Statement of the the G-77 and China during the IAEA Board of Governors, 19 - 23 September 2005, delivered by His Excellency Ambassador Sheel Kant Sharma, PR of India

Item 3 - Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste management - (a) Draft Plan of Activities on the Radiological Protection of the Environment

Madam Chair,
The Group of 77 and China would like to express its appreciation to the Director General for his comprehensive introductory statement and also to thank the Secretariat for the preparation of the documents to be considered at this session of the Board of Governors.

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Secretariat for the preparation of the Agency's Report contained in document GOV/2005/49. The Group also wishes to thank DDG Taniguchi for presenting this agenda item.

The Group would like to commend the International Atomic Energy Agency for organising various international meetings to exchange information on the subject of radiation protection of the environment. The Group takes note of the draft "Plan of Activities on the Radiation Protection of the Environment" that was tabled at the Stockholm Conference on the Protection of the Environment from the Effects of Ionising Radiation, held in October 2003.

The Group of 77 and China calls on Members States to work together with the Agency in a co-operative spirit to discuss the many responsibilities associated with environmental radiation protection. Member States should work more closely together to review their radiation safety standards. The Group notes that the principal aim of the Plan of Activities is to design an effective programme that can develop an approach for the assessment and management of radionuclides entering the environment or present in it. The Group appreciates the fact that the Agency can provide assistance to developing Member States in their collective efforts to protect the environment through the development of a framework and of methodologies to assess radiation impacts on biota and to review the corpus of radiation safety standards.

The Group of 77 and China believes that it is important for the Agency's Plan of Activities to involve all relevant role-players in the scientific community and the general public. This would lead to increased awareness of the importance of radiological protection of the environment.

Madam Chair,

With these comments, the Group of 77 and China supports the approval, for implementation within the framework of the Agency's approved programme and budget, of the draft "Plan of Activities on the Radiation Protection of the Environment".

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Item 3(b) - Draft Safety Requirements on Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste

Madam Chair,
The Group of 77 and China thanks the Secretariat for preparing and providing the Draft Safety Requirements on Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste, as contained in document GOV/2005/48. The Group has read the document with keen interest and expresses its appreciation to all experts of Member States that made their valuable inputs in the preparation of the document.

The Group of 77 and China notes that the focus of the Draft Safety Requirements is the geological disposal of spent nuclear fuel, high level radioactive waste from the reprocessing of nuclear fuel, other heat generating waste and waste containing high concentrates of long lived radio-nuclides. The Group also notes that the publication is intended for use by all persons concerned in radioactive waste management and making decisions in relation to the development, operation and closure of geological disposal facilities, especially those concerned with the related regulatory aspects.

The Group of 77 and China takes note that the objective of the publication is to set the protection objectives and criteria for geological disposal and to establish the requirements that must be met to ensure the safety of this disposal option, consistent with the established principles of safety for radioactive waste management. The Group notes that the national regulatory body should undertake research, acquire assessment capabilities and participate in international cooperation to fulfill its regulatory functions.

The Group of 77 and China takes note that at each major decision point, the implications for safety of the available options for the geological disposal facility are considered and taken into account and that ensuring both operational and post-closure safety is the overriding factor at each decision point. The Group also notes that if more than one option is capable of providing the required level of safety, other factors will also be considered. These factors could include public acceptability, cost, site ownership, and existing infrastructure and transport routes.

With these few comments, Madam Chairperson, the Group of 77 and China takes note of the Draft Safety Requirements on Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste and supports the recommended action.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Item 3(c) - Information document pursuant to resolution GC(48)/RES/10

The Group of 77 and China thanks the Director General for the report contained in document GOV/INF/2005/9-GC(49)/INF/5 as well as the Secretariat for actions implemented pursuant to General Conference resolution GC(48)/RES/10 and the various action plans that were devised to strengthen nuclear, radiation and transport safety, emergency preparedness and response and the safety and security of radioactive sources. The Group would also like to thank DDG Taniguchi for presenting the document before us.

The Group of 77 and China greatly appreciates the efforts of the Agency to provide assistance and training opportunities, training material, dissemination of information and information exchange related to the radiological protection of patients. The Group is also following with interest the important activities carried out by the Agency, in coordination with the International Labour Organisation, to further develop and promote adequate occupational radiation protection worldwide and the efforts of both organisations in reaching developing countries.

