Director General Mohamed ElBaradei
Opens IAEA Meeting with Address
to the Board of Governors

 

--- Four articles ---

 

 

September 29, 2008

 


                                                                       
Contents

 

                        IAEA chief urges Iran to end secrecy (Associated Press article)

 

                        IAEA at critical crossroad (Associated Press article)

 

                        Full Text of ElBaradei's Opening Statement to Board of Governors

                                    - Nuclear Applications 

                                    - Nuclear Power 

                                    - Nuclear Verification 

                                    - Application of Safeguards in the Middle East 

                                    - Nuclear Safety and Security 

                                    - Emergency Preparedness and Response 

                                    - Technical Cooperation Programme 

                                    - Management Issues 

                                    - Report of Commission of Eminent Persons

                                                                - Democratic People's Republic of Korea
                                    - Islamic Republic of Iran
                                    - Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

 

                                                Abridged Version of ElBaradei's Opening Statement

 

 


IAEA chief urges Iran to end
its nuclear secrecy


George Jahn

 

Associated Press
September 29, 2008

 

A six-year probe has not ruled out the possibility that Iran may be running clandestine nuclear programs, the chief U.N. nuclear inspector said Monday, urging Iran to reassure the world by ending its secretive ways.

On the opening session Monday at the International Atomic Energy Agency's 145-nation conference, Europe also urged Tehran to fully cooperate with a U.N. probe that is trying to assess all of its past and present nuclear activities.

"The international community cannot accept the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons," the EU said in a statement.

Israel also took Iran to task for co-sponsoring Islamic attempts to label the Jewish state a nuclear danger to the Middle East.

"What moral standing poses sponsors of this agenda item, who do not recognize Israel's right to exist while criticizing Israel policies aiming at securing its very existence?" asked Israeli delegate Schaul Chorev.

He was alluding to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Iran, along with ally Syria, figures directly at the Vienna conference because they are among four nations seeking their geographic region's nomination for a seat on the IAEA's decision-making 35-nation board.

Tehran is running to counteract a U.S. push to have Afghanistan or Kazakhstan elected over Syria, which is under IAEA investigation for allegedly hiding a secret nuclear program, including a nearly completed plutonium producing reactor destroyed last year by Israel.

If the regional group does not agree on a candidate, the conference will be asked to vote on which nation should take the board seat.

In his opening speech, chief U.N nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, focused on Iran's refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program and alleged past plans to develop the bomb.

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Saturday critical of Tehran's defiance on uranium enrichment, which can create both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads.

"(Iran should) implement all transparency measures ... required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program," ElBaradei said. "This will be good for Iran, good for the Middle East region and good for the world."

Appealing for more funds, he also warned that his organization is increasingly stretched in trying to carry out responsibilities that include nonproliferation and preventing terrorists from acquiring the bomb.

The annual meeting allows the agency's member countries to set policies that range from strengthening nonproliferation to carrying out medical and scientific research. But tensions between Islamic members and the West threaten to hamper decision-making this year.

The tradition of consensus has normally led all sides to bridge sometimes substantial differences and opt for compromise for most of the conference's 52-year history. A vote is unusual and considered a dent in the meeting's credibility.

But frustration among Muslim countries over Israel's refusal to put its nuclear program under international purview, and resistance from Israel to Muslim pressure on the issue, threatens to force a vote for the third year running.

Muslim IAEA members were expected to put forward a resolution urging all Mideast nations to refrain from testing or developing nuclear arms and urging nuclear weapons states "to refrain from any action" hindering a Mideast nuclear-free zone.

After losing this vote two consecutive years, Islamic nations are threatening to up the ante this year, warning they will call for a ballot on every item, no matter how uncontroversial, unless they get conference backing on the Israeli nuclear issue.

Arab members — backed by Iran — this year have again asked conference organizers to include an item on Israel — a move being protested by Israel.

Focusing on Israel by name "is substantially unwarranted and flawed," said a letter prepared for review by the conference from Israel Michaeli, the Jewish state's IAEA representative.

Sponsors of the item should instead "address the most pressing proliferation concerns in the Middle East," the letter said, an allusion to Iran's defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusal to stop uranium enrichment.

Dozens of nuclear organizations are using the meeting to stage events of their own. The Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative launched a new organization, the World Institute for Nuclear Security, which aims to prevent terrorists from getting the bomb by providing a forum for nuclear specialists.

"If we didn't have WINS we should have invented it, because it fills an urgent gap in our need to strengthen the (nuclear) security system," said ElBaradei.

Associated Press writer Angela Woebking contributed to this report.


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Director General Sees IAEA
at a Critical Crossroads

Statement to General Conference
Underlines Hard Decisions Ahead

IAEA General Conference

29 September 2008

 

 

   

Mohamed ElBaradei delivers his opening
statement to the 52nd IAEA General
Conference. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)


All is "not well" at the world´s top nuclear organization, IAEA Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, informed his membership today. He spoke in Vienna at the opening of the week-long General Conference of the Agency´s 145 Member States.

