UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

ElBaradei's introductory statement to Board of Governors

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Vienna, Sept 19, IRNA
UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei delivered a speech on the first day of IAEA Board of Governor on the scope of the Agency's activity, technology, safety and security and verification.

Several parts of ElBaradei's statement are as following:
-- Nuclear Technology
The Board has before it and update on the Agency's activities related to developing innovative technology. Through the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO), the primary contribution has been to ensure that the future and infrastructure, as well as safety, security, proliferation resistance and waste management are considered when innovative nuclear systems are evaluated. The INPRO user methodology, revised on the basis of feedback from a variety of test projects, is now being applied in a number of countries.

With France, Morocco and Ukraine having joined in the past year, INPRO is now 23 members strong.

-- Nuclear safety and security
The Board has before it a draft plan of activities on the radiation protection of the environment. Safety standards for radiations protection are based on human health considerations; the objective of this new effect is to also explicitly take into account the protection of plant and animal life. The action plan is based on extensive consultation with other relevant international bodies. The focus of work will be to support and additional research and scientific work needed, and to determine the need for revising or adding new standards.

The Secretariat has continued to meet with commercial carriers, regulatory authorities and the modal organizations of the United Nations, to determine how to address the increasing denial of shipments of medical radioactive materials. Based on these efforts, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations has published a pamphlet to provide pilots with basic information on the safety of transporting such materials by air.

"I am pleased to note that, in July, a group of eight coastal and shipping States met in Vienna for informal discussions on transport related communications. I should also note that, based on a request from the Government of Japan, we will be conducting a Transport Safety Assessment Service (TranSAS) mission to Japan in December." The joint convention on the safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radiations Waste Management will hold its second Review Meeting next May. The convention still has only 34 contracting parties, despite the fact that nearly all countries have radioactive waste and could benefit from participation. The Secretariat has been working to promote ratification by more countries - most recently through meetings held in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

After years of work, consensus has recently been reached on the safety requirements for the geological disposal of radioactive waste, and the draft text is before you for consideration. The use of this standard and its supporting guidance will facilitate the licensing process for geological disposal facilities.

"We are continuing to work on harmonizing approaches and guidance on assessing the safety of disposal facilities for low level radioactive waste. With new facilities under development, and safety of existing facilities being re-evaluated, may Member States are taking considerable interest in this effort."
The agency is organizing an international conference on the safety of radioactive waste disposal, to he held in Tokyo next month.

In 2001, after taking note of the conflicting views on the results of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, I called for the creation of a Chernobyl Forum to set the record straight, based on the best scientific analysis, and to stimulate more effective international cooperation on further actions that could help local populations regain over their own livelihoods.

"I am pleased to note that earlier this month at a conference here in Vienna, a report on "Chernobyl's Legacy" was issued based on the extensive work of the Chernobyl Forum. Authoritative documents on the health, environmental and social impacts of the accidental were agreed upon, reflecting the consensus achieved among the relevant United Nations agencies and programs and the Government of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. A press campaign was undertaken to publicize the report's conclusions, and the organizations involved are discussing cooperation on new initiatives related to assistance with safe food production and improved health care."
Few areas of activity have undergone such major expansion, in so short a period, as our nuclear security programme over the past four years. Since September 2001. the Agency has conducted more than 100 nuclear security field missions. Approximately 1500 individuals from all regions have received Agency training in measures related to preventing nuclear and radiological terrorism. The results of implementing the nuclear security plan are tangible increased security awareness among responsible national officials; strengthened physical protection at nuclear facilities; recovery and enhanced security for hundreds of high intensity radioactive sources, better cooperation among international law enforcement organizations; enhanced detection capabilities at border crossings; more and better trained personnel; improved preparedness for responding to incidents; and broader participation in the Agency's Illicit Trafficking Data Base, which serves as a key mechanism for the analysis of global and regional trends.

A new Nuclear Security Plan for 2006-2009 which draws on the insights gained over the past four years is before you for approval.

The mechanisms in the new plan are familiar; the development of additional nuclear security guidance, assistance with the application of that guidance; evaluation service, human resource development and R&D on enhanced security technology. The plan includes a detailed outline of nuclear activities to be carried out over the next four years, subject to the availability of funds.

Of these planned activities, the vast majority will be funded from the Nuclear Security Fund, and will therefore be dependent on your continued generous support with nuclear security clearly established as a core Agency activity, I would advocate the need to ensure the long term reliability and flexibility of the associated funding.

As we evolve towards a more mature global nuclear security approach, it is important that we develop a clearer overall picture of remaining security vulnerability. For example, we need to improve our understanding of the patterns that characterize illicit trafficking activity, in order to provide Member States with the information needed to effectively combat such activity.

