Statement by the Group of 77 and China during the Board of Governors of the IAEA starting on 2 March 2015, delivered by the Chairman of the Group of 77, H.E. Ambassador Armin ANDEREYA, Permanent Representative of Chile
Agenda Item 3: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety (a) Nuclear Safety Review 2015
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the G-77 and China under this agenda item.
2. The Group of 77 and China thanks the Director General for his introductory statement, as well as Deputy Director-General Denis Flory for his remarks and for the technical briefing offered to Member States on 17 February.
3. The Group thanks the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Safety Review 2015, as contained in document GOV/2015/9.
4. The Group would like to make the following comments in relation to this important document:
5. While the Group recognizes that the primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests with the Member States, it believes that the Agency has an important role to play in this field, as provided for in Article III of the IAEA Statute. Furthermore, the Group reiterates the centrality of the Agency in light of the wealth of experience and expertise acquired by it in the field of nuclear safety. In this regard, the Group is pleased to note that the global nuclear community continued to make steady progress in improving nuclear safety in 2014, in line with the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety as reported in paragraph 2 of the Nuclear Safety Review 2015.
6. In this regard the Group takes note of the progress that has been made in reviewing and revising various Agency safety standards and welcomes the issuance, in 2014, of the Guidelines for Drafting IAEA Safety Standards and Nuclear Security Series Publications.
7. The Group welcomes the Agency’s continuing efforts to promote nuclear safety worldwide, and steadfastly upholds the principle that improved nuclear safety measures should be used to enhance the development and utilization of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.
8. The Group appreciates the various activities organized by the Agency to keep Member States informed of developments relating to nuclear safety, such as the technical briefings and the periodic reports with updated information. The Group encourages the Agency to continue to keep Member States fully and regularly informed of all relevant safety-related developments.
9. The Group notes that the Agency offers many peer review services, upon request, inter alia, for assessment of safety of nuclear installation, research reactors, regulation, fuel cycle facilities, design, decommissioning and for the assessment of infrastructure development programmes.
10. The Group recognises that over thirty three countries, many of which are G-77 countries, are considering or are embarking on nuclear power programmes. With regard to challenges to the introduction to nuclear power to newcomer countries, the Group notes that these challenges remain and need to be addressed. The Group is pleased to note that, as in previous years, the Agency has continued to provide assistance to newcomer countries in fields such as site selection and evaluation, the establishment of sound, well-functioning regulatory frameworks, and human capacity building by means of, inter alia, national and regional workshops, training courses and expert missions, peer reviews and advisory services and self-assessment tools.
11. The Group takes note of the third International Conference on Challenges faced by Technical and Scientific Support Organisations in Enhancing Nuclear Safety and Security: Strengthening Cooperation and Improving Capabilities, organised by the Agency in Beijing, China, in October 2014 and important key outcomes which focused on building capacity for Member States embarking on nuclear power development programmes, networking and knowledge sharing, and strengthening cooperative research and development (R&D) programmes.
12. The Group also takes note of the three Site and External Events Design (SEED) missions to Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam undertaken by the Agency to assist Member States, inter alia, throughout the different stages of the site selection and evaluation. The Group notes with appreciation that the Agency continued strengthening and promoting Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) peer review missions, in particular for newcomer Member States through the tailored module for countries embarking on Nuclear Power Programmes. The Group also notes that the extended IRRS follow-up mission to Vietnam in October 2014 included the specifically tailored module, as did the full-scope IRRS mission to Jordan in June 2014.
13. The Group notes that the fourth Workshop on Lessons Learned from IRRS Mission, held in December 2014, highlighted the shortage of knowledgeable experienced reviewers to assist in conducting future IRRS missions. The Group encourages the Agency to take the necessary measures, in close consultation with Member States, to address this challenge.
14. With regard to the issue of the ageing of research reactors, the Group notes with concern the prolonged shutdown of some reactors due to ageing-related failures and the subsequent risk of shortages of radioisotopes used for medical applications and the spiralling of prices. The Group also notes that eight expert missions were conducted at the research reactors in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Iran, Morocco, and Peru, which contributed to establishing ageing management programmes, as well as to establishing periodic safety review processes. The Group further notes the Agency’s finding, when reviewing developments in nuclear installation safety during 2014, as reported on in paragraph 10 of the Safety Review, that enhancing regulatory effectiveness continues to be a challenge for certain Member States that operate research reactors and requests the Agency to provide the necessary support to interested Member States in addressing the specific challenges identified by the Agency in this regard. The Group requests the Secretariat to keep Member States informed on developments in relation to this important issue.