"The problems facing the world in the nuclear arena are plain for all of us to see," he said in his opening statement. "But I must stand here today and let you know that all is not well with the IAEA."

Dr. ElBaradei´s statement reviewed tough challenges and hard decisions being faced, in areas of nuclear safeguards, security, safety, and peaceful development. He cited a comprehensive report completed this year by a distinguished external group that calls for far greater financial resources and authority.

"We really have reached a turning point," he said. The Agency can do much to meet the world´s nuclear challenges, he emphasized - if given the authority, resources, personnel, and technology. "Making the Agency more effective is critical to international security and to development."

The General Conference this year features a two-day Scientific Forum on the IAEA´s future. Hundreds of delegates and governmental representatives are expected at the Forum, which opens Tuesday, 30 September.

Excerpts of the Director General´s statement in key areas follow. The full text is accessible here.

Nuclear Applications: "The problems faced by developing countries in fighting hunger and disease are enormous. But they are not insurmountable. The benefits of nuclear applications are potentially huge in relation to the costs. I do hope the Agency will be able to continue to increase its efforts in this field in the decades to come."

The Director General singled out the work of the Joint Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the IAEA for the world´s food security. "Regrettably, the FAO has taken steps towards ending its involvement in the Joint Division," he said. "This would be unfortunate. The FAO Conference may make a decision in November. After discussions with Member States and with the FAO itself, we look forward to a positive decision that will ensure the continuation of this valuable FAO-IAEA cooperation."

He pointed to increasing demand for technical cooperation from developing countries in fields of food security, health care, and others. He emphasized that IAEA resources "have long been insufficient to keep pace with requests for support" and outlined ways to strengthen support and collaboration.

Nuclear Power: "Every country has the right to introduce nuclear power, as well as the responsibility to do it right. In the last two years, some 50 Member States have expressed interest in considering the possible introduction of nuclear power and asked for Agency support. Twelve countries are actively preparing to introduce nuclear power. Increased demand for assistance has been particularly strong from developing countries, which seek expert and impartial advice in analysing their options and choosing the best energy mix."

Dr. ElBaradei underlined the importance of a national nuclear infrastructure for countries interested in the nuclear power option. "If countries decide to proceed with nuclear power, the Agency can help them in building up the infrastructure, legislation and regulations, and provide guidance on soliciting bids, choosing sites and starting construction."

Nuclear Verification: "Effective nuclear verification, as I have said many times, requires four essential elements: adequate legal authority, state-of-the-art technology, timely access to all relevant information, and sufficient human and financial resources. Despite some progress, we still have shortcomings in all four areas... Despite the challenges, I am pleased to note that we have been able to make considerable progress in clarifying complex issues concerning the peaceful nature of the nuclear programmes of some States, such as the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, which had previously been reported to the Board. Furthermore, we are now implementing integrated safeguards in 29 States compared with 20 last year.

Dr. ElBaradei further reviewed safeguards developments concerning Iran and the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea.

Nuclear Safety & Security: "A global nuclear safety and security regime is in place to promote high levels of safety and security worldwide through robust national infrastructures, IAEA standards and review services, supported by international conventions and codes of conduct. Nevertheless, both safety and security require continued vigilance and should always be considered works in progress. We must work together to close the gaps that exist today in the coverage of international conventions and codes of conduct."

The Director General noted that the Agency is marking the 50th Anniversary of the IAEA Safety Standards Programme for nuclear installations this year. In the area of emergency planning, he expressed concern about the Agency´s ability to respond effectively to a major nuclear accident. "The Incident and Emergency Centre needs additional capacity to respond to a possible large scale accident and to assist more Member States to build their own emergency response capability. Funding for this is urgently required."


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Mohamed ElBardei's Opening Statement
to the IAEA Board of Goverors


Full Text of Statement

 

                                                                     Topics

                                             - Nuclear Applications 
                                             - Nuclear Power 
                                                                                                               
- Nuclear Verification 
                                                                                                               
- Application of Safeguards in the Middle East 
                                                                               
             - Nuclear Safety and Security 
                                             -
Emergency Preparedness and Response
 
                                             -
Technical Cooperation Programme
 
                                                                                                                
- Management Issues 
                                             -
Report of Commission of Eminent Persons

                                             -
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
                                             -
Islamic Republic of Iran
                                             -
Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya



Tradition requires that, at the start of every IAEA General Conference, the Director General stands before you and reports on the work the Agency has done in the previous year. The work of my colleagues has been excellent in the past 12 months. I am very proud of them. But I must stand here today and let you know that all is not well with the IAEA. As I told the Board of Governors in June, there is a disconnect between what you, the Member States, are asking us to do, and the legal authority and resources available to us. This will hamper our effectiveness, sooner rather than later, if it is not addressed.

I will elaborate on this in a moment. First, however, I would like to give you a general overview of the work of the Agency in the year since the last General Conference so you can see where we stand today. I will start with nuclear applications.