Many members of our Group have benefited from IAEA's technical assistance projects to enhance national regulatory infrastructures for the control of radiation sources, have hosted RaSSIA missions, contributed to the updating of Waste Safety Infrastructure Profiles and participated in regional workshops on the Regulatory Authority Information System RAIS 3.0.

In the field of Nuclear and Radiation Safety, the Group notes the encouraging prospects of the Asian Nuclear Safety Network and the Ibero-American Radiation Safety Network, two regional extrabudgetary programmes that facilitate the compilation, analysis and sharing of safety knowledge, as well as the worldwide exchange of information, that the Secretariat is pursuing through the Radiation Safety Regulatory Network.

Concerning the implementation of the International Action Plan on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, the Group of 77 and China awaits the results of the regional project being carried in Africa to assess the feasibility of borehole technology for the disposal of disused radioactive sources and its extension to other regions. The Group also notes with interest that a framework and a position paper on waste management matters have been prepared, as well as draft safety requirements and guides, and that Safety Guide RS-G1.7 has been published, whilst a Plan of Activities on the Radiation Protection of the Environment has been submitted for approval by this meeting. The Group of 77 and China also looks forward to conclusions to be achieved at the forthcoming International Conference on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Disposal to help make further progress on this matter.

Regarding Transport Safety, the Group is encouraged by the steady review and revision of the Agency's Transport Regulations and preparation of draft safety guides on Compliance Assurance and Quality Assurance and Radiation Protection Programmes and supports the continuation of regional transport safety courses on a periodic basis. The Group of 77 and China also welcomes efforts to strengthen dialogue and consultation between Coastal and Shipping States on issues related to the safety of transport of radioactive cargo and hopes for progress to be made in relation to this issue as well as concerning an effective liability regime for damage caused in the course of such transport. The Group also acknowledges the confidence building measures undertaken by Member States to strengthen transport safety.

The Group of 77 and China is grateful for support provided by the Agency to recover orphan and disused sources and other assistance rendered in this field at the request of Member States, including the prevention of the illicit and inadvertent movement of radioactive sources.

The Group is also appreciative of measures implemented by the Director General to strengthen the Agency´s Incident and Emergency Response System and looks forward to the further implementation of the International Action Plan for Strengthening the International Preparedness and Response System for Nuclear and Radiological Emergencies.

Finally, the G-77 and China would like to call for further efforts by the Secretariat to provide for a wider representation by developing Member States in the Agency´s committees and its Commission on Safety Standards as well as in technical meetings to prepare safety and security related documents.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Item 4(a) - Progress Report and Nuclear Security Plan for 2006-2009

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Secretariat for preparing the Progress Report and the Nuclear Security Plan for 2006-2009, as contained in document GOV/2005/50 and its annex. The Group wishes to thank DDG Taniguchi for his presentation of this agenda item.

The Group of 77 and China has always strongly supported the Agency's nuclear security activities, the overall goal of which is to assist Member States in improving their nuclear security. The Group notes with satisfaction that the document makes it clear that this assistance shall be provided upon request and that responsibility for the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials rests entirely with the State. The Group further notes the assertion contained in the Progress Report that adherence to Agency guidelines and recommendations related to enhancing security is voluntary and shall respect the primacy of the State in security issues. The Group concurs with the notion that the role of the Agency in enhancing nuclear security and the scope of its activities must be determined by the Member States and reflected in the Board decisions and General Conference resolutions and stresses that this role must be based on the premises mentioned above.

The Group of 77 and China notes that the activities included in the Nuclear Security Plan for 2006-2009 will continue to be funded from extrabudgetary contributions made, on a voluntary basis, to the Nuclear Security Fund. In order to reflect this understanding, the Group suggests that the last part of item (d) of the recommended action be rephrased, so as to read: "and call upon States to contribute, on a voluntary basis, to the Nuclear Security Fund for the continuation of the Agency's activities related to measures to protect against nuclear terrorism". As to the expressions referring to funding "from a limited regular budget", mentioned in paragraph 25 of the Report, and funding from "the available regular budget", mentioned in paragraph 48, the Group wishes to stress the understanding that regular budget resources to fund nuclear security activities are limited.

The G-77 and China notes that the implementation of the new Plan is estimated at $15.5 million annually, representing an increase in annual resources when compared to the current Plan. The Group of 77 and China stresses the importance of having a balance among the activities of the Agency in terms of the resources they receive. In this context, the Group encourages Member States to contribute to the Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF), which is of fundamental importance for developing Member States, in order to provide it with sufficient, predictable and assured resources. The Group also supports the External Auditor's opinion, reflected in the Progress Report, that the number and extent of restrictions limiting flexibility in the use of the extrabudgetary funds are cause for concern.

