Statement of the Group of 77 and China during the IAEA Board
of Governors delivered by delivered by H.E. Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh,
Permanent Representative of the IR of Iran, Vienna, 12-16 September 2011
Agenda Item 2(a): Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety
1. I have the honour 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 77 and China wishes to thank DDG Mr. Denis Flory for presenting this agenda item, and commends the Secretariat for preparing document GOV/2011/45-GC(55)/15.
3. The Group attaches great importance to the issue of nuclear safety, which constitutes one of the important elements of a nuclear programme, and commends the Secretariat for the work carried out between July 2010 and June 2011, pursuant to the pertinent General Conference resolutions.
4. The Group notes with appreciation that the Director General's report gives a detailed coverage to the Agency's actions in response to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. The Group reiterates its appreciation for 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.
5. While recognizing that the primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests with the States, the Group believes that the Agency plays an important role in this field as provided for in Article III of the Statute. The Group stresses that the Agency must retain a central role in this field, owing to its mandatory functions, broader membership and long-standing expertise.
6. The Group fully supports the Agency's safety standards programme and notes the publication of, among others, the Safety Guide on "Establishing the Safety Infrastructure for Nuclear Power Programme" with the objective to assist Member States in applying the Agency's safety standards in a phased approach during the establishment of safety infrastructures for their nuclear power programmes. Furthermore, while recognizing the importance of this publication in providing useful guidance, the Group would like to reiterate that it should not be used as part of the Agency's safety standards or be considered the only reference for Member States embarking on a nuclear power programme and that this document, as well as others previously produced, are not binding and should not be used to restrict technical cooperation activities or interfere in the technical work of the Secretariat.
7. 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.
8. The Group maintains that the development of human resources is a key element for the sustainability of any nuclear programme and notes with satisfaction the Secretariat's continued efforts at addressing the issue of capacity building, education and training through the conduct of training programmes on specific topics while adopting a regional approach aimed at the exchange of information and best practices.
9. The Group commends in particular the efforts of the Secretariat in utilizing new technologies, such us online training courses, in an attempt to reduce costs and broaden the participation of Member States.
10. At the same time, the Group appreciates the "train for trainers" programs, which are an important tool to the future self-sufficiency of education and training activities in Member States and constitutes a vehicle to the real transference of knowledge.
11. 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 from the lessons learnt from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
12. In that sense, as indicated before, the Group expresses its appreciation for the various activities organized by the Agency for keeping Member States informed of developments relating to the accident, inter alia, through the technical briefings organized and updated information provided to Member States periodically, as well as for the visit that the Director General made to Japan in March 2011, the different IAEA expert missions sent to Japan after the accident, and holding of the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, in June 2011.
13. While thanking the efforts of the Agency in dealing with the nuclear accident in Japan, the Group expected, inter alia, more coherent and better analyzed information by the Agency on the data made available to it, in order to enable Member States to better understand the overall situation.
14. The Group fully endorses the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference, and stands ready to work closely with other Member States and the Secretariat in the prompt implementation of the Action Plan presented by the Director General to be adopted by the Policy Making Bodies, following the mandates of the Ministerial Conference.
15. The Group takes note of the holding of the 11th Meeting of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX), and would like to express its continued interest in its work. The Group also takes note of the Secretariat's report on its activities in the past year.
16. With regard to nuclear installation safety, the Group takes note with interest of the project aimed at promoting installation safety in nuclear power plants, starting from the process of site selection and continuing all the way throughout the lifetime of the plant. The Group believes this is a project of great relevance, in particular in the light of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the lessons to be learnt from it.
17. On radiation safety, the Group commends the Secretariat for its various initiatives intended in addressing the problem of occupational radiation exposure of workers in medical and industrial facilities, and encourages more efforts in this regard, particularly in several developing countries where difficulties in managing exposures still persist, due to poor equipment and insufficiencies in dosimetry and radiation protection guidelines, as well as the lack of training.
18. On transport safety, the Group appreciates the involvement of the Secretariat in promoting dialogue between coastal and shipping States, aimed at improving mutual understanding, confidence building and enhanced communication with regard to the safe maritime transport of radioactive material.