Nuclear Applications

The surge in global food prices has pushed millions of people deeper into poverty and hunger. A new report from the World Bank last month showed that there are more poor people in the world than previously thought. Some 1.4 billion people in the developing world live on less than $1.25 per day. The number of poor people in Sub-Saharan Africa has nearly doubled since 1981 to around 380 million.

This makes the work done by the Joint Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IAEA even more important. Its work includes using nuclear techniques to make food crops more resistant to disease, to boost crop yields and to combat pests and animal diseases. In Africa, for example, technical support from the Joint Division has helped 24 countries to eradicate the deadly cattle disease rinderpest. Our work in combating the fruit fly in Latin America has created a large area free of this pest, stretching from Chile into southern Peru and all the way north to Guatemala.

Regrettably, the FAO has taken steps towards ending its involvement in the Joint Division. This would be unfortunate. The FAO Conference may make a decision in November. After discussions with Member States and with the FAO itself, we look forward to a positive decision that will ensure the continuation of this valuable FAO-IAEA cooperation.

Cancer claims millions of lives every year. The work of the IAEA´s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) has helped to ensure that cancer patients in developing countries have access to radiation treatment. The Agency also assists countries in developing the capacity to produce their own radiopharmaceuticals, used in nuclear imaging procedures, which can significantly reduce costs. The need for cancer treatment is vast and we are only scratching the surface, but for the individual cancer patients who benefit, the limited assistance we are able to provide can mean the difference between life and death. Naturally, we could do so much more to help vulnerable people if adequate funding was provided.

The problems faced by developing countries in fighting hunger and disease are enormous. But they are not insurmountable. The benefits of nuclear applications are potentially huge in relation to the costs. I do hope the Agency will be able to continue to increase its efforts in this field in the decades to come.

Nuclear Power

Let me now turn to nuclear power. There are now 439 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries and the number of new plants under construction stands at 36. The Agency´s updated projections continue to show a significant increase in the use of nuclear energy by 2030, with nuclear power capacity possibly doubling. However, total electricity generation from all sources could well double also, in which case nuclear power´s share of total generation would hold steady around the current level of about 14 percent.

Nuclear power has obvious attractions for both developing and developed countries. Developing countries need access to electricity to help lift their people out of poverty and many are turning to the Agency for guidance on how to proceed. They are concerned about the fluctuating prices of oil and other fossil fuels and about uncertainty of supply, as well as about climate change.

Every country has the right to introduce nuclear power, as well as the responsibility to do it right. In the last two years, some 50 Member States have expressed interest in considering the possible introduction of nuclear power and asked for Agency support. Twelve countries are actively preparing to introduce nuclear power. Increased demand for assistance has been particularly strong from developing countries, which seek expert and impartial advice in analysing their options and choosing the best energy mix.

Last year, we issued a guidance document entitled Milestones in the Development of National Nuclear Infrastructure, which attracted considerable interest. We will develop further practical guidance to help countries meet these milestones. If countries decide to proceed with nuclear power, the Agency can help them in building up the infrastructure, legislation and regulations, and provide guidance on soliciting bids, choosing sites and starting construction. For this we have established a practice of integrated missions, involving all parts of the Agency Secretariat, to identify national infrastructure preparedness and develop a work plan for Agency assistance.

The use of these review services should be a prerequisite at every stage of a State´s nuclear power development. Naturally, we are not the sole source of expertise, but for many countries our impartial advice is essential. I should emphasize, however, that the primary responsibility always lies with the individual Member States. The countries which make the greatest progress are those which commit their own national resources, including people, to developing their infrastructure.

Decommissioning needs will also grow. Our updated projections show that between 80 and 150 power reactors will be retired by 2030. An additional 100 to 150 research reactors will also be retired in this period. A year ago, we launched a Network of Centres of Excellence for Decommissioning to improve the flow of knowledge and experience.

An expansion of nuclear power will also create new demand for spent fuel management and waste disposal. The management of spent fuel and disposal of high level radioactive waste remain key challenges for the nuclear power industry. Experts agree that the geological disposal of high level radioactive waste is safe and technologically feasible. However, public opinion will remain sceptical at least until the first deep geological repositories are operational in a decade or so. In the meantime, the trend has been to use above-ground interim storage facilities. The Agency plays a key role in facilitating the flow of information from States which are most advanced in developing disposal facilities to others which are less advanced.

Nuclear Verification

The world of nuclear safeguards has changed considerably over the last few years. We have seen non-State actors playing an active role in several proliferation cases, while a number of States have made efforts to clandestinely develop their nuclear fuel cycle. The focus of safeguards therefore continues to shift from mechanistic verification of declared nuclear material to an information driven system aimed at understanding and assessing the consistency of information on a State´s nuclear programme as a whole.

Effective nuclear verification, as I have said many times, requires four essential elements: adequate legal authority, state-of-the-art technology, timely access to all relevant information, and sufficient human and financial resources. Despite some progress, we still have shortcomings in all four areas.

