Statement of the G-77 and China during the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting 5-9 March 2012 delivered by Ambassador Antonio García Revilla, Permanent Representative of Peru

Agenda Item 2: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety

(i) Nuclear Safety Review 2012
(ii) Draft Safety Requirements: Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material
(iii) Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the G77 and China on agenda item 3: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety.

2. 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 2012, as contained in document GOV/2012/6. The Group also thanks DDG Denis Flory for his presentation of this agenda item and for the technical briefing delivered on 28th of February 2012.

Mr. Chairman,
3. The Fukushima accident brought nuclear safety to the forefront of global attention and underlined the important contribution the IAEA can make in this field. While recognizing that the primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests within the Member States, the Group continues to believe that the Agency plays an important role in this field as provided for in Article III of the Statute and must retain the central role, owing to its statutory functions and long standing expertise. The Group also reiterates that nuclear safety should not be used to hamper the development and utilization of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

4. The Group notes with satisfaction that the safety performance maintained by the international nuclear community remained at a high level in 2011. It also observes that, as more Member States explore, embark upon or expand their interests in nuclear energy, the Agency should intensify its programs to assist Member States in meeting their growing challenges for appropriately establishing and managing their nuclear safety infrastructure.

5. The Group welcomes the Agency's continuing efforts to promote nuclear safety worldwide and reiterates its support for the Agency's activities aimed at supporting nuclear safety infrastructure development in Member States introducing nuclear power or expanding their existing programs, upon their request. The Group would like to express its appreciation for the various activities organized by the Agency for keeping Member States informed of developments relating to nuclear safety, inter alia, through the technical briefings and updated information provided to Member States periodically.

6. The Group also 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 highlights the central role that the Agency plays in improving 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.

7. In this context, the Group encourages Member States to better use the International Reporting System for Operating Experience (IRS) aimed at increasing the effectiveness in analyzing and communicating operational safety experience. The Group notes that the agency offers peer review services upon request, for assessment of safety of nuclear installation, research reactors, regulation, fuel cycle facilities, design, decommissioning and for the assessment of infrastructure development program.

8. The Group commends in particular the efforts of the Secretariat in utilizing new technologies, such as online training courses, in an attempt to reduce costs and broaden the participation of experts in training programs. At the same time, the Group appreciates the "train the trainers" programs, which are important tools to the future sustainability of education and training activities in Member States and constitutes a vehicle to the real transfer of knowledge.

9. The Group maintains that the development of human resources is the key for sustainability of any nuclear program and underlines the utmost importance of the IAEA assistance to developing countries in the fields of knowledge sharing, exchange of information, collaboration platforms, nuclear knowledge management and capacity building in nuclear safety.

10. The Group welcomes the support given by the IAEA to a number of knowledge networks and forums, such as the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN), regional networks, such as the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN), the Ibero-American Forum of Radiological and Nuclear Regulatory Agencies (FORO), the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA), the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators (ANNuR) and the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF).

Mr. Chairman,

11. On the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, and in light of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the Group of 77 and China concurs with the general view that the global nuclear safety framework should be further strengthened, and noted that Member States have endorsed the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety held in June 2011 as well the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety which was approved by the Board of Governors in September 2011.
12. In this regard, the Group of 77 and China underscores the importance of the Agency's broad range of assistance and support services to Member States in the field of nuclear safety, including guidance and standards, technical assistance, review services, training, capacity building and knowledge networks, many of which are being reviewed to take into account the lessons learned from Fukushima. The Group also notes the Agency's continuous efforts in supporting the sharing of knowledge, expertise and information on all aspects of nuclear safety, inter alia, regulatory supervision, best practices in nuclear safety and aging management for research reactors.

13. The Group welcomes assistance to developing countries embarking on nuclear power programs and encourages the Agency to continue its efforts in developing capacities and technical skills in the nuclear field as well as in strengthening their regulatory systems and infrastructures needed to develop nuclear power as part of their national energy mix.

14. On another issue, the Group welcomes the decision to establish a standing Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC), to make recommendations on the development and review of nuclear security Series Publications, consisting of experts, nominated by Member States. We are of the view that this structured process would enhance transparency and ownership of nuclear security documents. The Group calls on the Secretariat to makes every effort to support the participation of experts from developing countries in the work of the committee. In this vein, the Group took note of the document GOV/INF/2012/3 on the development and review of the Agency's Nuclear Security Series publications.

15. In this connection, while welcoming the publication of these guidance documents, the Group would like to stress its principled position that they should not be used as a condition or pre-requisite for deciding on technical cooperation projects. In general, the Group encourages the Secretariat to continue the practice of getting constant feedback from Member States in the process of formulating tools and guidelines to assist them in the assessment of their national regulatory infrastructure. The Group also calls on the Secretariat to provide these publications in all UN official languages.

16. The Group takes note of the work of the joint task force of the Advisory Group on Nuclear Security (AD Sec) and the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) on the feasibility of establishing a single series of Agency standards covering both safety and security, while respecting the unique and distinctive nature of each.

Mr. Chairman,

17. With regard to nuclear and radiological incident and emergency preparedness and response, while noting with appreciation the Agency's continued work to strengthen the emergency preparedness and response, the Group believes that this issue should be addressed in light of the lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. In this context, the Group took note of the results from Emergency Preparedness Reviews (EPREV) missions in 2011.

18. As for the issue of radioactive waste management, the Group shares the view that confidence in the safety of a comprehensive radioactive waste management program and disposal arrangements are crucial factors contributing to the public acceptance of nuclear energy in general.

