Nuclear Technology Review

Agenda Item 3: Strengthening the Agency’s Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology, and Applications: Nuclear Technology Review – 2010 (GOV/2010/5)

Board of Governors Meeting March 1-5, 2010

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Permanent Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Office in Vienna

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by thanking Deputy Director General Burkart and Sokolov and their colleagues in the Secretariat for the impressive work that has gone into preparation of the 2010 Nuclear Technology Review.

The U.S. believes that the benefits of nuclear technology should be available to developed and developing countries alike, so long as the highest standards for safety, security, and nonproliferation are met.  In particular, peaceful uses of nuclear technology can make a major contribution to the growth of developing economies, and the U.S. supports the Agency’s crucial role in spreading nuclear technology in a manner that promotes socioeconomic development.

The United States supports and appreciates the positive contributions of the IAEA to the responsible development of nuclear power worldwide.  In that regard I would call attention to the resolution on “Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications” adopted by the General Conference in 2006.  That resolution affirmed the important role of the IAEA in “facilitating, through international cooperation among interested member states, the development and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”  Again in 2007, 2008, and 2009 the General Conference affirmed the role of the Agency in fostering the development of nuclear energy for power generation.

Particularly important are Agency activities identifying the infrastructure requirements for countries considering new nuclear power programs.  As noted in paragraph 23 of the Review, over 60 IAEA Member States have expressed interest in the introduction of nuclear power.  The number of technical cooperation projects on the introduction of nuclear power tripled in 2009 over the previous year.  In 2009, the Agency conducted the first Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review missions in Jordan, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  Building on the fundamental guidance document, “Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power,” the United States has supported follow-on meetings, publications to implement the Milestones document, and other infrastructure development activities, through cost free experts, consultants, and extra-budgetary contributions for both program activities and technical cooperation projects. We noted with positive interest the G-77 & China’s request that the IAEA study the feasibility of a resource library. We would be interested in hearing more about this idea.

Turning to the discussion of the economics of nuclear power on pages 10 and 11 of the Review, we note one area where clarification is required.  No sources are cited for the data displayed in figure A-3, “Ranges for Overnight Cost Estimates by Region, from 2007-2009.”  The Review should explain the methodology used to develop the data on which that figure is based, along with the conclusion on regional cost comparisons in paragraph 48.  Our concern is that the sample size for each region and the associated costs may not have been calculated consistently.  Without further clarification as to how the data were derived and what sample size was used for each region, figure A-3 and paragraph 48 may give users of the Review a misleading impression of the comparative cost of reactors from different regions.

Turning to the discussion of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, GNEP, in paragraph 63, we would note that the GNEP participants are currently considering changes in GNEP’s structure and objectives.

The United States is also proud of its long-term support for a wide variety of non-power applications and research.  In particular, I would call attention to the support we have provided for the Tsetse Project in Burkina Faso to enable the Centre International de Recherche-Developpement sur l’levage en zone Sub-humide (CIRDES), which serves the animal health needs of eight West African countries, to mass rear and provide sterile tsetse fly males for sterile insect technique (SIT) operations in the West African sub-region.  We have also provided funding for a mass mosquito rearing module for the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Lab at Seibersdorf to continue research and training in this area.  In addition to funding, the United States continues to provide the Department of Nuclear Applications with the services of a Cost-Free Expert on water, and plans to provide a CFE on health economics in the near future.  We have also provided two Junior Professional Officers to the Department of Nuclear Applications, one in medical economics and the second in mosquito SIT.

Mr. Chairman,

I will close by again expressing our appreciation to the Secretariat for the effort that has gone into compiling this report.  We take note of it and may later submit additional written comments on the Nuclear Technology Review 2010.

Thank you very much.