To start with legal authority: it is more than ten years since the Model Additional Protocol was approved by the Board of Governors. Of the 163 States with safeguards agreements, 88 now have additional protocols in force - not much more than half. Regrettably, progress has not been as fast as we would have expected. It is also disconcerting that 30 States party to the NPT have not even brought into force their required comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency. As I have said repeatedly, without safeguards agreements, the Agency cannot provide any assurance about a State´s nuclear activities, and without additional protocols, we cannot provide credible assurances regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. I therefore urge all States that have not yet done so to bring their comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols into force without delay.

In order to develop and deploy appropriate state-of-the-art technologies, we need more funding for safeguards related research and development. This would enable us to continuously improve our in-field verification of declared nuclear material and to better detect undeclared nuclear material and activities.

I have voiced my concern on several occasions regarding the ageing technical infrastructure and equipment at our Safeguards Analytical Laboratory, which is key to the Agency´s effectiveness and independence in performing its verification mission. With the support of the Board of Governors, a project to renovate the Laboratory has been initiated. However, full funding to complete the project has still not been secured. This is core Agency business which must be put on a sound long term financial footing.

Our safeguards staff do an excellent job, but they are increasingly overstretched. Although there has been a reduction of inspection effort in the field due to the implementation of integrated safeguards and other efficiency measures, there has been a substantial increase in activities at headquarters in connection with the assessment of additional protocol declarations, information analysis and State evaluations, as well as additional activities in connection with new facilities coming under safeguards.

The shift to information driven safeguards also underscores the increasing need for an up-to-date information system. I am pleased to note the completion of the first stage of the ISIS Re-engineering Project (IRP), which will upgrade the information systems used to collect, store, analyse and evaluate safeguards data. But I must again draw attention to the shortage of funding to complete this project.

Despite the challenges, I am pleased to note that we have been able to make considerable progress in clarifying complex issues concerning the peaceful nature of the nuclear programmes of some States, such as the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, which had previously been reported to the Board. Furthermore, we are now implementing integrated safeguards in 29 States compared with 20 last year.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea
Monitoring and verification of the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has continued, with the cooperation of the DPRK. The DPRK authorities last week asked our inspectors to remove seals and surveillance equipment to enable them to carry out tests at the reprocessing plant. They also informed the inspectors that they planned to introduce nuclear material to the reprocessing plant in one week´s time - that means this week - and that the inspectors would have no further access to the reprocessing plant.

Nevertheless, I still hope that conditions can be created for the DPRK to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the earliest possible date and for the resumption by the Agency of comprehensive safeguards.

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Six years have elapsed since the Agency began intensive work aimed at clarifying Iran´s nuclear programme. Substantial progress has been made, especially regarding the scope and nature of Iran´s uranium enrichment programme. We have been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.

However, I regret that we are still not in a position to make progress regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Although Iran has so far produced only a limited quantity of low enriched uranium, which remains under Agency safeguards, this is still a cause for concern for the international community in the absence of full clarity about Iran´s past and present nuclear programme. This concern has been expressed by the Board of Governors and in a number of Security Council resolutions.

I urge Iran to implement all the transparency measures, including the additional protocol, required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date. This will be good for Iran, good for the Middle East region and good for the whole world.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Socialist People´s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
As you will recall, Libya has acknowledged that its past nuclear programme, from the mid 1980s until 2003, was aimed at the development of nuclear weapons. But it stated that it did not proceed with the design of nuclear weapons, nor did it have a complete fissile material production capability. Libya provided the Agency unrestricted and prompt access, beyond that required under its Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, to locations, information and individuals requested by the Agency.

The Agency did not find any indications of actual work related to nuclear weapons development. I am pleased that the Agency is now able to implement safeguards in Libya in a routine manner. We will continue to work to reach a conclusion about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country.

The Agency was disturbed to learn that sensitive information provided by the clandestine supply network to Libya, some of which related to uranium centrifuge enrichment and - even more worrisome - nuclear weapon design, existed in electrronic form, making it easy to disseminate. Clearly, this is a matter of serious concern. It makes it all the more important for the Agency to have the legal authority, through the additional protocol, to provide assurance that there is no undeclared nuclear material in a country with a comprehensive safeguards agreement. We will continue, in cooperation with Member States, to investigate the activities of the clandestine network, insofar as they relate to the Agency´s mandate.

Application of Safeguards in the Middle East
In line with the mandate given to me by the General Conference, I have continued my consultations with the States of the Middle East on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region, and on the development of model safeguards agreements as a necessary step towards establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region. Once again, I regret to say that I cannot report progress on either front.

Following recent consultations with Member States in the Middle East, it seems that a convergence of views is emerging on the convening of a forum on the experience of other regions with existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, and on the relevance of this for the Middle East. But there is still no consensus on the agenda and the issues which such a forum would need to address. I will continue my consultations with Member States in the Middle East with a view to convening a productive forum as early as practicable.