15. The development of human resources is the key to the sustainability of any nuclear program. Therefore, it is essential that the IAEA continues to provide assistance to developing countries in the fields of knowledge sharing, exchange of information, collaboration platforms, nuclear knowledge management and capacity building in nuclear safety. In this regard the Group welcomes the International Conference on Human Resource Development for Nuclear Power Programmes: Building and Sustaining Capacity organized by the Agency in May 2014 that provided the Member States with the opportunity to discuss the development of human resources in the nuclear power industry. The Group further welcomes the signing of practical arrangements by the Agency in the margins of the Conference, with the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators (ANNuR) to support efforts in building capacity, developing human resources and strengthening nuclear safety infrastructures in ANNuR Member States.
16. The Group notes with concern the trend identified in the Review of a growing shortage of skilled, experienced staff, in regulatory bodies and licensing organisations and that newcomer countries will face challenges in the short and long-term, which will include finding experienced and knowledgeable experts and institutions that can provide assistance and guidance on the establishment of the various elements of the nuclear safety infrastructure. The Group supports the recommendation in paragraph 183 that, in order to meet these challenges, Member States with established nuclear safety infrastructures and regulatory frameworks will have to provide better and more coordinated assistance to embarking countries and calls on the Agency to provide the appropriate support upon request.
17. The Group acknowledges the work of the Agency through its Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN) and takes note of the two new global networks added to the GNSSN information platform. Knowledge networks should always remain a core component of the nuclear safety capacity building initiatives provided by the Agency. We concur with the Agency in that the sharing of knowledge, expertise and results, at both regional and national levels, plays an important role in the enhancement of global nuclear safety. The Group welcomes the continued support given by the IAEA to regional networks, such as the Arab Network of Nuclear Regulators, the Asian Nuclear SafetyNetwork, the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa, and the Ibero-American Forum of Radiological and Nuclear Regulatory Agencies. The Group further welcomes the operationalization of the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies of Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM).
18. As stated in the IAEA Action Plan, the responsibility for ensuring the application of the highest standards of nuclear safety and for providing a timely, transparent and adequate response to nuclear emergencies lies with each Member State and operating organization. Vendors of nuclear technologies also have a responsibility to ensure that users have access to all information and resources necessary for safe operation. As stated in the Action Plan, its success in strengthening nuclear safety rests on the full cooperation and participation of Member States and relevant stakeholders. The Group calls upon the Agency to maintain its facilitating role in this regard. In view of the planned completion of the activities under the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety by the end of 2015, the Group calls on the Agency to ensure that the follow-up activities will be incorporated and integrated in the relevant departmental programmes going forward.
19. While acknowledging the work done by the Agency in the field of emergency preparedness and response in 2014, the Group notes that many challenges remain. The Group encourages the continued cooperation and coordination between the Agency and interested Member States to overcome these challenges, thereby strengthening the capabilities of Member States in emergency preparedness and response.
20. The Group welcomes the assistance provided by the Agency to Member States in their efforts to develop or enhance their national regulatory infrastructures, in areas such as the elaboration of national strategies for education and training in radiation, transport and waste safety. The Group encourages the Agency to continue to provide this type of assistance to Member States, focusing on those areas which can contribute effectively towards sustainable capacity building.
21. The Group takes note of the review of developments in radiation protection, waste and transport safety and the important aspects highlighted by the Agency in this area. The Group supports the Agency’s promotion of its Safety in Radiation Oncology (SAFRON) system, available on the Agency’s Radiation Protection of Patients Website, in an effort to reduce accidental radiation exposure. The Group also notes that the Agency’s Post Graduate Educational Course (PGEC) in Radiation Protection and the Safety of Radiation Sources continues to provide the foundation studies for future professionals in the field of radiation protection. The Group welcomes a new on-line system introduced in 2014, which enabled 106 students from 62 Member States to carry-out their pre-learning studies prior to attending the PGEC in Algeria, Argentina, Ghana, Greece and Malaysia.
22. On the 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.
23. The Group continues to express its concern over the fact that, despite international efforts, denials and delays of shipments of radioactive sources continue to occur worldwide. The Group notes that, following the final meeting of the International Steering Committee, in 2013, the Denials Working Group was formed to continue working towards resolving this critical issue. This issue can only be solved through concerted efforts. More information about the handling of radioactive sources is required, and effective communication with the transport personnel and authorities of Member States continues to be an essential tool. We urge the Secretariat to persist in its efforts with a view to facilitating a solution.
24. The Group notes the findings of the Interface Group in 2014 in the review of Document Preparation Profiles (DPP) for the IAEA Safety Standards Series and the IAEA Nuclear Security Series publications, and encourages the Secretariat to continue to support the participation of experts from developing countries in the work of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC) and the Interface Group.
