IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 11: Any Other Business Consolidated Statement
U.S. statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Louis Bono
Vienna, Austria, June 10, 2021
Thank you, Madam Chair.
As we continue to look forward to the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the United States stands ready to work closely with RevCon President-designate Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen of Argentina and all NPT Parties toward a positive outcome. The IAEA continues to play a key role in helping realize the goals of the NPT.
The IAEA role in implementing safeguards agreements is critical to the NPT and the international nonproliferation regime. These agreements facilitate the exchange of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and all the resulting benefits, by providing confidence that such technology is not diverted to weapons purposes. As such, we continue to call on states to adopt high safeguards standards, including the Additional Protocol. The adoption of such standards by more countries facilitates this exchange and helps ensure the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology reach places where they are most needed.
In light of the challenges imposed on us all by the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge all NPT States Parties to be flexible on RevCon modalities in the hope that we will be able to hold the RevCon as soon as possible.
The United States regrets that the issue of so-called “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 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 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.
Indeed, the United States firmly supports 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 cooperatively 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.
The United States recognizes the IAEA’s central role in strengthening nuclear security globally, supporting Member States needs and requests, and coordinating international cooperation in nuclear security, particularly throughout the global pandemic. In support of that role, the United States will continue to work constructively with the IAEA and Member States to develop the 2022-2025 Nuclear Security Plan (NSP) and we look forward to its approval in September.
The United States would like to thank the co-Chairs from Hungary and Australia, and the Secretariat, for orchestrating successful Preparatory Committee meetings for the inaugural Review Conference (RevCon) of the Parties to the A/CPPNM. We look forward to supporting RevCon co-Presidents Switzerland and Nigeria, as well as the Secretariat, as they prepare for a meaningful and productive RevCon next year. We continue to seek universal adherence to, and full implementation of, the A/CPPNM, and encourage all States Parties to inform the IAEA of their laws and regulations implementing the Convention, as required by Article 14.1 of the Convention. We also support the Secretariat continuing its A/CPPNM outreach efforts.
Furthermore, we appreciate the April 16 technical briefing from the Secretariat on the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Center at Seibersdorf and welcome a more regular dialogue with the IAEA on the project. While a number of outstanding logistical matters remain, we value the increased transparency and internal coordination the Agency has recently demonstrated.
The United States strongly supports the nuclear safety and security standards championed by the IAEA. We understand that the IAEA continues to cooperate closely with the Government of Japan to ensure that the decommissioning efforts for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant — including the expected treated water discharge — remain comprehensive, credible, and transparent. We welcome the Government of Japan’s collaboration with the IAEA and support the multilateral efforts on this issue. As the Government of Japan’s approach appears to be in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards, the United States believes it is safe.
The United States strongly supports Japan’s efforts to be transparent with the international community about the Fukushima treated water situation, including providing detailed information through monthly briefings and on publicly available websites. The Japanese Government’s deliberations about the potential alternatives for the disposal of treated water have been similarly open and transparent. Current information available to the public includes detailed information such as sample results from specific groups of tanks and weekly sample results of water exiting the treatment process over a period of several years, as well as reports based on the IAEA’s extensive review. We look forward to Japan’s continued transparency and close coordination with the IAEA and the international community as it prepares to dispose of the treated water by discharging it into the sea in a manner that is in line with internationally accepted nuclear safety standards.
Finally, Madam Chair,
The United States would like to take this opportunity to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for working with us to postpone the fifth IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. As we have previously noted, we were honored to have been selected to host this important event, which will now take place in Washington, DC, on October 26-28, 2022. So, we ask you all: please mark your calendars. This postponement will allow us to prioritize the health and safety of participants and to plan for a conference that affords the Member States the experience of a full-scale, in-person event. We look forward to building upon the success of the four previous ministerial conferences, the most recent of which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates. And we hope to see you all there.
Let me conclude, Madam Chair, by conveying our best wishes to our distinguished colleague from Malaysia, and to thank you for successfully leading this meeting of the Board of Governors.
Thank you, Madam Chair.