in energy planning. The Group notes with appreciation the Agency's collaboration on an initiative related to climate, land, energy and water (CLEW) planning.
The Group remains concerned on the severe shortages in the supplies of fission-produced molybdenum-99 and of technetium-99m generators that continue to affect medical diagnostic applications in patients in most parts of the world. The Group notes that the current crisis in the supplies of molybdenum-99 isotope affecting diagnostic imaging has revived interest in domestic and regional production efforts making use of existing reactors with suitable features and operational cycles for augmenting supplies. The Group believes that the Agency support through effective coordination and provision of forum for stakeholders' interactions will benefit this approach and securing supplies. The Group requests the Secretariat to redouble its efforts to ensure the availability of radioisotope supplies, including through the enhancement of the utilization of reactors in developing countries for isotope production.
With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Technology Review for 2010.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Agenda Item 4: Future of the Agency (Joint Statement of the G77 and China and NAM
The Group wishes to recall that on 28 November 2008 the Chairperson of the Board
of Governors, Ambassador Taous Feroukhi of Algeria, informed the Board of her
intention to launch an informal and open ended process that would give Member
States the opportunity to hold substantive discussions on the future of the Agency.
In this connection, the Group expresses its highest appreciation for the outstanding and dedicated efforts of both Ambassador Kauppi of Finland and Ambassador Guerreiro of Brazil in chairing this informal process.
The Group thanks the Secretariat for the support provided during the process.
The Group would like to commend the chairpersons for the balanced and professional manner in which their report has been compiled. The Group also appreciates the consultations undertaken by Ambassador Guerreiro in finalizing the report. The Group takes note that the report is the exclusive responsibility of the Chairpersons, and reflects their personal views on the discussions held during the sessions of the Process.
The chairpersons have succinctly captured the broad discussions held during the various meetings. The Group is particularly pleased with the attention given to Technical Cooperation - the core statutory objective of the Agency - and its financing. The Group believes that the balanced approach taken by the chairpersons underscores the primary role of the Agency in accelerating and enlarging the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.
With these remarks, the Group takes note of the report of the chairpersons as contained in document GOV/2010/17.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Agenda Item 7: Any other Business: Assurance of Supply(Statement by the G77)
On the issue of assurance of supply, the Group would like to reiterate the views and concerns expressed in its statement during the June 2009, and November 2009 sessions of the Board on this matter, which, inter alia, stated that there is a need for caution while addressing thoroughly the associated technical, legal and economic aspects, as well as the underlying political dimensions of this issue, so that any proposal that eventually emerges in this regard is in full accordance with the Statute and takes into account the respective legal obligations of Member States, and the principle of non-discrimination.
The Group reiterates that any further consideration of the issue of nuclear fuel supply assurances must be based on a coherent and comprehensive conceptual framework that adequately addresses the views and concerns of all Member States.
The Group is convinced that consideration of individual proposals on this matter must be preceded by consensual agreement on the conceptual framework that outlines the specific political, technical, economic and legal parameters. If the Agency is to establish a mechanism for assurance of nuclear fuel supply, it must first agree on common principles and objectives which would then apply automatically to all the different proposals. In this regard, the Group proposes the formation of an open-ended working group where the concept can be thrashed out in a structured manner before considering any individual proposals in the Board.
The Group recommends once more that, subject to the provisions of the Statute, any decision on such proposals be taken by consensus in the General Conference, to take into account the views and concerns of all Member States.
Considering that there has been no development in addressing the concerns of the Group on this matter, the Group is of the view that it is still premature to consider individual proposals at this stage.
It is regrettable that detailed and comprehensive discussions on all aspects pertaining to this issue did not take place before the non-consensual decision taken at the November 2009 Board meeting to authorize the Director General to conclude an agreement to establish a reserve of LEU. We hope that such a situation can be avoided in future.
In view of the above comments, the Group believes that further transparent and inclusive deliberations are required to formulate an acceptable framework for assurances of nuclear fuel supply.