25. With these remarks, the Group takes note of the Nuclear Safety Review 2015, as contained in document GOV/2015/9.
26. Turning to the Draft Safety Requirements, the Group takes note of the revised Safety Requirements, agrees to the establishment of these Safety Standards, in accordance with Article III.A.6 of the Statute, as Agency safety standards and authorizes the Director General to promulgate these Safety Requirements and to issue them as Safety Requirements publications in the IAEA Safety Standards Series.
27. The Group notes that the Contracting Parties of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) met at a Diplomatic Conference to consider a proposal to amend the CNS, which took place in Vienna on 9 February 2015. The Group also notes that Contracting Parties adopted, by consensus, the "Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety", which aims to strengthen nuclear safety worldwide through agreed principles to guide Contracting Parties, as appropriate, in the implementation of the objective of the CNS to prevent accidents with radiological consequences and mitigate such consequences should they occur. The Group further notes that Contracting Parties committed to reinforce the peer review mechanism of the Convention through an agreed process, and to reflect the agreed principles in their actions, in particular when preparing their reports on the implementation of the CNS.
Thank you Chairperson.
Agenda Item 4: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications: Nuclear Technology Review - 2015
1. The Group of 77 and China would like to express its appreciation to the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Technology Review 2015, contained in document GOV/2015/8.
2. The Group also wishes to thank the DDG Mr. Aldo Malavasi for introducing this item and for the technical briefing provided to delegations on 17 February.
3. The Group of 77 and China considers the Nuclear Technology Review (NTR) a useful document as it provides a comprehensive update on the progress achieved in nuclear power and nuclear applications during the reporting period. The year 2014 saw many developments in these areas. In this regard, the Group would like to make the following comments:
4. The work done by the Agency in nuclear power and nuclear applications highlights the need to increase the transfer of nuclear technology and the sharing of nuclear knowledge to developing countries so as to enhance the capabilities of the latter and thus contribute to maximize the benefit of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The Group urges the Agency to continue to provide training and education, to support national laboratories and to further enhance coordinated research activities. The Group also welcomes the contributions made by Member States to various Agency projects, and encourages all Member States in a position to do so, to continue providing such support through the Agency.
5. The Group notes that nuclear power is an important option for many countries, as part of their current and future energy mix as demonstrated by the Agency’s 2014 projections, which show a growth between 8% and 88% in nuclear power capacity by the year 2030. The Group further notes that the interest of the countries considering the introduction of nuclear power remains strong especially among developing countries with growing energy needs. The Group therefore encourages the Agency to enhance its assistance to developing countries.
6. The Group urges the Agency to continue to assist interested Member States to analyse energy options and to prepare for the introduction of nuclear power, while maintaining its leading role in the promotion of the transfer and development of technology and knowledge related to peaceful nuclear applications, including nuclear power and the nuclear fuel cycle. The Agency’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions provide a useful service in extending this type of cooperation to Member States.
7. The Group continues to attach high importance to the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), as a relevant forum gathering technology holders and users with the aim of achieving innovations in nuclear reactors and fuel cycles and encourages the Agency to continue its support for these important activities.
8. The Group reiterates its expression of interest in the work of various technical working groups under the auspices of the Agency in the development of nuclear technology and in the dissemination of knowledge to Member States, inter alia, through Coordinated Research Projects.
9. The Group takes note of the outcomes of the Scientific Forum, held during the 58th regular session of the Agency’s General Conference, which emphasized the need for a comprehensive, integrated, cradle-to-grave approachfor radioactive waste management, and which highlighted the fact that solutions are available for implementation. In light of the fact that most Members States have to manage some form of radioactive waste, the Group encourages the Agency to explore cost effective solutions in this regard.
10. Accelerators and research reactors play an important role in building strong basic capabilities in the nuclear field, and in supporting related education and training activities in Member States. The Group appreciates the support provided by the Secretariat in its coordination of projects supporting research, hands-on training and experimental work in the field of accelerators, and encourages it to continue to provide such support, especially by making use of built-in capacity in many countries.
11. In this regard the Group welcomes the Agency’s new multi-technique experimental facility, set up as an end-station of the X-ray fluorescence beam line at the Elettra facility in Trieste, Italy in 2014. As synchrotronfacilities are important research tools and valuable facilitators of technological development, the Group is pleased that research groups, that are newcomers in the field and that are from developing Member States, will now be able gain access to beam time at a synchrotron.
12. The Group highlights the importance of research reactors, to interested Member States for research and various applications, including education and training, and calls for enhanced international cooperation to maximise their efficient use. The Group urges the Agency to assist interested Member States in addressing issues related to ageing management and underutilisation of research reactors, and to assist those Member States building orplanning to build new ones. The Group encourages the Agency to continue its work of facilitation of regional networks and coalitions to help foster international cooperation and enable research reactors to expand their stakeholder and user communities.