Nuclear Safety and Security

A global nuclear safety and security regime is in place to promote high levels of safety and security worldwide through robust national infrastructures, IAEA standards and review services, supported by international conventions and codes of conduct. Nevertheless, both safety and security require continued vigilance and should always be considered works in progress. We must work together to close the gaps that exist today in the coverage of international conventions and codes of conduct.

Overall, nuclear safety has improved significantly but the risk of accidents persists. It is essential to ensure that a true safety culture takes root worldwide, not least in countries new to nuclear power.

The Agency is proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IAEA Safety Standards programme. We continue to upgrade our safety standards, including addressing threats to nuclear installations from extreme natural hazards such as volcanoes and tsunamis. In response to increasing Member States´ concerns, we established an International Seismic Safety Centre, which will pool expert knowledge and assist nuclear operators and regulators in the aftermath of major seismic events.

The Agency has also strengthened its programme to protect medical patients and staff from exposure to medical radiation. Together with the World Health Organization, we are now in a leading position in training health professionals in radiation protection.

During the past year, we have focused on enhancing physical security arrangements at nuclear facilities and other locations with nuclear or radioactive materials. The Agency provided assistance to States in repatriating high enriched uranium research reactor fuel and vulnerable radioactive sources, establishing effective border controls, and developing comprehensive approaches to national nuclear security. We also supported security for major public events, including the Beijing Olympic Games.

We know that the potential for a malicious act involving nuclear or other radioactive material remains real. The IAEA´s Illicit Trafficking Database programme, whose membership has now risen to 100 countries, contains information on incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive material. The number of incidents reported to the Agency indicates ongoing weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

One waste management issue which is also closely related to nuclear security is the management of disused radioactive sources. We need to increase our efforts to recover and secure orphan sources, in particular. The Agency has developed special transportable hot cell equipment that can now be used to make such sources safe, even in difficult locations.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

As the use of nuclear energy expands, the international community must enhance its ability to respond to nuclear and radiation emergencies caused by accidents or malicious acts. The Incident and Emergency Centre was created in 2005 to meet this challenge. In addition, a new Response Assistance Network (RANET), designed to coordinate Member State assistance in the event of a radiation incident or emergency, has now become operational.

However, I am concerned about the Agency´s ability to respond effectively to a major nuclear accident. The Incident and Emergency Centre needs additional capacity to respond to a possible large scale accident and to assist more Member States to build their own emergency response capability. Funding for this is urgently required.

Technical Cooperation Programme

No sustainable human development is possible without security and no lasting security is achievable without development. Development activities remain central to our work. Demand for technical cooperation from developing countries continues to grow. Our resources have long been insufficient to keep pace with requests for support, and we have increasingly made use of partnerships with other organizations, regional collaborations and country to country support.

A new three year Technical Cooperation Programme has been finalized. There is an emerging trend, especially in Europe, for Member States to focus less on national projects and more on regional activities. In general, regional programming has been strengthened and is more clearly targeted on common priorities. Member States with more developed nuclear sectors play a key role in supporting regional projects, sharing their expertise with other countries in the region. The new programme contains an emphasis on food and agriculture, human health and natural resources. Requests for support for energy planning and nuclear energy projects are also increasing and safety is a constant element in all projects.

The agreement on a Technical Cooperation Fund target of $85 million is welcome, but the process of establishing the target could be made more efficient and less time-consuming if it was based on agreed criteria. This would speed up the negotiations and enhance transparency. The Secretariat will prepare proposals on how this could be done.

I again emphasize that technical cooperation is not a bargaining chip, part of a political "balance" between the development and safeguards activities of the Agency. Our development work is founded on technical expertise and driven by comparative advantage. Nuclear applications provide immense benefits and show clearly measurable results. The Agency has shown itself to be a reliable partner across a wide range of activities.

Management Issues

To turn briefly to management issues, I am pleased that agreement has been reached to fund the introduction of an Agency-wide Information System for Programme Support (AIPS). This will improve efficiency and accountability, bringing greater transparency and improved internal control to our financial and procurement operations. It will also enable us to introduce International Public Sector Accounting Standards within a few years.

Report of Commission of Eminent Persons

I will now return to the subject of the future of the Agency.

In its first 50 years, the Agency has proven its value as a key instrument, both for enabling developing countries to use science and technology for development, and for maintaining international security. It has shown itself capable of adapting to changing circumstances and the diverse needs of Member States.

But we really have reached a turning point. Years of zero growth budgets have left us with a failing infrastructure and a troubling dependence on voluntary support, which invariably has conditions attached. For example, no less than 90 percent of our nuclear security programme, which is aimed in part at stopping terrorists from obtaining nuclear material, depends on voluntary funding. I repeat - 90 percent of our nuclear security programme depends on voluntary funding. In nuclear safety, the figure is 30 percent and in verification it is 15 percent. Technical cooperation funds continue to lag well behind the pressing needs of developing countries.

