Statement of the G-77 and China during the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting 7-10 March 2011 delivered by Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Permanent Representative of the IR of Iran

Agenda item 2: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety: Nuclear Safety Review for the year 2010

Mr. Chairman,

The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Director General for his introductory statement and for issuing the Nuclear Safety Review for 2010, as contained in document GOV/2011/4. The Group also thanks DDG Denis Flory for his presentation of this agenda item and for the technical briefing delivered on 3rd March 2011.

The Group notes once more with satisfaction that the safety performance maintained by the international nuclear community remained at a high level in 2010. It also observes that, as more member States explore or expand their interests in nuclear energy, the Agency should intensify its programs to assist member States in meeting their growing challenges for establishing appropriate safety infrastructure, supervision and management over nuclear installations, and for the use of ionizing radiation.

We recall again that the primary responsibility for the safety and security of nuclear and other radioactive materials rests entirely with each State. The Group also reiterates that nuclear safety and security considerations should not be used to hamper the development and utilization of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

At the same time, while noting other international initiatives in the area of nuclear safety infrastructure, as shown in document 2011/Note 2, the Group stresses that the Agency must retain a central role in this field, owing to its mandatory functions, broader membership and long-standing experience, and as established in Article III of the Statute and called for in the relevant General Conference Resolutions.

We underline the utmost importance for developing countries of the effective action of the IAEA in this field, with particular attention to the areas of knowledge sharing, exchange of information, nuclear knowledge management and capacity building, as well as in the establishment of safety standards.

Indeed, the Group reiterates its conviction that vendors of nuclear technologies have a responsibility to ensure that users have access to all information and resources necessary for safe operation. The Group calls upon the Agency to maintain its facilitating role in this regard.

More broadly, the Group considers essential the role of the Agency to improve the exchange of information in order to enhance the awareness of experts from developing countries on relevant evolutions of standards, technology and good practices in the field of nuclear safety. In this regard, the Group commends the establishment in 2010 of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF) and expects that it will be helpful for the member States, in particular those considering the expansion or initiation of nuclear power programmes, to improve their exchange of regulatory knowledge and experience.

The Group notes that while the results and reviews of events as reported by Member States in the International Reporting System for Operating Experience (IRS) during 2010 indicated strong nuclear safety performance, many member states were not sharing significant events. The Group encourages Member States to use the system more, so that the benefit from operational experience feedback can be available to all the interested Member States. The Group supports various other peer review services the Agency offers, 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.

At the same time, in light of the renewed interest in nuclear energy, the Group stresses the importance a systematic and integrated approach from the Agency to improve the individual, organizational and regulatory competences and capabilities of States in the field of nuclear safety, particularly in developing countries. In that context, we take note with interest of the Strategic Approach to Education and Training in Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety 2011-2020; the establishment of regional training centres for radiation safety; the continuation of Education and Training Appraisal (EduTA) missions; the new Agency central web page for training; and the activities of the Safety Assessment Education and Training (SAET) Programme for the standardization and harmonization of education and training based on Agency's safety standards. 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, to promote information and knowledge sharing and collaboration platforms, in particular through the development of the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN).

Mr. Chairman,

The Group notes that an increasing number of countries recognize explicitly 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. We appreciate the completion in 2010 of the first version of the document on Strategies and Processes for the Establishment of the IAEA Safety Standards (SPESS), which we expect will contribute to the integration, rationalization and user-friendliness of all areas of the Safety Standards Series. We also emphasize the need to maintain a rigorous and efficient process for the establishment and revision of standards, which should increasingly involve the participation of experts from developing countries. The Group also takes note of the Governmental, Legal and Regulatory Framework for Safety issued in 2010 for the long-term management of radioactive sources. The Self-Assessment Methodology and Self-Assessment Tool, released by the Agency in 2010, will be very useful for conducting national safety regulatory infrastructure assessments.

While welcoming the publication of these guidance documents, the Group would like to stress that they should not be used as a condition or pre-requisite for deciding on technical cooperation projects.

The Group also notes various international efforts for standardization and harmonization of requirements and processes associated with nuclear industry. In this context, the Group notes with appreciation that the Agency's Generic Reactor Safety Review (GRSR) service, which provides an early harmonized appraisal of safety of NPP, has completed six reviews of new reactor design since its establishment in 2007 and that two other reviews are currently underway. The Group would like to encourage the Secretariat so that the reports of these reviews are made available to Member States.

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, particularly through the promotion of training and capacity building. 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. In this regard, we also look forward to the future establishment of Regional ALARA networks in all parts of the world.

With respect to incident and emergency preparedness and response, we welcome the continuation of training courses and workshops to improve national capabilities and note the action taken by the Incident and Emergency Center (IEC) to assist governments, including through assistance missions, upon national request.