The Group of 77 and China notes the references to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and to the Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources contained in the Progress Report and in the Plan. The Group reiterates its opinion, expressed in previous Board sessions, that the Code of Conduct should not hamper the wide use of radioactive sources in medicine, agriculture, industry and education, especially in developing countries, and should not be used to deny the peaceful uses of atomic energy or the export of these sources for use in developing Member States. As to the Guidance, the Group reiterates the importance that exporting States, in applying it, in particular paragraphs 8 (c) and 11 (c), carry out the information exchange and consultations set out in paragraph 21 of the Guidance. Furthermore, the Group reiterates the fact that the Code and the Guidance are not legally binding, as reflected, inter-alia, in part D of Resolution GC(48)/RES/10, adopted by the General Conference in 2004.

With these comments, the Group of 77 and China supports the recommended action.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Item 5 - Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and Application

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Secretariat for the preparation of the Agency's Report contained in document GOV/2005/58-GC(49)/12. We would also like to thank DDGs Burkart and Sokolov for presenting this agenda item.

Annex 1: Use of Isotope Hydrology for Water Resources Management

The Group of 77 and China expresses its appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the Agency since the 47th regular session of the General Conference, in 2003. In this regard, we note with satisfaction the wide use of isotope techniques for water resources management and preservation. However, this growing interest, as reflected in the increase in the number of technical cooperation projects, which rose from 74 in the 2003-2004 programme cycle to 87 in the 2005-2006 programme cycle, seems to be not supported by adequate financial resources, since the financial envelope dropped from 7,6 million US dollars to 6.9 million US dollars in the respective periods. The Group has the expectation that appropriate measures will be taken to avoid any decrease regarding project implementation.

In the area of Groundwater Management, the Group is pleased to note that the Agency initiated a partnership with the World Bank and other relevant organisations to set up a global strategic vision for groundwater use and protection.

In addition, the Group welcomes the Agency's efforts aimed at strengthening and consolidating training and expertise in all areas related to water resources. In this regard, we appreciate that the IAEA organised nearly 40 group training activities, such as training courses, workshops and seminars for developing Member States. The Group strongly encourages the Secretariat to pursue its efforts and to continue disseminating information and providing Member States with expertise, technical assistance and equipments in this highly important field of water resources.

The Group notes with satisfaction the implementation of national and regional projects relating to the sustainable management of groundwater resources and to better understanding of groundwater systems. In the same vein, we appreciate the efforts of the Agency and other international bodies to help Member States in groundwater management and sustainability, as well as to identify the processes responsible for precipitation and the impact of climate change on water resources.

In the context of coordinated research, the Group notes that at least two CRPs were initiated with the objective to develop new isotope applications for the study of water and carbon cycle dynamics and for setting up isotope methods for the assessment of groundwater sustainability. We encourage the Agency to continue assisting developing Member States to master these techniques, which are indispensable for optimal use of water resources, their management and preservation.

Annexes 2 and 3 - Plan for producing potable water economically using small and medium-sized nuclear reactors and AU-PATTEC

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China welcomes the increased activities of the Agency cited in document GOV/2005/58 on the IAEA Plan for Producing Potable Water Economically Using Small and Medium-sized Reactors (SMRs). The Group wishes to underscore the importance of continued and sustained efforts by the Agency to strengthen regional and international cooperation in addressing water shortages in developing countries through nuclear desalination of seawater. We are pleased to note that several workshops, feasibility studies, seminars and training courses have been undertaken by the Agency in the current biennium. These activities, coupled with coordinated cooperation of the Agency with Member States, should create a solid basis for effective and accurate project design and planning for competitiveness of nuclear desalination in specific regions, thereby identifying innovative techniques for efficiency, cost reductions and refinement of the final product.

The Group commends the Agency's outreach programme for nuclear desalination including the provision of up-to-date information on desalination available on the Agency's website. We feel that such updates on information and technology on seawater desalination will both enhance technology transfer and further improve nuclear desalination techniques in the near and long-term.

The G-77 and China is also pleased to note that IAEA activities, coordination and cooperation with Member States has resulted in the development of more than 50 concepts and designs of innovative SMRs in more than 15 Member States, representing both industrialized and developing countries. The Group encourages the Agency to continue to facilitate further cooperation among states in desalination activities.

The Group reiterates the importance of nuclear seawater desalination for the development of many coastal developing countries and feels that priority should be given to the strengthening of the international efforts in developing and applying nuclear desalination techniques.