Parties to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material met in July and agreed on major changes to strengthen the Convention. These changes make it legally binding for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport. They will also provide for expanded cooperation among States on measures to recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, to mitigate the consequences of sabotage, and to prevent and combat related offenses. These changes will come into effect once they are ratified by two-thirds of the States Parties. I would urge all parties to the convention to take this action as rapidly as possible, and in the meantime to act as if these changes were in force.

-- Verification of nuclear non-proliferation
The Board has before it a comprehensive safeguards agreement with Botswana, as well as additional protocols with Botswana, Singapore and Thailand, If approved, this would bring the total number of States with protocols approved to 111. The Agency now implements additional protocols in 71 States. I am also pleased to note that, earlier this month, we were able to reach all conclusions needed for the implementation of integrated safeguards in Canada, the country in which the Agency's verification effort is the second largest.

In June, the Board endorsed the Secretariat's view that Small Quantities Protocols constitute a weakness of the safeguards system.

In response to request by some States for more information on the two options proposed by the Secretariat for addressing the issue, we conducted a seminar earlier this month to provide detailed answers to the relevant technical, legal and financial questions. I would urge the Board to come to a decision on this issue as early as possible and hopefully during this session of the Board.

Since 1993, the Agency has been unable to implement fully its comprehensive NPT safeguards agreements with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). And since December 2002. the Agency has not been able to perform any verification activities in the DPRK and therefore cannot provide any level of assurance about the DPRK's nuclear activities.

As I have stated before, the Secretariat remains ready to work with all parties towards a comprehensive settlement that would both address the security needs of the DPRK and provide assurance to the international community that all nuclear activities in the DPRK are exclusively for peaceful purposes. The news coming from Beijing this morning after two years of complex negotiations about an initial agreement at the six-party talks on the principles that should govern a comprehensive settlement, is encouraging. It is particularly welcome that the DPRK has expressed its commitment "to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and [to return], at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards." I note also that "the DPRK stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision of light water reactor to the DPRK." A successfully negotiated settlement of this longstanding issue would be a significant accomplishment for international peace and security. I would also take this opportunity to underline the constructive role played by the People's Republic of China throughout this negotiation process.

As requested, you have before you a comprehensive report on the implementation of safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I do not intend to cover the report in derail, but will limit any comments to the broad picture.

The objective of the Agency's verification activities in Iran is to clarify all aspects of Iran's past undeclared nuclear activities with a view to assuring ourselves that all past activities have now been declared to the Agency, and that all nuclear material and activities in the country are under safeguards. The more thoroughly we are able to clarify all of Iran's past nuclear activities, the more we will be in a position to understand and confirm the nature of the program.

Since October 2003, good progress has been made in terms of Iran's corrections of past breaches and in terms of the Agency's ability to verify aspects of Iran's nuclear programs. As a result some aspects of that program such as those related to uranium conversion, laser enrichment, fuel fabrication and heavy water are now being followed up as routine safeguards implementation matters.

Since November of last year, the Agency's verification activities in Iran have been primarily focused on two questions related to Iran's centrifuge enrichment activities. With respect to the first question, concerning the origin of low enriched uranium (LEU) and high enriched uranium (HEU) particle contamination found at various locations in Iran, we have made good progress, with the active cooperation of Pakistan. The results of our environmental sample analysis tend, on balance, to support Iran's statement about the foreign origin of most of the observed HEU contamination.

With respect to the second question, regarding the chronology of Iran's centrifuge enrichment activities, some progress has been made since last November. However, this progress has been made slow, and the Agency has made repeated requests for additional information.

This additional information requires, inter alia; clarification of the 1987 and mid-1990s offers from the procurement network, access to the dual use equipment related to the Lavisan-Shian site; additional individuals. The Agency's successful verification of the scope and chronology of Iran's centrifuge enrichment activities will also be essential to the resolution of the remaining LEU
contamination issues.

As the report makes clear, Iran continues to fulfill its obligations under the safeguards agreement and additional protocol y providing timely access to nuclear material, facilities and other locations. This is, however, a special verification case that requires additional transparency measures.

Regarding the status of Iran's voluntary suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, as the report indicates, Iran has since 8 August been conducting conversion activities at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility, under Agency verification. Other aspects of Iran's suspension remain intact.

Pursuant to the mandate given to me by the General Conference, I have continued my consultations with the States of the Middle East region on the application of full scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in the Middle East, and on the development of model agreements as a necessary step towards the establishment of a Middle East Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. However, I regret to say that no progress has been made on either front.

The General Conference has also asked me to organize a forum on the relevance of the experience of other origins with existing nuclear-weapon-free zones including confidence building and verification measures for establishing such a zone in the region of the Middle East. Extensive consultations with concerned States of the region failed, however, to produce an agreement on an agenda for such a forum. Naturally, I remain ready to convene such a forum, if an when the concerned States are able to reach agreement on the agenda.

The Agency continues to assume growing responsibilities in nearly all areas of its work. Your continuing support remains key to our success and I trust it will continue to be forthcoming, he concluded.


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list