IAEA Technical Briefing on the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative

On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank the Secretariat for their overview of the history and current status of the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI). The leadership of the Director General and the hard work of the Secretariat have been indispensible in the development of the PUI from its launch at the 2010 NPT Review Conference to the many active projects that we have heard about today.  I congratulate you on this impressive, and important, undertaking.

The United States actively supports the PUI with a total pledge of $50 million over five years, and we have been joined by Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary and New Zealand in contributing to this effort.  The United States welcomes the collective support of this diverse group, which underlines our shared commitment to the IAEA’s mission of making peaceful uses of the atom available to all.

In just over a month, the first Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2015 NPT Review Conference will take place here in Vienna.  This meeting is an opportunity to remind us of the many ways in which a strong nuclear nonproliferation regime is in our direct interest.  Like nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation, access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is important to us all.  The Director General has reminded us through his focus on cancer therapy in 2010, water management last year, and food security this year, that the IAEA’s unique expertise is critical in meeting the needs of all Member States, not just those pursuing nuclear power.  These IAEA programs thrive in large part because they are built on the firm foundation of a strong nonproliferation regime, and in turn contribute to the vibrancy of that regime.

It is for this reason that the 2010 NPT Review Conference highlighted the IAEA’s important role and called on all NPT Parties in a position to do so to contribute towards the goal of expanding support for the IAEA by 100 million dollars by the 2015 Review Conference.  We consider our efforts to this end an important element of our commitment to strengthening the IAEA and the NPT.

We have seen in today’s presentations the impact of programs enabled by the PUI, which gives the IAEA additional flexibility in responding effectively to Member State needs.  We recently observed the first anniversary of earthquake in Japan, and the subsequent events at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.  With support from the PUI, the Secretariat was able to respond with impressive speed to regional states’ needs for environmental monitoring of the marine environment.  This is only one of many examples in which the PUI has given the Secretariat the flexibility to design projects that are larger or longer-term than the norm, and on shorter notice.

The IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative is just one way to support the many important programs of the Agency.  We recognize that the financial support for IAEA programs has been both widespread and long-standing.  In addition to the contributions under the PUI discussed today, I would like to point out that the European Union and its member states have long been significant supporters of the Agency’s work, and that South Africa also pledged significant support last fall towards a food security project that we have also supported through our PUI contribution.

As we have seen today, the PUI is not a new IAEA program, but rather a shared goal to expand support for the most urgent needs.  We encourage all states able to do so to join us and other contributors in striving to meet these needs.  The United States remains ready to consider partnering with any state contributing to the PUI in order to provide full support to projects of mutual interest.

Thank you for the presentations today, and please be assured that you have the continuing and deep support of the United States in this effort.