19. With regard to denials of shipment of radioactive material, the Group welcomes the progress made in implementing the action plan of the International Steering Committee in addressing this critical issue. While noting that the communication and training materials prepared by the Committee have been disseminated to the national focal points, the Group reiterates its request for the Secretariat to make an assessment of the effectiveness of these tools. As expressed before, the Group remains concerned that despite enhanced international efforts, denials and delays of shipment still persist, and encourages the Secretariat to enhance its efforts for the resolution of this problem 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. On the safety and security of radioactive sources, the Group takes note of the finalization of the Safety Guide on "National Strategy for Regaining Control over Orphan Sources" and Improving Control over Vulnerable sources, approved in October 2010.
22. The Group also notes with interest that the Secretariat has initiated a process to improve the clarity of the provisions and to facilitate the harmonized implementation of the non-legally binding Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources.
23. The Group further notes with appreciation that the assistance provided by the Agency to the requesting Member States have led to significant improvements in their national regulatory infrastructure and capabilities in handling radioactive sources and requests the Agency to continue to provide such assistance to Member States, upon request.
24. With these comments, Mr. Chairman, the Group takes note of document GOV/2011/45-GC(55)/15.
25. With regards to the preparation of the safety documents, the Group appreciates the Secretariat and the Commission of Safety Standards for the preparation of the documents GOV/2011/42, revised Basic Safety Standards on Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources, GOV/2011/43, draft Safety Requirements on Safety of Nuclear Power Plants; and GOV/2011/44, the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources: Guidance on the Important and Export of Radioactive Sources and recommends for their approval.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Agenda item 2(b) Issues related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident
1. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for preparing the Draft Action Plan on Nuclear Safety as contained in document GOV/2011/59-GC(55)/14, as well as the Report on the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, held in Vienna from 20th to 24th June 2011.
2. The Group also appreciates the efforts of the Secretariat in preparing the Draft Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.
3. The Group acknowledges that a nuclear accident may have regional and global consequences and reiterates its appreciation for the Agency's continuing efforts to promote nuclear safety worldwide. While recognizing that the primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests with the States, the Group believes that the Agency plays an important role in this field as provided for in Article III of the Statute.
4. The Group has expressed in due time its comments on the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, as well as on the various activities undertaken by the Agency following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
5. With these comments, the Group takes note of the documents GOV/2011/59-GC(55)/14 and GOV/INF/2011/13-GC(55)/INF/10.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Agenda item 3: Nuclear security, including measures to protect against nuclear and radiological terrorism / Nuclear Security Report 2011
1. The Group of 77 and China appreciates the efforts of the Secretariat in preparing the Nuclear Security Report 2011, as contained in document GOV/2011/51-GC(54)/21.
2. While appreciating the technical briefing organized by the Secretariat on Thursday 8th September 2011, the Group would have preferred to have the Nuclear Security Report made available at an earlier stage in order to allow a more fruitful exchange of views among Member States.
3. At the outset, the Group concurs with the view that the responsibility for nuclear security rests entirely with the State.
4. The Group appreciates the Agency's continued efforts at providing assistance to Member States, upon request, through the Nuclear Security Fund, in their efforts at building and enhancing sustainable national nuclear security capabilities.
5. The Group notes that the Secretariat provides the assistance, upon request, by conducting advisory missions and legislative assistance activities, as well as follow-up actions to ensure sustainability and consistency in implementing national nuclear security efforts.
6. The Group notes the increase in adherence by States to binding and non-binding international legal instruments on nuclear security. The Group welcomes the publication of two nuclear security related documents in the International Law Series: First, "The Handbook on Nuclear Law: Implementing Legislation" and second, "the International Legal Framework for Nuclear Security". The Group believes that these documents would help Member States in implementing nuclear security related legislation and also would improve the understanding on international legal instruments on nuclear security.
7. The Group also takes note of the informative session held in November 2010 aimed at facilitating the adherence to the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM).
8. The Group notes the cooperation and coordination activities undertaken by the Secretariat in nuclear security related matters. The Group is of the view that, in order to avoid duplication and overlap, the Agency should redouble its efforts to improve knowledge among other international organizations and other multilateral initiatives, of the Agency's activities, mandates and functions as well as existing cooperation and coordination mechanism under various international instruments in the nuclear security field.
