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65th IAEA General Conference – Nuclear Security
September 23, 2021

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65th IAEA General Conference, Agenda Item 16: Nuclear Security

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono
Vienna, Austria, September 22, 2021

The United States would first like to express thanks to our colleagues from the European Union for shepherding the annual Nuclear Security Resolution through the process despite our limited ability to meet in person during the ongoing pandemic. We also note the collegial spirit of Member States for mutually agreeing to this year’s process. The approval of this year’s Nuclear Security Resolution in the Committee of the Whole reflects our shared commitment to upholding the highest levels of nuclear security. We remain hopeful that next year we are able to return to a more forward-leaning approach to advance our collective priorities through this annual resolution.

The United States welcomes the publication of the 2021 Nuclear Security Report and the Agency’s briefing to Member States on September 6. The Report clearly demonstrates the continued progress that the Division of Nuclear Security has made in implementing its nuclear security program and the Agency’s resilience and adaptability in the face of a global pandemic.

We also welcome the Board of Governors’ approval of the Nuclear Security Plan 2022-2025 and express our appreciation to the Secretariat for its hard work to resolve comments in a balanced and transparent way under the challenging circumstances. The IAEA’s nuclear security activities are a critical element of the Agency’s assistance to Member States and contribute to the Agency’s broader role in supporting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technologies. The Resolution, the Report, and the Nuclear Security Plan exemplify the Agency’s important role in coordinating and strengthening nuclear security globally, which would not be possible without the support of Member States and sustainable funding through the Nuclear Security Fund and the Agency’s Regular Budget.

Mr. President,

As we look forward, March 2022 will bring with it the Review Conference for the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. We encourage all parties to participate fully, including delivering national statements that address the adequacy of the Convention in light of the “then prevailing situation,” and look forward to having a final RevCon document that reflects the parties’ conclusion on this matter. We continue to call on all states that have not yet done so to become a party to not only the A/CPPNM but also to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Having universal conventions, as well as a broad commitment to non-legally binding international instruments such as the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary guidance, is vital to ensuring there are no safe havens for those who would seek to steal nuclear and other radioactive material, threaten and sabotage nuclear facilities, or intend to cause physical and psychological harm.

Thank you, Mr. President.