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IAEA BoG – U.S. on Nuclear Security
September 15, 2020

In this photo from the IAEA archives, nuclear forensic scientists share their expertise. Nuclear forensics contributes to nuclear security worldwide. (IAEA/Dean Calma)
In this photo from the IAEA archives, nuclear forensic scientists share their expertise. (IAEA/Dean Calma)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 6: Nuclear Security

U.S. statement as delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, Austria

Thank you, Madam Chair.

The United States appreciates the Agency’s Nuclear Security Report 2020 (GOV/2020/31) and thanks the Secretariat for the technical briefing held in August. We are pleased to note that, year after year, the Report has continued to become even more informative and accessible, in both substance and format. The Report makes clear the IAEA is making meaningful progress in nuclear security, even while navigating the challenges posed by the current global pandemic, as it continues to actively support Member State needs and requests.

Within the Report, we appreciate the emphasis on activities jointly undertaken with other Divisions and Departments across the Agency. The United States believes the work of each of the Agency’s Departments complements the work of the others, and that nuclear security helps reinforce cooperation on peaceful nuclear activities. We are heartened to see the more holistic approach.

Given nuclear security’s supporting role in other nuclear activities, and all the good work the Agency is accomplishing, we also appreciate the attention paid to communicating this work while maintaining due respect to Member State confidentiality. This goes for the Report itself and for the external communication, both of which are more informative, organized, and well-produced. We offer our thanks to the Division of Nuclear Security’s Outreach team and the Office of Public Information and Communication for their hard work and output, which demonstrates the growing coordination and cooperation across the Agency.

Madam Chair,

Allow me to highlight two more substantive issues within the Report. First, I would like to note the upcoming 2021 Conference of the Parties to the Amended CPPNM (Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material). We appreciate the preparations that have gone into this Conference, and look forward to the Preparatory Committee meeting in December and the important work it will undertake to provide for a successful review of the Amended Convention next year. We continue to urge all Member States to become Parties to the Convention and its Amendment to bring about a consistent, universal global nuclear security legal framework.

Finally, we noted with interest the information provided on the Agency’s initial work to establish a specialized facility for demonstrating nuclear security equipment and organizing training activities at Seibersdorf. As this is a major undertaking, we hope to receive more information on the planned facility and comprehensive consultations and briefings with Member States on its establishment, operations, and sustainability. Such a facility presents great opportunities for Member States, but it must be based on defined needs, have a clear mandate and scope, receive full stakeholder buy-in, and be designed with sustainability foremost in mind. We look forward to continued engagement to ensure such a facility can help meet the needs of both the IAEA and its Member States for years to come. Furthermore, the United States stands ready to work closely and constructively with the IAEA and Member States on the development of the 2022-2025 Nuclear Security Plan. With these comments, the United States takes note of GOV/2020/31 and requests that it be transmitted to the General Conference.

Thank you, Madam Chair.