IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 9: Any Other Business
U.S. statement as delivered by Deputy Chief of Mission Louis L. Bono
Vienna, Austria, March 10, 2022
The United States continues to place great importance on the IAEA’s nuclear security mandate and remains supportive of the Agency’s central role in coordinating and strengthening nuclear security globally. A strong and effective global nuclear security regime fortifies the benefits derived from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, science, and technology and helps to build public confidence in those peaceful applications. As such, we welcome the Agency’s valuable work to publish an annual Nuclear Security Review.
We call on all Member States to act consistently with all legally and non-legally binding instruments regarding nuclear and other radioactive materials and their security. Our collective security is dependent on the prudent and responsible actions of all States.
We remain committed to the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and look forward to a robust and meaningful Review Conference later this month. We welcome efforts to achieve universalization and full implementation of the Convention and its Amendment and strongly encourage all States not yet party to join the A/CPPNM. For States Parties, we encourage those that have not done so to inform the depository of their laws and regulations that give effect to the A/CPPNM in accordance with Article 14.1 of the Convention. We also encourage all parties to join efforts to request a subsequent Review Conference before the end of this Review Conference to ensure that the dialogue among parties on these important issues continues.
NGOs will undoubtedly play a vital role by educating non-parties on the benefits of joining the Convention and by providing resources to assist all States in developing the legal and technical framework required to ratify and fully implement the A/CPPNM. That is why we continue to be extremely disappointed by some members’ decision to block the participation of one NGO from attending the Review Conference for reasons that have nothing to do with nuclear security. Moving forward, we urge all parties and Member States to respect the independence of NGOs and the contributions that civil society makes in nuclear security and all other multilateral fora.
We further acknowledge the Agency’s ongoing efforts to establish a Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center at Seibersdorf. We remain supportive of these efforts and encourage all interested Member States to join the “Friends of the Nuclear Security Training Center,” a group led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The United States strongly supports the nuclear safety and security standards championed by the IAEA. The Agency continues to demonstrate its close cooperation with the Government of Japan to ensure that decommissioning efforts of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant — including the expected treated water dispersal — remain comprehensive, credible, and transparent. We welcome the Government of Japan’s collaboration with the Agency and support for multilateral efforts on this issue. We continue to believe that the Government of Japan’s approach is in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards and is therefore safe.
We also continue to support the IAEA’s Task Force on Fukushima Treated Water and agree with Director General Grossi on the “enormous importance” of reviewing Japan’s plans and actions to safely disperse Fukushima’s treated water. We are encouraged that the Task Force carried out its first mission to Japan in February, and we look forward to this mission’s report.
We remain firm in our belief that Japan continues to be transparent with the international community about its efforts and plans to address Fukushima’s treated water situation, including providing detailed information through monthly briefings and on publicly available websites.
As we continue to look forward to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon), we commend the work of Ambassador Zlauvinen of Argentina and the entire NPT leadership bureau in guiding us through two years of pandemic-related delays. We hope the RevCon can be held in August 2022. We stand ready to work with all NPT Parties to achieve a positive outcome that reaffirms our collective commitment to preserving and maintaining the Treaty and the nuclear nonproliferation regime for which it has served as the cornerstone for more than 50 years.
The United States regrets that the so-called issue of “Israeli nuclear capabilities” has once again been raised in the 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 seem increasingly out of touch with regional political and security realities and only serve to perpetuate the lack of trust among states in the region. 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 supports the long-term goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, alongside a comprehensive and durable regional peace, and we remain committed to working with the regional states to advance this important, shared goal. We are convinced that progress can only be achieved if pursued in a cooperative, voluntary manner through direct dialogue and on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the regional states.
The United States continues to follow developments in the UN Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the stated goals of this initiative are noble, we continue to question whether it can serve as an effective forum for dialogue among all the regional states, since it was not pursued in a consensus-based manner and does not reflect the views of all the regional states. Given these concerns, and in the absence of participation by all the regional states, the United States decided not to participate in the first two sessions of the Conference. Nonetheless, the United States remains committed to engaging, and finding common ground, with the regional states on these issues.
The United States commends Ambassador Ruiz of Colombia and the Secretariat for initiating our work on developing a Medium-Term Strategy for 2024 to 2029. We look forward to continue working with our fellow Member States to produce a balanced strategy document that will inform the Secretariat’s preparations for the next three budget cycles.
Finally, Mr. Chair, on behalf of the U.S. delegation, we would like to thank you for your leadership of this Board.