9. The Group welcomes the increase in the number of States that participate in the Agency's Illicit Trafficking Database Programme. The Group, however, calls on the Secretariat to improve and to rationalize the system of reporting of incidents to the ITDB, so that they appropriately reflect actual cases of illicit trafficking. Furthermore, the Group takes note of the incident involving the attempt to sale high enriched uranium. In this context, the Group expected to have further information on the incident.
10. The Group appreciates the continued efforts of the Agency in responding to the expressed needs of Member States in developing, upon request, Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans (INSSPs) to assist them in implementing their respective national nuclear security plans in a manner that would optimize resources and avoid duplication of activities, and notes that to date, more than 60 INSSPs have been developed and are in various stages of finalization.
11. On the IAEA Nuclear Security series, the Group commends the Secretariat for the various publications at the different levels produced. The Group looks forward to the publication of the document entitled "Fundamentals of a State's Nuclear Security Regime: Objectives and Essential Elements", containing objectives, concepts and principles of nuclear security.
12. On nuclear security guidance document, while welcoming the initiative of the Advisory Group on Nuclear Security (AdSec) and the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) on short-term measures to enhance interactions with Member States in the development of nuclear security series documents, the Group would like to reiterate that the long term question of establishing one series of Agency Standards, covering both safety and security, should be dealt with caution, considering the unique nature of the safety and security domains and their distinct implementation. The Group understands that the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee will be open-ended and will function in line with the committees for the preparation of nuclear safety documents.
13. On nuclear security services, the Group welcomes the Agency's activities for capacity-building in Member States, particularly in developing countries which are confronted with the challenge of maintaining adequate human resources with the required training and competence.
14. The Group notes with appreciation that during the period covered by this report, the Agency provided nuclear security training to more than 1,650 participants from over 110 Member States, in the areas of prevention, detection and response. The Group also notes with appreciation the publication of the Agency's interactive eLearning programme on the use of radiation detection equipment, available in all official UN languages, aimed both at increasing knowledge about the basic functions of radiation detection instruments and at improving skills in detecting and responding to incidents involving the presence of radioactive material outside of the regulatory control.
15. With regard to Nuclear Security Education, the Group welcomes the various cooperation activities carried out by the Secretariat to provide to educational institutions guidance on the implementation of nuclear security related courses and programs.
16. The Group notes that the Agency continued to provide assistance to requesting Member States in the repatriation of high enriched uranium.
17. On issues related to effective border control, the Group reiterates that, in addition to capable human resources, effective nuclear security also requires adequate physical protection systems. Therefore, the Group welcomes the provision of more than 280 radiation detection instruments to 15 Member States aimed at supporting their efforts at establishing effective border controls, and encourages the continuation of such assistance.
18. Finally, with regard to the goals and priorities for 2011, while appreciating the variety of services, provided by the Agency on nuclear security related issues, the Group believes that these activities should be funded from the Nuclear Security Fund. In that sense, any attempt to review the existing Nuclear Security Plan, or the next one, should take into account this concern expressed by the Group.
19. With these remarks, the Group takes note of document GOV/2011/51-GC(54)/21.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Agenda item 4: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the G77 and China on Agenda item 5: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications.
2. The Group 77 and China wishes to thank the Director General for the preparing of the document GOV/2011/48-GC (55)/17 and Deputy Director General Mr. Mohamad Daud for presenting this agenda item.
3. At the outset, the Group continues to attach due importance to the development of nuclear energy and to its peaceful applications in the socio-economic uplift of developing countries.
4. The Group underscores the importance of increased transfer of technology to developing countries, and therefore, urges the Agency to continue providing training and education, supporting national laboratories and further enhancing the coordinated research program. The Group also welcomes the contributions made to various Agency projects, and calls on States in a position to do so to continue providing such funding support.
