The Group of 77 and China commends the Secretariat for the preparation
of the document Nuclear Safety Review for the year 1998. It appreciates
the continuing activities of IAEA in the exchange of safety related
information and the arrangement of educational and training courses.
Although a total of 68 national, regional and inter-regional safety
related training events were held during the year, the number of such
events could still be increased. The support of the Department of
Technical Cooperation and of the countries providing extrabudgetary funds
in this context is acknowledged.
The publication of Safety Guides on research reactor safety, occupational radiation protection, de-commissioning, etc., would be the source of important information to the Member States. The G-77 also looks forward to the publication of a number of proposed reports by INSAG. The cooperation of IAEA with other agencies working in similar areas such as UNSCEAR, NEA, WANO, etc., in order to increase safety awareness is appreciated. It is also felt that the measures taken by the Agency to address the Y2K issue have been taken at an appropriate time.
The Group of 77 and China also encourages Coordinated Research Projects being undertaken in safety related issues which would yield useful data. The involvement of over 250 individual contracts and agreements in these projects would provide broad-based inputs and would result in enhanced safety culture.
The Model Project on "Upgradation of radiation and waste safety infrastructure" which is undertaken by 52 states has achieved considerable success. The fact that 80% of these states now have legislation in accordance with the International Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Ionizing Radiation and the Safety of Radiation Sources is a testimony to the effectiveness of the project. Nevertheless, the continuing reports about orphaned radiation sources is indicative of lapses in the implementation of safety regulations. Appropriate lessons should be drawn from this and the Agency may help the developing countries in taking the necessary measures. Similarly, reports of contamination during transportation of radioactive materials in some of the developed countries in the world is also a cause of concern.
The Group of 77 and China had proposed in the meeting of the Board in March 1998, that the Secretariat may prepare Nuclear Energy Review on a pattern similar to that of the Nuclear Safety Review. The Group looks forward to learning the progress in this regard.
The Group of 77 and China conveys appreciation to the Director General for establishing the Senior Expert Group, providing the Report of the Group and his comments thereon for consideration by the Board. The Group also takes this opportunity to thank the distinguished members of the SEG for contributing their valuable time and effort.
The Group of 77 and China shares the view of the SEG that the Statute has admirably stood the test of time and remains a valid and viable foundation for the Agency's activities into the foreseeable future. The Group strongly feels, therefore, that the Agency must stay focused on its 'mission', as drawn from Article II of the Statute. The Group is also concerned with the delicate balance between promotional and other activities, and to this end, concerted efforts should be made to ensure that all core activities, including Technical Cooperation, are adequately funded.
The Group welcomes the suggestion by the SEG that the Agency should support Member States interested in introducing and promoting the use of nuclear energy for power generation and other peaceful applications within a globally organised safety culture. The Group strongly feels that small and medium sized reactors are of great importance to developing countries. In this regard the Group welcomes the fact that nuclear desalination of sea water is considered an important activity by the SEG. The Group fully endorses the SEG's view that the scientific and technical competence of the Agency has to be stressed to maintain its credibility.
In this regard, the Group supports the DG's intention to establish Standing Advisory Groups on Nuclear Power and Fuel Cycle, and on Nuclear Applications. The Group regards the work of such advisory groups as of high importance in improving the performance of the Agency's programmes taking into account the needs of developing Member States.
The activities of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications form the core activities which remain the vanguard of nuclear science and technology. The Group is also of the view that the Agency should continue to extend support to projects even if they have only a minor nuclear component provided the part is essential for the success of the project. The Group joins the SEG in recognising the role of the Agency as the only intergovernmental technology centred organisation dedicated to nuclear science and technology and calls for retention of its scientific temper, technical competence and credibility. While acknowledging the benefits of external synergies, with the private sector and with other international organisations like NEA/OECD, there is concern in the developing world that their main priorities may not be addressed by an organisation consisting predominantly or entirely of developed nations. Besides, equal access should be extended to all Member States of the IAEA to any documentation or information resulting from this cooperation.