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China is pleased to note that the Director General has, in Annex 3 of document GOV/2005/58, given a comprehensive report on IAEA activities in supporting and complementing research, development and technology transfer to the African member states in the creation of tsetse-free zones through the integrated Sterile Insect Technique for tsetse eradication in Africa through the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC). The Group supports this initiative and welcomes its extension to address other areas of concern, such as mosquitoes, fruit fly, mud fly, locust and others, and also its extension to other regions of the world.

6. The Group takes this opportunity to invite the Board to take note of the progress the Agency is making in applying SIT for the eradication of Tsetse and requests the Director General to continue the laboratory and experimental development of the SIT for Malaria at the IAEA Laboratory at Seibersdorf. It is necessary to ensure that funds for such activities of the Agency are assured, sufficient and predictable. .

Thank you Madam Chair.

Annex 4 - Development of Innovative Nuclear Technology

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China reiterates its support for the international project on innovative nuclear reactors and fuel cycles (INPRO), the membership of which continues to grow. The Group looks forward, in particular, to the publication of the first draft of the INPRO user manual by the end of 2005 and the conclusion of INPRO assessments under Phase-1B (second part). It also looks forward to the initiation of Phase-2 of INPRO, under which the three broad activities currently envisaged are Research and Development, institutional/infrastructure and methodology. The Group notes the establishment of a periodically updated homepage for INPRO for the benefit of Member States. The Group encourages increased cooperation with other international efforts on innovative technology development, namely Generation IV International Forum (GIF).

Under Major Program 1, Nuclear power, Fuel Cycle and Nuclear Science, the Group appreciates the Agency's efforts to enhance information exchange and cooperative research activities relating to advanced reactor designs incorporating several innovative, evolutionary and enhanced safety features through the application of lessons learned from operating plants and the utilization of simplified systems. The Group notes that the last point is part of a new approach that is expected to lead to improved economics and a high level of safety through reduced design complexity and reduced demand of human interventions.

The Group fully supports all new activities involving the publication of TECDOCS and the initiation of Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs) on various technical aspects of the advanced nuclear reactor designs under development. It particularly notes that, in coordination with the OECD/NEA and GIF, a CRP on supercritical water-cooled reactors is being planned.

The Group expects these efforts to culminate in proliferation resistant, environment friendly, inherently safe and economically viable nuclear reactor systems.

In the context of nuclear desalination, the Group notes the Agency's progress based on the ongoing and concluded CRPs, focused, respectively, on economic evaluation of selected nuclear desalination projects/case studies and the optimization of the coupling of nuclear reactors and desalination systems.

The Group supports all design and technology development activities related to Small and Medium sized Reactors (SMRs) including the CRPs on small reactors without on-site fuelling, with its objective of increasing the Member State capabilities of deploying such systems for development of key enabling technologies through increased international cooperation.

The Group is also pleased with SAGNE's recommendation for the inclusion of a new project on nuclear Hydrogen production in a subprogramme supporting non-electrical applications of nuclear power.

With these comments the Group supports the recommendation that the Board take note of Annexes 1 - 4 of the report contained in document GOV/2005/58-GC(49)/12 and authorize the Director General to submit it to the General Conference at its forty-ninth session.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda Item 7 (b) - Personnel matters - (i) Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat, and (ii) Women in the Secretariat

Madam Chair,

The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Director General for his reports contained in documents GOV/2005/54-GC(49)/14 and GOV/2005/55-GC(49)/15 on Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat and Women in the Secretariat, respectively. The Group would also like to thank DDG Waller for introducing this agenda item.

The Group notes the Secretariats' continuing efforts to improve, pursuant to General Conference resolutions, the recruitment practices of the IAEA Secretariat with regard to women and of staff members from developing countries, and from other Member States which are unrepresented or underrepresented in the Agency's Secretariat.

The Group notes that during the current review period, applications have been received from 81 of the total of 85 developing Member States. However, the Group remains concerned that, out of the total number of appointments for posts subject to geographic rotation, only 24.8% of appointees were from developing States. In this regard, the Group notes with concern that representation from developing states has decreased, rather than increased, over the past two years. The Group therefore expects that the Secretariat will exert more efforts to address this situation.

On the recruitment of women, the Group notes the meetings of Points of Contact for the Recruitment of Women, and looks forward to their positive results.

With these comments, the Group notes documents GOV/2005/54-GC(49)/14 and GOV/2005/55-GC(49)/15.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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