13. The Group attaches great importance to the significant contribution of nuclear technology to the attainment of internationally agreed development goals and to its role in food security and safety; nutrition and human health, including disease prevention and control; animal health and production; environmental protection; water resource management, as well as in the use of radioisotopes and radiation. These are the areas where nuclear and isotopic techniques are beneficial in supporting socio-economic development in many countries. The Group reaffirms that the Agency has a leading role to play in promotion of these techniques among interested Member States, and encourages it to continue to provide its valuable assistance.
14. The Group accordingly attaches great value to the role of the Agency’s Nuclear Applications laboratories at Seibersdorf, which have assisted Member States in enhancing their access to the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies since 1962. The Group calls on all Member States to provide the appropriate support to ensure that the Seibersdorf Laboratories are renovated in accordance with resolution GC/(58)/Res/13.
15. Nuclear and nuclear-related technologies are playing an important role in animal health and in this context the Group recognises the importance of vaccines as essential tools to protect animals and humans from disease, and that early, rapid diagnosis is critical for controlling the spread of diseases. The Group welcomes the dramatic improvement in the early diagnosis of infectious diseases. The Group notes that the development of these techniques enabled the Agency to complement international efforts to address the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa in 2014 the Agency’s further efforts in strengthening Africa’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging and remerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola virus disease, and establishing early warning systems.
16. The Group values the Agency's assistance to Member States, especially to developing countries, in the field of medical and industrial applications.
17. In the field of human health, the Group is appreciative of the Agency’s contribution to improving cancer management worldwide, through, inter alia, the development and application of nuclear techniques. The Group also takes note of the Agency’s ongoing efforts to develop new codes of practice for dosimetry and new standards and guidelines to keep pace with advances in radiotherapy techniques and technology.
18. The Group notes that there were no major supply shortages of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 during 2014. However, the Group requests the Secretariat to remain vigilant on this important issue, with a view to ensuring the sustainability of radioisotope supplies, including through the enhancement of the utilization of existing reactors in developing countries and the development of alternative nuclear technologies, where appropriate. In this regard the Group notes with interest the information provided in section F of the Report on the development of new radioisotopes for medical applications.
19. The Group concurs with the Secretariat that securing access to safe drinking water, as well as adequate freshwater supply for sanitation, food production and energy generation is a continuing challenge for many countries. In this regard the Group notes with interest the recent developments and trends in the use of isotopes in understanding, monitoring and assessing the impact of climate change on the water cycle, the assessment and management of water resources, understanding changes in the marine environment, and the study of environmental changes and pollution processes. The Group encourages the Agency to promote and facilitate further work in developing these applications.
20. The Group takes note of developments relating to the issue of assurance of supply, and reiterates once again its views and concerns expressed on this matter in its statements during the previous sessions of the Board, from 2009 onwards, which, inter alia, stated that any arrangement for assurance of supply shall be in full accordance with the Statute and take into account the respective legal obligations of Member States, as well as the principle of non-discrimination, whereby the inalienable right of Member States to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including national nuclear fuel cycles, is duly respected.
21. With these remarks, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the Nuclear Technology Review for 2015, as contained in document GOV/2015/8.
Thank you Chairperson.
Agenda item 5: Strengthening the Agency’s technical cooperation activities - a) Strengthening Africa’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola virus disease, and establishing early warning systems.
1. The Group of 77 and China thanks Deputy Director General Aning for his introductory remarks and the Secretariat for preparing the Proposed Technical Cooperation Project on ‘Strengthening Africa’s Regional Capacity for the Diagnosis of Emerging or Re-emerging Zoonotic Diseases, including Ebola Virus Disease, and Establishing Early Warning Systems’ contained in document GOV/2015/11.
2. The Group reiterates the paramount importance of the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Program as the main vehicle for the statutory function of promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The life-saving services theAgency provides through its Technical Cooperation Programme, in particular through this project, which addresses the animal/human interface of diseases to reduce the possibility of the introduction of animal diseases to humans, exemplifies the essential contribution made by the Agency and its Technical Cooperation Programme to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.
3. The Group notes, with appreciation, that the proposed project will build national and regional capacities for early and rapid diagnosis through the training of local staff to carry out diagnostic tests, the provision of equipment needed to perform such diagnosis locally, and strengthen national and regional mechanisms for disease prevention and control.
4. The Group further notes that the project will be implemented in line with the recommendations and strategies developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well asother partners.
5. The Group welcomes the generous contributions made by some Member States and calls on those Member States in a position to do so to support the full implementation of the project.
6. With these comments, the Group of 77 and China endorses the recommended actions contained in document GOV/2015/11.