All of these are core Agency activities and it is imperative that they should have adequate, stable and predictable resources. Put that together with our insufficient legal authority in key areas such as verification, safety and security and it is clear that our ability to do our job properly is being seriously compromised.

I have voiced these concerns on many occasions. Last year, I appointed an independent Commission of Eminent Persons to examine our work and make recommendations for the future of the Agency up to 2020 and beyond. This was an experienced and knowledgeable panel, comprising former heads of government, ministers, top scientists and diplomats, from both developed and developing countries.

Their report was published in May. The Commission members, under the able leadership of former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, did not disappoint. They produced a report which is compelling, thoughtful and profound. Their recommendations - some of them bold and far-reaching - concern all aspects of the Agency´s work. My aim in appointing the Commission was to trigger discussion among Member States on how the Agency can best contribute to achieving their common goals of development, peace and security in the decades ahead. The Commission´s proposals provide an excellent starting point and deserve serious scrutiny. I will highlight just a few.

First, the Commission says the Agency, working with supplier and donor States, should help "newcomer" States to put in place the necessary infrastructure to launch nuclear energy programmes safely, securely and peacefully. The Agency should also give high priority to establishing multilateral fuel cycle arrangements, covering both the front and the back end of the cycle. That means everything from developing an assurance of supply mechanism for nuclear fuel to taking care of waste disposal and plant decommissioning.

Second, the Commission says the Technical Cooperation Fund should be increased substantially. Our technical cooperation programme, focusing on using nuclear applications in food and agriculture, human health and natural resources, needs to be expanded. That means doing more to address global food security and water shortages, as well as fighting cancer.

Third, in order to help address the threat of nuclear terrorism, the Commission urges you, the Member States, to negotiate binding agreements to set effective global nuclear security standards and to give the Agency the tools and authority to help ensure they are implemented.

A fourth key proposal is that the Agency should lead an international effort to establish a global nuclear safety network, also based on binding agreements. Countries should submit to mandatory international nuclear safety peer reviews.

Fifth, the Agency´s safeguards activities should be strengthened. That means better equipment, more staff and funding, as well as more legal authority.

In connection with safeguards, I should note that nuclear disarmament, the core of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, has been on the back burner for far too long. As the Commission says, "States must recommit to the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons." The Commission notes that the IAEA is not the lead Agency for nuclear disarmament, but adds: "Progress towards disarmament, or the lack of it, will deeply affect the success of the IAEA´s non-proliferation mission." One of the Commission members, former Senator Sam Nunn, put it succinctly when he said: "Whenever non-proliferation is discussed, nuclear disarmament is the elephant in the corner that´s hard to ignore."

As the Commission acknowledges, this is a bold agenda. It is now up to you to decide what kind of Agency you want. If we carry on with business as usual, the Agency´s effectiveness and the value of the services we provide to you will gradually be eroded.

The sums proposed by the Commission to put things right are modest - a once-off injection of 80 million euros to refurbish our laboratories and emergency response capability, and a gradual doubling of the budget by 2020. Weighed against the costs of a nuclear accident - which can total untold billions of dollars, as in the case of Chernobyl - or of a terrorist attack involving nuclear materials, this is insignificant. Likewise, the potential benefit to developing countries from using nuclear applications is huge.

This is not just about money. The Agency does not work in a vacuum. Political commitment to the goals of the Agency needs to be renewed at the highest level to encourage the transfer of nuclear technology to the developing world and to strengthen safety and security, non-proliferation and disarmament.

It is nearly four years since the UN Secretary General´s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change described the IAEA as an "extraordinary bargain." Sadly, since then, almost nothing has changed as far as our resources and authority are concerned. The problems facing the world in the nuclear arena are plain for all of us to see. The Agency can do much to address them, if given the authority, resources, personnel and technology. It would be a tragedy of epic proportions if we fail to act until after a nuclear conflagration, accident or terrorist attack that could have been prevented.

Making the Agency more effective is therefore critical to international security and to development. The report of the Commission of Eminent Persons spells out what needs to be done. It is time to think big and to think long term.


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Abridged Version of ElBaradei's Opening
Statement to the Board of Governors

by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei

September 29, 2008


Our agenda for this meeting covers a broad range of Agency activities. I will limit my remarks to a few key areas.

Nuclear Applications

The Agency´s work in making nuclear applications available to developing countries to help boost food production and fight disease has become all the more important following the recent surge in global food prices. This has pushed millions of people deeper into poverty and hunger.

The work of the Joint Division of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been of great value to Member States. As you know, the FAO has been considering ending its involvement in the Joint Division. However, I am hopeful that it will not do so and that this area of cooperation, which has brought considerable benefits to many countries, can continue.

The Agency assists Member States in using isotope hydrology to manage their water resources. Following publication of an Isotope Hydrology Atlas for Africa last year, we have now completed a similar volume for the Asia and the Pacific region, with data from 16 countries.