5. On Annex 1, the Group attaches great importance to the Program of Action for Cancer and Therapy (PACT), as one of the flagships programs of the Agency in terms of provisions of technical assistance, as well as successful example of development of synergies and complementarities with other UN bodies, namely the World Health Organization (WHO). The Group commends the Director General for his initiative to select cancer as a key focus area for 2010. Being aware of the impact of cancer as a serious disease, the Group appreciates the TC projects carried out in all regions aimed at strengthening capacities to detect and provide treatment to this disease, in particular in the developing world.
6. The Group further appreciates the external financial and in kind support for this programme from various Member States and organizations which enables the implementation of various activities, such as imPACT reviews and Pact Model Demonstration Sites (PMDS) and encourages such noble efforts. The Group also encourages the Agency to further enhance its efforts to foster South-South cooperation.
7. On Annex 2, "Support to the African Union's Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign (AU-PATTEC)", the Group appreciates the Agency's continuous efforts to support the AU-PATTEC Plan of Action through TC projects providing training, expert services and equipment to countries in the African region affected by this problem. The Group encourages the continuation of these activities to successfully eradicate tsetse and Trypanosomosis from the African continent.
8. The Group encourages Member States to contribute additional funds in order to ensure the sustainability of the program.
9. On Annex 3, "Use of Isotope Hydrology for Water Resources Management", the Group welcomes the various activities carried out by the Agency in promoting the use of isotopes for water resources management and related areas, including the awareness raising activities, as well as activities aimed at expanding the access to isotope techniques. The Group takes note with satisfaction that the year 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the Agency's global isotope monitoring networks for precipitation (GNIP). The Group welcomes the initiative of the Director General to convene the Scientific Forum "Water Matters: Making a Difference with Nuclear Techniques", to be held in conjunction with the General Conference from 20th to 21st September 2011.
10. The Group also appreciates the technical cooperation projects implemented in various regions, in particular those contributing to train human resources in isotope techniques in the planning, development and sustained management of water resources.
11. Regarding Annex 4, "Nuclear Energy Activities", the Group reaffirms the interest of Member States in considering the introduction of nuclear power in their energy mix.
12. While noting that the annually updated projections for global growth in nuclear power made in spring 2011 were lower than the projections made in 2010, the Group still believes that nuclear energy, as a proven, clean, safe and competitive technology, will make an increasing contribution to the sustainable development of human kind throughout the 21st century and beyond. The Group encourages the Agency to play a central role towards realization of this goal particularly in the developing countries.
13. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Group encourages Member States to look at ways of further strengthening nuclear safety.
14. The Group notes that the number of new reactors under construction is at its highest level since 1992, with 65 reactors being built in 15 countries. In this regard, the Group appreciates the guidelines prepared by the Agency on project management in Nuclear Power Plant construction, which provides advice and guidance on project management from the preparatory phase through commissioning.
15. The Group also notes with satisfaction that International Nuclear Information System (INIS) membership increased to 150, including Member States and International Organizations.
16. With regard to Annex 5, "Producing Potable Water Economically using Small and Medium-sized Nuclear reactors", the Group appreciates the continuation of the works of the Technical Working Group on Nuclear Desalination, and encourages it to produce recommendations on technical assistance projects that could be implemented in Member States. The Group takes note of the beginning of a Coordinated Research Project on New Technologies for Water Desalination using Nuclear Energy, and looks forward for the final report and conclusions of the project on Advances in Nuclear Power Process Heat Applications, concluded in 2009.
17. The Group takes notes with satisfaction that various projects on desalination through nuclear techniques are currently being implemented in Member States. The Group encourages the Agency to keep on supporting Member States on their national efforts.
18. On Annex 6, "Agency's Activities in the Development of Innovative Nuclear Technology", the Group takes note with satisfaction that 2010 marked the 10th anniversary of the Agency's International Project on Innovative Nuclear reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO). The Group also notes that it had increased its membership to 33 Member States, representing now 75% of the world's domestic product and 65% of the world's population.
19. The Group notes with appreciation the various activities carried out during 2010 for the implementation of the INPRO Action Plan for 2010-2011, comprising activities and collaborative projects in six substantive areas. The Group further notes with appreciation that significant progresses have been made in all these areas in the past year.
