IAEA BoG – U.S. on Strengthening the Agency’s Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology, and Applications

Photo taken at the opening of the Linear Accelerator Facility event at the Nuclear Applications (NA) Laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, June 2019. (IAEA/Dean Calma)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 7: Strengthening the Agency’s Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology, and Applications

U.S. statement as delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, Austria, September 15, 2020

Madam Chair,

The United States thanks the Secretariat for its useful report on the IAEA’s activities related to nuclear science, technology, and applications in 2019. We congratulate the Secretariat on the continued success of the important work of the IAEA in developing and promoting the widespread applications of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology.

Providing voluntary funding to support peaceful uses through the IAEA is one of the concrete ways the United States demonstrates its commitment to the promotion of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with Article IV of the NPT and Article II of the IAEA Statute, and in support of development goals. We seek to promote the fullest possible exchange of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, emphasizing the value of promoting high standards of nuclear safety and security, alongside rigorous and effective nonproliferation measures, to promote real and sustainable progress. Since 2010, we have provided the IAEA voluntary contributions totaling more than $240 million to promote peaceful nuclear activities. The United States has provided an additional $117 million of support to the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative, for a total of more than a third of a billion dollars. We urge other countries to contribute through the PUI and other voluntary funding mechanisms, and to help the Secretariat identify and pursue funding opportunities through non-traditional donors or partners.

We note favorably the continued cooperation among the IAEA, the African Union, the FAO, and other partners on the control of the tsetse fly and related diseases, and commend the continued development of the sterile insect technique and its integration into area-wide integrated pest management campaigns. We further note the importance of IAEA work to provide expert assistance and strengthen technology transfer to African Member States by hosting regional and international training courses, fellowships and scientific visits, and by providing support to molecular laboratories being established in African countries.

The United States welcomes the progress update on ReNuAL, and notes with pleasure the opening of the Dosimetry Laboratory’s new linear accelerator facility, the operationalization of the Insect Pest Control Lab, the completion of the Yukiya Amano Laboratories and the new Energy Center. We are pleased to have provided a total of approximately $15 million to the project. We continue to support the IAEA in implementing the next phase of ReNuAL and working with the Friends of ReNuAL and all Member States to mobilize the funding needed to ensure that the IAEA Laboratories at Seibersdorf continue to help Member States build critical capacities far into the future in areas that include health, agricultural productivity, food safety, and the environment.

Madam Chair,

The United States welcomes the continued interest of IAEA Member States in nuclear power, including among those countries that are taking steps towards pursuing nuclear energy as a component of their overall energy mix and those that are examining the option of developing a nuclear power program. We strongly support the Secretariat’s preparations for the next International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, which will be held in the United States in October 2021 in Washington, D.C.

The United States is proud of the role it has played and continues to play in funding the Agency’s nuclear power infrastructure and capacity-building services to Member States via the PUI, and we continue to strongly support the Agency’s “Milestones Approach.” The United States welcomes the Agency’s conduct of a phase II Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review in Egypt, a phase I follow-up in Ghana in 2019, and a second Phase III Mission earlier this year. We hope that all reports from INIRs will be published, as we believe in the importance of transparency in helping embarking countries maintain public confidence in their nuclear power programs. We also support the Agency’s own efforts to continue to identify lessons-learned from these missions and incorporate them into its existing and new publications on nuclear infrastructure development.

The United States applauds the Agency’s work in supporting existing operational reactors in the areas of operating performance, management systems, plant lifetime management, human resources development, and the safe and secure management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

Finally, the United States wants to emphasize the importance of the Agency’s continued coordination with other international organizations, such as the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD, the Generation IV International Forum, as well as with the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation and the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy Future initiative.

Madam Chair,

With these comments, the United States takes note of GOV/2020/28-GC(64)/5 and requests that it be transmitted to the General Conference.

Thank you.