Demand for technical cooperation from developing countries continues to grow. A new three-year Technical Cooperation Programme has been finalized with an emphasis on food and agriculture, human health and natural resources. It also reflects a growing interest from developing countries in the possible introduction of nuclear power.

Nuclear Safety and Security

We are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IAEA Safety Standards programme. Safety and security both require continued vigilance and should always be considered as works in progress.

The Chairman of the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG) said in his annual letter to me:

"[A] nuclear power plant is operated by people, and thus the achievement of safety requires qualified operating personnel with an appropriately embedded safety culture. Moreover, safe operation can only be ensured if there is a comprehensive infrastructure in place that is properly maintained and improved throughout the life of the nuclear power programme."

Safety and security measures must be designed and implemented in an integrated manner, as the Commission on Safety Standards points out. In addition to the continued attention being paid to the safe and secure operation of nuclear power plants, there have been some significant achievements in other areas.

For example, 92 Member States have committed themselves to apply the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, while 46 have agreed to apply the Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources. The integration of safety and security measures in creating and strengthening regulatory infrastructures for the control of sources also represents important progress.

Nuclear Security
The possibility of terrorists obtaining nuclear or other radioactive material remains a grave threat. Through its Illicit Trafficking Database (ITDB) programme, the Agency collects information on incidents of illicit trafficking and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive material. In the year to 30 June 2008, 243 such incidents were reported to the Agency, 21 of which involved the theft or loss of material which was not subsequently recovered.

The Agency continues to provide assistance to States with a view to improving border controls, strengthening physical protection at nuclear facilities and enhancing nuclear security at major public events, such as the Beijing Olympic Games.

Funding for nuclear security remains a cause for concern. The Agency depends almost entirely on extrabudgetary contributions in this area, which makes effective programme planning and prioritization difficult.

Radiological Protection of Patients
Together with the World Health Organization, the IAEA has taken a leading role in training health professionals worldwide under the International Action Plan on the Radiological Protection of Patients. However, as newer medical imaging and complex radiation therapy techniques are introduced, there are new reports of unnecessary and unintended exposures. The Commission on Safety Standards has noted the crucial need to enhance the application of the safety standards to reduce the frequency of over or under exposures in nuclear medicine.

New Nuclear Energy Programmes

Every country has the right to introduce nuclear power, as well as the responsibility to do it right. Nuclear power has obvious attractions for both developing and developed countries. Developing countries need access to electricity to help lift their people out of poverty and many are turning to the Agency for guidance on how to proceed. They are concerned about the fluctuating prices of oil and other fossil fuels and about uncertainty of supply, as well as about climate change.

Countries with rapidly growing economies, such as India and China, are poised to increase the share of nuclear power in their energy mix. Many others, with Agency assistance, are actively considering adding nuclear power to their energy mix.

Embarking on nuclear power is a complex process that requires an appropriate regulatory and legal framework, an effective and independent regulatory body and the building of the necessary human capacity. The obligation to ensure safety and security rests primarily with the country concerned, but it also extends to the countries of vendors supplying components and technical expertise.

Recipient countries should adhere to international treaties and conventions on nuclear safety and security. The use of the Agency´s systematic, integrated and tailored review services and compliance with IAEA Safety Standards should be a prerequisite at every stage of a State´s nuclear power development. And regulators must always put safety and security first, regardless of the pressure they may sometimes face to be guided by other considerations.

Nuclear Verification

Conclusion of Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
You have before you draft additional protocols for the Republic of Iraq and the Kingdom of Lesotho. In the case of Iraq, this complies with a specific request of the Security Council in Resolution 1762 (2007).

Implementation of Safeguards in the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea
As explained in the report before you, the Agency has so far continued to verify the shutdown of the nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and to implement the ad hoc monitoring and verification arrangement, with the cooperation of the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Agency has not been asked to take part in the disablement activities, but has been able to observe and document them.

In that context, Agency inspectors have observed, after our report was distributed to you, that some equipment previously removed by the DPRK during the disablement process has been brought back. This has not changed the shutdown status of the nuclear facilities at Yongbyon. This morning, the DPRK authorities asked the Agency´s inspectors to remove seals and surveillance equipment to enable them to carry out tests at the reprocessing plant, which they say will not involve nuclear material.

I still hope that conditions can be created for the DPRK to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the earliest possible date and for the resumption by the Agency of comprehensive safeguards.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Regrettably, the Agency has not been able to make substantive progress on the alleged studies and associated questions relevant to possible military dimensions to Iran´s nuclear programme. These remain of serious concern.

Although Iran has acknowledged that some information in the relevant documentation, including names of individuals and organizations, is correct, it reiterated that all the documents are fabricated or forged. Iran has also declared that it has not performed any of the activities described in the alleged studies and reiterated its request to be provided with originals, or even copies, of the documentation. I call upon Member States which provided the Agency with documentation related to the alleged studies to authorize the Agency to share it with Iran.