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 line with the action plan of the Steering Committee, the Group believes that the effective communication with the transport personnel and authorities of member States continues to be an essential tool and, therefore, more concerted effort should be applied to address this issue.

With regard to the safety of radioactive waste management, the Group shares the view that confidence in the safety of radioactive waste management and disposal arrangements is a crucial factor contributing to the public acceptance of nuclear energy in general.

With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Safety Review for 2010, as contained in document GOV/2011/4.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Agenda Item 3: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications: Nuclear Technology Review - 2011

Mr. Chairman,

The G77 and China would like to express its appreciation to the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Technology Review 2011, contained in document (GOV/2011/3).

The Group also wishes to thank Mr. A. Bychkov and Mr. D. Mohamad for introducing this agenda item and for the technical briefing arranged on 3rd March to present the contents of the report.

Mr. Chairman,

The Review provides a comprehensive update on the progress achieved in 2010 in the areas of power applications and nuclear technologies. For the Group, this progress highlights once again the need to increase the transfer of nuclear technology and the sharing of nuclear knowledge to developing countries, to enhance their capabilities and thereby contribute to maximize the benefit of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The Group notes that over 60 member States have expressed to the Agency interest in considering the introduction of nuclear power and that, in 2010, construction has started in 15 new power reactors, the largest number since 1985, raising the total number of reactors under current construction to 66, a record since 1990. We note that this evolution is centered in Asia and that other regions of the developing world show a modest projected increase in nuclear generating capacity.

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 also 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 encourage the Secretariat to include Agency's activities in these areas in the revised report.

These trends underline the importance of the Agency's role in assisting interested member States to analyze energy options and to prepare for the introduction of nuclear power or uranium production. The Agency must maintain its role as the leading vehicle for promoting the transfer and development of technology and knowledge related to all peaceful nuclear applications, including nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle.

In this respect, the Group values the efforts of the Secretariat to promote the required policies on the national and international levels for human resource development, as well as the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions carried out in developing countries. We also appreciate the guidance documents prepared by the Agency for the launching of nuclear power programmes, though we reiterate that these documents are not binding and that each Member State is to decide the approach it deems best suited to its nuclear policies, which evolve according to its social, legal and economic specificities.

With regard to the area of nuclear fusion, we observe with interest that the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has officially moved from the design to the construction phase. The Group reiterates its expectation that, through their formal Cooperation Agreement, the Agency and the ITER Organization can effectively promote training, personnel exchanges, conferences, and publications on fusion components and installations, particularly for the benefit of developing countries.

The Group also notes that, with the growing interest in nuclear energy, more than 20 Member States continue to explore the possibility of building new research reactors and are therefore seeking the assistance of the Agency. As the number of operational research reactors is expected to drop, as older installations retire, more technical assistance will be required from the Secretariat and through the regional cooperative networks to increase research reactor operation and utilization. The Group emphasises 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.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group attaches great importance to the work carried out by the Agency in 2010, as reported in the Review, 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 reaffirms that this work is a central role of the Agency and encourages the Secretariat to continue assisting requesting member States in these areas, where nuclear and isotopic techniques are beneficial in supporting socio-economic development.

The Group wishes to highlight techniques for early animal disease diagnosis, which can contribute to improve food security in many developing countries. We also observe the increasing demand for nuclear techniques for insect pest control and take note with interest that, beside the sterile insect technique (SIT), the Review reports a growing potential for innovative radiation applications in this field through implementation of biological control using predators and parasitoids as complements to the SIT to manage insect pests in an environment-friendly way, as concluded by the FAO/IAEA coordinated project (CRP) culminated in 2010.

The Group also considers very relevant for the improvement of food security in developing countries, in a context of climate change, the work carried out by the Agency in the area of genetic improvement of crops through nuclear techniques for mutation induction. We are convinced that more international cooperation, including south/south initiatives, is required for the exchange of successful experiences between developing countries in this area.

In the field of human health, with respect to nutrition, we note with interest that the Review indicates an increasing use in developing countries of new stable isotope techniques for the evaluation of public health nutrition interventions. We request the Secretariat to continue supporting capacity building activities in these innovative applications, in all regions of the world.

The Group also takes note of the reported advances in radiation technology applications, particularly the three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy and the respiratory-gated radiotherapy, as well as the new scanning techniques for cardiology. We request the Agency to carry out activities to increase the knowledge and access of health institutions in developing countries to these important emerging applications.

In the field of cancer therapy, the Group urges the Agency to continue its efforts to support developing member States in combating cancer through sustainable programmes, including 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.

The Group notes that the need for isotope techniques for the assessment and management of water resources is expected to grow substantially in the coming years. Therefore, the Group emphasizes the essential role of the IAEA in supporting the procurement by developing countries of laser spectroscopy analyzers for measuring water isotopes as well as in assisting them in the training of local technicians.