20. The Group 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 enhanced.
21. The Group notes with appreciation the Agency's role in monitoring worldwide activities on advanced and innovative technology development, fostering collaboration among Member States on selected innovative nuclear technologies and related R&D through several Technical Working Groups and through Coordinated Research Projects.
22. On Annex 7, "Small and Medium-sized Reactors (SMRs) - Development and Deployment", the Group supports the various activities undertaken by the Agency to assist Member States in developing safe, secure, economically viable and proliferation resistant SMRs. In this regard, the Group takes note with appreciation of the coordinated research projects on Small Reactors without refuelling, as well as the project on Development of Methodologies for the Assessment of Passive Safety System Performance in Advance Reactors carried out by the Secretariat.
23. The Group also takes note that worldwide 132 SMR units are in operation in 25 Member States. Furthermore, the innovative SMR concepts being developed represent an opportunity for various nuclear related activities, such as electricity generation, heat production for desalination, hydrogen generation, as well as other applications. The Group encourages the Secretariat to do its utmost to support Member States in the conduction of these innovative projects.
24. Finally, on Annex 8, "Supporting Infrastructure Development for Nuclear Power", the Group appreciates the Agency's activities related to the introduction of nuclear power covering wide range of technical topics, including workforce planning, human resource development and fostering competent regulatory systems in developing countries.
25. While welcoming the establishment in 2010 of the Technical Working Group on Nuclear Power Infrastructure as a body to provide advice and guidance to Member States considering or introducing nuclear power, the Group stresses that any restructuring should not undermine the role of the TC Department in the selection, approval and implementation of projects.
26. The Group also values the Agency's Secretariat efforts in developing guidance and other documents, creating forums to share lessons learned and best practices, and providing technical assistance in the form of capacity building and review services. Finally, the Group urges the Secretariat to continue to pursue integrated approaches to sustainable nuclear power development, particularly in developing countries.
27. With these comments, the Group takes note of document GOV/2011/48-GC (55)/17.
Thank you Mr. Chairman
Agenda item 6 - Other matters arising from the fifty-first (2009) and fifty-second (2010) regular sessions of the General Conference
(b) Personnel matters
(i) Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat and (ii) Women in the Secretariat
1. The Group 77 and China would like to thank the Director General for his reports contained in GOV/2011/49-GC(55)/19 and GOV/2011/49-GC(55)/20, on Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat and Women in the Secretariat, respectively.
2.The Group notes the Secretariat's continuing efforts to improve, pursuant to General Conference resolutions, its recruitment practices with regard to staff members from developing countries, particularly of women, and from other G-77 Member States which are unrepresented or underrepresented in the Secretariat.
3.The Group notes that during the period 01 June 2009 to 01 June 2011, 27.6% of all 333 appointments came from developing Member States, which represents a decrease with respect to the previous biennium. Therefore, the Group remains concerned that this percentage is still inadequate, and encourages the Secretariat to exert more effort to increase the number of staff from developing countries.
4.The Group notes the Secretariat's projection indicating that, as a result of staff retirements and the application of the rotation policy, 307 of the 950 regular Professional staff positions in the Agency's Secretariat will become vacant during the period up to 2018. In this regard, the Group urges the Secretariat to take advantage of this opportunity and work with Member States in order to fully implement General Conference resolutions on recruitment and staffing.
5. The Group further notes with concern the low percentage of consultants from developing countries holding Special Service Agreements. Moreover, the Group requests the Agency to rationalize the policy of hiring consultants, exercise transparency in their hiring and, when necessary to hire them, apply the policy of equitable geographical distribution, and to continue to identify the nationalities of consultants holding Special Service Agreements in future reports.
6. Finally, on the recruitment of women, the Group also notes with concern the decline to 23.2 % of external appointments in the overall number of women recruited. The Group also takes note of the meetings of, and continued coordination by the Secretariat with, Points of Contact for the Recruitment of Women, and looks forward to their positive results. The Group, however, wishes to emphasize that implementation of the General Conference resolution on Women in the Secretariat should not prejudice the implementation of the General Conference resolution on Staffing of the Agency's Secretariat.
7. With these comments, the Group notes the documents GOV/2011/49-GC(55)/19 and GOV/2011/49-GC(55)/20.