However, as mentioned in the report which you have before you, Iran should clarify the extent to which information in the documentation is factually correct and where, as it asserts, such information may have been fabricated or relates to non nuclear purposes. In that context, Iran needs to give the Agency substantive information to support its statements and provide access to relevant documentation and individuals. Unless Iran provides such transparency, and implements the Additional Protocol, the Agency will not be able to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.

I note that the Agency has not detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have information - apart from the uranium metal document - on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components of a nuclear weapon. Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities. Although Iran has so far produced only limited quantities of low enriched uranium (LEU), this is still a cause for concern for the international community in the absence of full clarity about Iran´s past and present nuclear programme.

I reiterate that the Agency does not in any way seek to "pry" into Iran´s conventional or missile-related military activities. Our focus is clearly on nuclear material and activities. We need, however, to make use of all relevant information to be able to confirm that no nuclear material is being used for nuclear weapons purposes. I am confident that arrangements can be developed which enable the Agency to do its work while ensuring that Iran´s legitimate right to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information and activities is respected. I again urge Iran to show full transparency and to implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date.

It is now six years since we began intensive work to clarify Iran´s nuclear activities. It is in everyone´s interest that we should reach full clarity as soon as possible.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Socialist People´s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
The Agency has been able to verify the non diversion of declared nuclear material in Libya. Since December 2003, Libya has been implementing the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, which entered into force in August 2006. Libya has also provided the Agency unrestricted and prompt access, beyond that required under its Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, to locations, information and individuals requested by the Agency.

Libya has acknowledged that its past nuclear programme, from the mid 1980s until 2003, was aimed at the development of nuclear weapons. But it stated that it did not proceed with the design of nuclear weapons, nor did it have a complete fissile material production capability. The Agency did not find any indications of actual work related to nuclear weapons development. With the cooperation and transparency shown by Libya, the Agency has concluded that Libya´s statements concerning its nuclear programme are not inconsistent with the Agency´s findings.

I am pleased that the Agency is now able to implement safeguards in Libya in a routine manner. We will continue to work to reach a conclusion about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country.

In the course of its investigations, the Agency observed that much of the sensitive information provided by the clandestine supply network existed in electronic form, enabling easier use and dissemination. This includes information that relates to uranium centrifuge enrichment and, more disturbingly, to nuclear weapon design. Clearly, this is a matter of serious concern. It makes it all the more important for the Agency to have the legal authority, through the additional protocol, to provide assurance that there is no undeclared nuclear material in a country with a comprehensive safeguards agreement.

We will continue, in cooperation with Member States, to investigate the activities of the network insofar as they relate to the Agency´s mandate.

Implementation of Safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic
In April this year, the Agency received information claiming that an installation destroyed by Israel in September 2007 at Al Kibar in Syria was a nuclear reactor. The Syrian authorities have repeatedly stated that the alleged site was not involved in any nuclear activities.

With Syria´s cooperation, the Agency was able to visit Al Kibar in June 2008. Samples taken from the site are still being analysed and evaluated by the Agency, but so far we have found no indication of any nuclear material.

In order to assess the veracity of information available to the Agency, we asked the Syrian authorities in July to provide access to additional information and locations. Syria has not yet responded to this request but has indicated that any further developments would depend on the results of the samples taken during the first visit.

I trust that Syria will show maximum cooperation and transparency and provide all the information needed by the Agency to complete its assessment.

Application of Safeguards in the Middle East

In line with the mandate given to me by the General Conference, I have continued my consultations with the States of the Middle East on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region, and on the development of model safeguards agreements as a necessary step towards establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region. Once again, I regret to say that it has not been possible to report progress on either front.

Following recent consultations with Member States in the Middle East, it seems that a convergence of views is emerging on the convening of a forum on the experience of other regions with existing nuclear-weapon-free zones, and on the relevance of this for the Middle East.

But there is still no consensus on the agenda and the issues which such a forum would need to address. I will continue my consultations with Member States in the Middle East with a view to convening a productive forum as early as practicable.

Report of the Commission of Eminent Persons

The Agenda includes a discussion on The Report of the Commission of Eminent Persons on the Future of the Agency. I hope Board Members have been able to give serious consideration to the proposals made by President Ernesto Zedillo and his colleagues.

The Commission members brought together an unrivalled range and depth of experience of government, science and diplomacy, from both developed and developing countries. They understand the constraints under which governments and international organizations have to operate. The Commission´s proposals deserve in-depth consideration and they should lead to action.

The Agency´s work is of crucial importance for international peace and security and for addressing poverty, hunger and disease in the developing world through the use of nuclear technology. I therefore encourage Board members to engage in a structured discussion of the Commission´s Report. This could perhaps involve the establishment of issue-specific focus groups which would look into each area in which the Commission has made proposals and then make recommendations to the Board.

It is clear that the work of the IAEA will be needed more and more in the decades to come. The decisions which Member States make in the coming months and years will determine how the Agency is able to respond to the challenges it continues to face.

These challenges are at the heart of the efforts of all of us to create a just, humane world at peace with itself.


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