IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – Agenda Item 5 – Nuclear Security
U.S. statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, September 12, 2022
The United States remains steadfast in our support for the IAEA’s nuclear security mission and the Secretariat’s central role in coordinating and strengthening nuclear security globally. We firmly believe that the IAEA’s nuclear security efforts contribute positively to Member States’ inalienable right to access to peaceful uses of nuclear technologies, particularly as we work to realize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Global nuclear security, like nuclear safety, is a collective endeavor, and we call on all Member States to continue in this joint effort with the IAEA.
We welcome the revised format of the Nuclear Security Report 2022, and we see it as a complementary document to the first edition of the Nuclear Security Review issued earlier this year. Both reports are responsive to Member States’ requests to increase communication and transparency about the IAEA’s nuclear security activities and to help guide our partnership with the IAEA as Member States.
The 2022 Report demonstrates the scale and range of nuclear security activities implemented by the Agency annually. We are pleased to see in the Report the details on coordinated research projects relating to emerging technologies and their impact on nuclear security, and the Agency’s efforts to support the strengthening of Member States’ national legislative and regulatory frameworks, including to those elements related to operations of small modular reactors. The Report also illustrates how the IAEA is helping Member States address computer security measures relating to nuclear security, nuclear forensics, and mitigating insider threats.
The United States wishes to highlight a key accomplishment outlined in the Report: the successful hosting of the first ever Review Conference of the Parties to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material earlier this year. We appreciate that the IAEA will continue to conduct outreach activities to achieve the shared goal of the universalization of this convention. We would also like to welcome Oman as the newest State Party to the Amended Convention and encourage all Member States to join this international legal instrument which is a cornerstone of the global nuclear security architecture. We continue to encourage State Parties to inform the IAEA of their laws and regulations that give effect to this convention and welcome the assistance of the IAEA in this regard.
The United States welcomes another accomplishment: the Agency’s progress in establishing the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre at Seibersdorf, as well as the support shown by Member States for this Centre. The United States is proud to join the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in co-leading the Friends of the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre and looks forward to working with all interested Member States to enable the realization of the Center as a vital and complementary resource for the Agency and Member States. However, having a solid foundation is only the beginning, and we urge the Secretariat to continue engaging with Member States so that the Center will be both impactful and sustainable. It is also important for the Secretariat to continue mobilizing resources for the Center as efficiently and effectively as possible. We reiterate our call for the Secretariat to consider doing so in practical ways, one of which could include reapplying all Program Support Costs from extrabudgetary contributions to the Centre directly to the project itself to help defray costs associated with the Centre.
Chair, distinguished delegates,
Despite the progress I previously described, I must turn to a somber reality: Global nuclear security continues to be threatened by Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The United States welcomes the Agency’s recent mission to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, and we take note of the DG’s 2nd Summary Report on the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards in Ukraine, which revealed that “a considerable number of events at the ZNPP have significantly compromised the Seven Pillars.” The United States reaffirms the DG’s Seven Indispensable Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security, which are essential for the successful operation of peaceful nuclear facilities in all circumstances. Russia’s behavior directly undercuts the shared interests of Member States and a founding value of the IAEA – atoms for peace. We call upon all Member States to support the Agency’s role in mitigating the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
With these remarks, the United States takes note of the Nuclear Security Report 2022 and looks forward to the next Nuclear Security Review in 2023.