The comments and suggestions made by the Board on this report could serve as one of the significant inputs while formulating future programmes and budgets of the Agency and in developing the medium-term strategy of the Agency. These are the preliminary comments on the report. We would continue to provide the views of the Group as an on-going consultation process for the formulation of the Agency's programme.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Item 5(a) The Proliferation Potential of Neptunium and Americium
Mr. Chairman, The Group of 77 takes note of the report on the technical, legal and financial implications, as well as the earlier reports and extensive briefings conducted on this issue. The Group further notes that the documentation on this issue arrived too late for suitable reflection of views from the respective capitals. The Group is, however, not clear as to the reason for the urgency and immediacy displayed by the Secretariat on this issue, especially when the implementation of the Model Additional Protocol is still underway.
The Group of 77 and China is also concerned over the projected cost of this exercise. The figure of financial expenditure consequent to the application of the monitoring mechanism for Np and Am has been indicated in the report as USD 224,000. The Group is of the view that this is only a tentative estimate, which could go up in the future.
On the other hand, the Group notes the questions raised, by some major donors, when small increases in funding are sought for crucial developmental projects, like nuclear desalination and Small and Medium Reactors, projects, where practical translation of the benefits of nuclear energy and techniques flow to enhance the quality of life of people in the developing world. The Group feels that funding for this exercise should not come from the already overburdened Regular Budget and is concerned about maintaining the balance between promotional and other activities of the Agency.
The G-77 and China questions the logic and prudence of treating Np and Am on the same footing, keeping in mind the different levels of proliferation risk posed by Np and Am. The Group wonders whether a further technical review may be necessary to examine the relevance of including Am at this stage? The Group feels that other possible options could also be explored.
Item 6 Amendment of Article VI of the Statute
The Group of 77 and China would like to record the work done by Ambassador Ikeda during his time as Chairman of the Board. The Group of 77 and China wishes to thank the Chairman of the Board of Governors for the consultations he is undertaking with the aim of reaching a final and satisfactory solution to this long outstanding issue. We encourage him to continue his efforts, to maintain the momentum to build consensus.
Mr. Chairman, While reaffirming its earlier positions the G-77 and China expresses its openness and readiness to discuss constructively any proposal aiming at reaching a finalized formula on the amendment of the Article VI of the Statute, taking advantage of the progress achieved so far. The Group is prepared to work with the Chairman and other delegations with a view to reaching a final decision in this regard during the next General Conference.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Item 7 a) - Plan for producing potable water economically (GOV/1999/9)
The Group of 77 and China has read the document GOV/1999/9 on the overview of the plan for producing potable water economically. We welcome Agency's support for the project on 'Integrated Nuclear Power and Desalination System Design' in the Republic of Korea by providing seed money .
The Group welcomes the cooperation agreement which has been signed between the Governments of Morocco and China in December 1998 to implement the nuclear desalination project in Morocco. The Group also welcomes the initiation of a Feasibility Study on the construction of a nuclear desalination plant in Egypt. Interaction with other international organisations is important and the Group notes that efforts have been intensified towards this end. Small and Medium Sized Reactors (SMR) offer suitable options for electricity generation in countries with small electricity grids together with the production of potable water through the nuclear desalination process.
In this regard the technical document providing guidance to developing countries on the preparation of "User Requirement Documents" for SMR will be useful. The Group appreciates the efforts of the Secretariat in procuring an educational simulator, a useful tool for training. While anticipating the increase of the resources allocated to this program in the draft budget for the year 2000, we appeal to all donor countries to lend their financial and technical support to this very important activity. With these comments, we request the Agency to continue to assign importance to this vital area.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Item 7b) - Extensive use of isotope hydrology for
water resources management (GOV/1999/18)
The Group of 77 and China has read the document GOV/1999/18 and notes with appreciation that 22 institutions participated in the Co-ordinated Research Projects, in the high priority areas of water resources development and management and that the results had direct impact on Technical Cooperation Projects in isotope hydrology. In the area of water pollution, the Chilean Atomic Energy Commission has now integrated the transfered methodologies in their routine activities. In the area of dam leakage detection and dam sustainability, twenty two developing countries have requested participation due to problems of leakage in their dams and reservoirs.
The group is happy to note the cooperation of the Agency with other international organisations and training courses that have been conducted. The quarterly Newsletter "Water and Environment News" and the internet Website on Development and Management of water resources are very useful. Isotope hydrology for water resources management is an area of great interest for the developing countries and the Agency should continue to give high priority to it.