19. The Group continues to express its concern that despite the international efforts, the denials and delays of shipments of radioactive sources continue to occur in all parts of the world. Therefore, 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. In line with the action plan, more information about the handling of the radioactive sources and 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 and to resolve it ahead of the target of 2013.

20. On safe decommissioning of nuclear facilities, the Group welcomes the Agency's continued efforts to assist Member States in establishing regulatory and technical frameworks for the safe decommissioning of nuclear facilities, as well as for increasing the competencies and capacities of the staff involved in these activities.

21. Finally, the Group takes note of the draft incorporating the proposed revision to the 2009 Edition of the Safety Requirements: Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material which was reviewed and approved by the safety standards committees, as contained in document GOV/2012/10 and recommends for its approval.

With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Safety Review for 2012, as contained in document GOV/2012/6.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Agenda Item 3: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications: Nuclear Technology Review - 2012

Mr. Chairman,

1. The G77 and China would like to express its appreciation to the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Technology Review 2012, contained in document (GOV/2012/7).

2. The Group also wishes to thank Mr. Alexander Bychkov and Mr. Daud Mohamad for introducing this agenda item and for the technical briefing arranged on 28th February to present the contents of the report.

Mr. Chairman,

3. The Group notes that the review provides a comprehensive update on the progress achieved in 2011 in the areas of power applications and nuclear technologies. For the Group, this progress highlights 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. Therefore, the Group urges the Agency to continue providing training and education, supporting national laboratories and further enhancing the coordinated research activities. The Group also welcomes the contributions made to various Agency projects, and encourages all States in a position to do so to continue providing such funding support.

4. The Group takes note that nuclear energy continued to play important role in global electricity production despite the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Group further notes that the Agency's reported that growth of nuclear power remains high and the interest of countries considering the introduction of nuclear power also remained strong. Hence, nuclear power remains an important option not only for countries with existing nuclear power programmes, but also for developing countries with growing energy needs.

5. The Group also notes that by the end of 2011, 64 new reactors were under construction, especially in developing countries, with the evolution centered around Asia while other regions show a modest projected increase in nuclear generating capacity.

6. The Group urges the Agency to continue assisting interested Member States to analyze energy options and to prepare for the introduction of nuclear power or uranium production, while maintaining 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.

7. 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 notes with satisfaction the increase of the INPRO's membership to 35 Member States, representing now 75% of the world's domestic product and more than 65% of the world's population.

8. The Group further notes that the INPRO work programme reflects the interests and priorities of its members which are in line with the Agency's regular programme and that the results obtained under INPRO are in turn available to all IAEA Member States. However, the Group notes with concern that it continues to rely mainly on extra-budgetary contributions from its members. The Group is of the view that the support to INPRO from the Agency regular budget should be increased. The Group takes note of the 2011 new project launched under the INPRO Dialogue Forum on Nuclear Energy Innovations to identify 'common user considerations', in particular of technology users for small and medium sized reactors (SMRs).

9. 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.

10. 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. The Group also appreciates the guidance documents prepared by the Agency for the launching of nuclear power programmes, though reiterating 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.

11. With regard to the area of nuclear fusion, the Group observes with interest the evolution of the experimental project of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility and safety features of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. 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.

12. The Group also notes that, with the growing interest in nuclear energy, more than 14 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 emphasizes 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 Group 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,

13. The Group attaches great importance to the work carried out by the Agency in 2011, 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.

14. The Group wishes to highlight techniques for early animal disease diagnosis, which can contribute to improve food security in many developing countries. In this vein, the Group welcomes the Agency's Animal Production and Health Laboratory's recent contribution towards the global eradication of rinderpest, one of the most devastating infections of cattle, and for centuries a major cause of famine and poverty.

15. Meanwhile, the Group also observes 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 research project (CRP), and which will initiate a number of new research activities this year (2012).

16. The Group also considers very relevant the improvement of food security in developing countries, in the context of climate change, the work carried out by the Agency in the area of genetic improvement of crops through nuclear techniques for mutation breeding. The Group is convinced that more international cooperation, including south-south initiatives, is required for the exchange of successful experiences between developing countries in this area. In this regard, the Group also welcomes the focus that will be given to food security in the Agency's work this year, and looks forward to enhanced cooperation in this area. In this vein, the Group calls upon the Secretariat to involve Member States in the preparatory process of the Scientific Forum.

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

18. 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. The Group requests the Agency to carry out activities to increase the knowledge and access of health institutions in developing countries to these important emerging applications.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. With regard to the supplies of fission-produced molybdenum-99 and technetium-99m generators, the Group requests the Secretariat to continue its efforts to ensure the sustainability of radioisotope supplies, including through the enhancement of the utilization of existing reactors in developing countries and the development of alternative technologies. The Group believes that the Agency's support through effective coordination, regional cooperation and the provision of a forum for stakeholders' interactions will contribute to securing supplies in the future.

22. Furthermore, the Group values the Agency's assistance to Member States, especially developing countries, in the field of medical and industrial applications.

23. The Group of 77 takes note of developments relating to the issue of assurance of supply, and reiterates once again its views and concerns expressed in its statements during the previous sessions of the Board in 2009, 2010 and 2011 on this matter which, inter alia, stated that any proposal that emerged in this regard shall be in full accordance with the Statute and takes into account the respective legal obligations of Member States, and the principle of non-discrimination, whereby the inalienable right of Member States to nuclear technology is duly respected.

24. With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Technology Review for 2012, as contained in document GOV/2012/7.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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