U.S. Statement – As Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – Agenda Item 13 – Any Other Business
Vienna, Austria, June 8, 2023
The growing demand for the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, including with the advancement of small modular reactors, only increases the importance of nuclear security. As such, it is vital for the IAEA to coordinate international assistance and exchange of information on best practices to help Member States strengthen their national nuclear security regimes.
Over the next year, we will have many opportunities for Member States to gather and discuss ways to strengthen nuclear security, expand networks, and coordinate plans for assistance. Last week, the Agency convened a successful technical and legal expert’s meeting for the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, marking the 20th Anniversary of the Code. Though much progress has been made over the past two decades, their remains much to do, and the United States encourages all Member States to express a political commitment to the Code and its two supplementary guidances and applauds those Member States that have already made political commitments.
In just over a week, the IAEA’s International Conference on Computer Security in the Nuclear World: Security for Safety will take place in Vienna, and we encourage broad participation by Member States in this conference, given that computer security is an essential component of a comprehensive and effective nuclear security regime.
The United States values the IAEA’s nuclear security training and assistance program and looks forward to the official opening of the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre later this year. We strongly encourage the Secretariat to continue its engagement with Member States to collaborate on potential mechanisms that enable the Centre’s sustainability and efficacy.
Looking to 2024, the IAEA is scheduled to host the fourth International Conference on Nuclear Security next May. The United States welcomes the Agency’s preparations to date and eagerly awaits the conference announcement. We strongly encourage all Member States to attend ICONS at the ministerial-level and to publicly announce milestones and set concrete goals towards making and sustaining measurable progress in nuclear security.
The United States fully aligns itself with the statement that Spain delivered on behalf of the Group of Friends of Women in Nuclear. The United States also reaffirms its support to the IAEA for its ongoing implementation of its Gender Equality Policy and Gender Action Plan. Three years ago, women represented only 29 percent of the professional staff at the IAEA, and now they represent 41 percent. This is an impressive increase and a major step toward the Director General’s goal of gender parity by 2025. We welcome the Secretariat’s continued efforts to create an enabling and supportive workplace that champions diversity, inclusion, and equality.
We are particularly pleased that the first Lise Meitner Program cohort is currently on a two-week professional visit to North Carolina State University. The United States is proud to be hosting this inaugural visit that will help professional women in the nuclear sector enhance their skills and build strong networks to advance their careers. We encourage other Member States to support this important program.
We welcome Japan’s continued openness, transparency, and close coordination with the IAEA and the international community as it seeks to discharge ALPS treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in accordance with internationally accepted nuclear safety standards. We support the IAEA’s Task Force and its independent review of the safety aspects of Japan’s plan. In particular, we appreciate the latest report of the IAEA Task Force’s independent sampling and analysis work, and we look forward to the IAEA’s comprehensive report on this matter.
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 criticizing a State in good standing at the IAEA will not advance our shared goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Instead, such statements only perpetuate the lack of trust among regional States. We urge the relevant regional States to refrain from politically motivated statements and to engage their neighbors directly in an inclusive, cooperative manner about their regional security concerns.
The United States continues to support 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 with the regional States to advance this goal in an inclusive, consensus-based manner that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of all regional States.
Finally, Chair, the United States would like to acknowledge the hard work and years-long dedication of a very dear friend of every Member State: Austin McGill. We applaud Austin’s exemplary service to the IAEA and its membership in his capacity as the Deputy Secretary of the Policy-Making Organs and wish him well in his retirement. Thank you, Austin, for your expertise, dedication, and friendship. Best of luck to you!
Thank you, Chair.