The Group takes note of the shortages verified until the third quarter 2010 in the supplies of fission-produced molybdenum-99 and of technetium-99m generators, which affected medical diagnostic applications in patients in most parts of the world. We request the Secretariat to redouble its efforts to ensure the availability of radioisotope supplies, including through the enhancement of the utilization of existing reactors in developing countries with suitable features and operational cycles for augmenting isotope production. On the other hand, we also concur in the importance of developing alternative technologies which do not use high enriched uranium and make use of accelerator based approaches. The Group believes that the Agency's support through effective coordination and the provision of a forum for stakeholders' interactions will contribute to securing supplies in the future.

With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Technology Review for 2011.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Agenda item 6: Assurance of Nuclear Fuel Supply

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 on agenda item 6, assurance of nuclear fuel supply. The Non Aligned Movement associates itself with this statement.

The Group of 77 would like to reiterate its views and concerns expressed in its statements during the previous sessions of the Board in 2009 and 2010 on this matter which, inter alia, stated that there is a need to address thoroughly the associated technical, legal and economic aspects, as well as the underlying political dimensions of this issue, so that any proposal that 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 multi-faceted aspects of "assurance of supply" and its various dimensions require a meticulous discussion in an open-ended format. These aspects, whose merit remain to be fully assessed, have a direct impact on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and should be subject to an in-depth consideration by the totality of the IAEA membership with a view to arriving at a consensus by its Policy Making Organs.

The G77 reiterates that concerns related to nuclear proliferation must not in any way restrict the inalienable right of all States to develop all aspects of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes as clearly stipulated in the Statute, in particular the right to pursue national nuclear fuel capabilities, including enrichment.

The G77 reiterates that any further consideration of the issue of "assurance of supply" must be based on an agreement among the Agency's membership on a coherent and comprehensive conceptual framework outlining the specific political, technical, economic and legal parameters that adequately addresses the views and concerns of all Member States, and apply to all the different proposals. This will help avoid any confrontation that would divide the membership of the Agency and the Board and hamper the credibility of the IAEA and its policy-making bodies.

Considering there are still many questions raised by the Group that have not yet received any satisfactory response, any proposal tabled at the Board on the "assurance of supply" should only be considered after extensive efforts have been made towards reaching a consensus.

While any Member State has the right to make any proposal or table any resolution, it should avoid polarizing or politicizing this international technical body. Any proposal on "assurance of supply" should be based on objective eligibility criteria and should be in accordance with the Statute, taking into account the principle of non-discrimination and the respective legal obligations of Member States.

Any decision of the Board which will have an impact on all Member States should take into consideration the interest of those States, should not merely be a donor-driven decision and should not create circumstances of external influence on the work of the Agency which would jeopardize its independence, credibility and integrity.

With regard to the specific proposal for the Assurance of Supply of Enrichment Services and Low Enriched Uranium for Use in Nuclear Power Plants (GOV/2011/10), the Group would have preferred that a full discussion be carried out on the following aspects:
- the legal and technical necessity of including the IAEA as a co-signatory of a proposed "model agreement" of bilateral nature;
- the content of the relative obligations established in that document for the "supplier" and "recipient" States;
- the nature and justification of the eligibility criteria established for the "recipient" States;
- the conditions under which the "supplier" may revoke or suspend the proposed "Export Licence";
- the possible implications of the proposal that may affect the right of all States to pursue national nuclear fuel capabilities, including enrichment; and
- the potential financial costs of the proposal for the Agency's budget.

Finally, the G77 notes that consultations are still ongoing on the framework for conducting further discussions on the issue and reiterate that transparent and inclusive deliberations are required to formulate an acceptable framework for assurances of nuclear fuel supply. The G77 continue to believe that an open-ended working group is still the best forum for conducting such discussions, and requests the Chairman of the Board to continue his efforts at achieving consensus in this regard.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Agenda item 7: Protection of confidential information

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 on agenda item 7, protection of confidential information.

The Group of 77 would like to recall the views expressed by the Non Aligned Movement in the December meeting of the Board.

The Group has taken note of the Note 60 on Information Security at the IAEA, issued in November 2010, and of the information provided by the Director General in his opening remarks to the Board that the Secretariat has continued to raise staff awareness of the vital importance of respecting confidentiality, that nearly two thousand Agency staff and contractors have passed the mandatory Information Security Test and that the Secretariat continues to follow international best practices in all aspects of information security.

However, the Group is concerned with the implications of possible violations of the Agency's regulations on information security, including the possibility of leakages regarding restricted reports and from the staff leaving the Agency.

The Group of 77 requests the Secretariat to keep the Member States informed on the measures taken to continually improve the protection of confidential information in the Agency.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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