IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – Agenda Item 9 –
Any Other Business
U.S. Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, November 18, 2022
The United States continues to strongly support the nuclear safety and security standards championed by the IAEA and the collaboration between the Government of Japan and the IAEA so that all decommissioning efforts of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, including the plan for a gradual release of its Advance Liquid Processing System treated water, remain comprehensive, credible, and transparent. Additionally, we are encouraged by the IAEA task force’s assistance in monitoring the safe and transparent implementation of the plan and its continued efforts to review and report on Japan’s proposed activities.
We appreciate Japan’s efforts to work closely and transparently with the IAEA and the international community. We also encourage contributions to the IAEA from other Member States to help support this project.
The United States regrets that the issue of so-called “Israeli nuclear capabilities” has once again been raised in this Board, as Israel has not violated any agreements with the IAEA and is a significant contributor to the Agency’s work. Divisive statements aimed at criticizing a state in good standing at the IAEA will not advance our shared goal of a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Such statements are out of touch with regional political and security realities and only serve to perpetuate the lack of trust among regional states. We urge the regional states concerned to refrain from politically motivated statements and to engage their neighbors directly in an inclusive, cooperative manner about their regional security concerns.
The United States continues to support the long-term goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, alongside a comprehensive and durable regional peace. We are committed to working with the regional states to advance this goal in an inclusive, consensus-based manner that takes into account the legitimate regional security concerns of all regional states.
While the stated goals of the UN Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction are noble, we continue to question whether the UN Conference in its current form can serve as an effective forum for dialogue. Given the absence of consensus on participation by all regional states, the United States decided not to participate in the third session of the conference currently underway in New York. We remain closely engaged with all regional parties and stand ready to actively support any initiatives to advance the goal of a WMD-free Middle East that have consensus regional support.
The United States had the honor of hosting IAEA Member States and others at the fifth International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century in Washington, D.C. on October 26th-28th. It was a successful conference, with nearly 800 ministers, senior officials, policymakers, industry leaders, and experts from 69 States and nine international organizations, including United States Secretary of Energy Granholm, Director General Grossi, and a strong IAEA team, making it one of the largest Nuclear Power Ministerials ever held. We thank Member States for their strong engagement and support.
This ministerial provided IAEA Member States with the opportunity to work together to discuss and plan how to unlock the full potential of safe, secure, reliable, and clean nuclear power for sustainable development and climate change mitigation.
Having attended the COP27, I can speak from personal experience to the high level of attention given to the role of nuclear power and other nuclear technologies in mitigating and adapting to climate change. I attended in order to participate with Special Envoy John Kerry in the announcement of two new projects on Advanced and Small Modular Reactors in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, reflecting the strong U.S. support for nuclear energy as an essential element of achieving COP pledges and goals. My delegation welcome’s the DG’s leadership in attending COP27 and in instigating the first-ever nuclear energy pavilion, Atoms4Climate. I congratulate our Egyptian colleagues for a highly successful, well run, and welcoming COP, and look forward to even more attention to the role of nuclear energy at next year’s COP28 in the UAE.
The United States continues to place great importance on the IAEA’s nuclear security mission and remains steadfast in our view of the Agency’s mandate in coordinating and strengthening nuclear security globally. Nuclear security remains a national responsibility. Equally, a strong and effective global nuclear security regime, in combination with the highest safety and safeguards standards, creates the necessary framework for all Member States to benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, science, and technology. The United States is pleased that Member States reaffirmed the central role of the IAEA’s nuclear security mission through adoption of the Nuclear Security Resolution at the 66th General Conference.
The IAEA’s nuclear security work in Ukraine remains critical given Russia’s continued seizure of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. The United States commends the IAEA for helping reduce the risks of a major nuclear safety and security incident brought on by Russia’s irresponsible actions.
Despite Russia’s threats to nuclear security, the rest of the global community continues to support the nuclear security framework and build on the successful Review Conference of the Parties to the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (A/CPPNM). We note that the A/CPPNM Points of Contact Meeting is taking place this week, and we encourage all Member States to become party to the A/CPPNM and inform the IAEA of their laws and regulations that give effect to that convention.
We also welcome preparations for the June 2023 International Conference on Computer Security in the Nuclear World: Security for Safety. Establishing and maintaining effective computer security measures are critical to a national nuclear security regime.
Lastly, we would like to thank the Agency for offering a technical briefing on December 12th on the progress of the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center in Seibersdorf, and we encourage Member States to actively participate in the briefing.
Thank you, Chair.