U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: The Annual Report for 2017

U.S. Statement as delivered by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Nicole Shampaine

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Agenda Item 2: The Annual Report for 2017

Vienna, June 4, 2018

Chair,
The United States commends the Agency for its draft Annual Report for 2017, as well as the well established open and transparent process undertaken by the Secretariat in the report’s preparation. As we have previously, we welcome the technical, factual nature of the Agency’s reporting on its annual activities, and the accurate reflection of the role of the General Conference according to the Statute. While factual updates to the draft report are to be expected, we would not expect to see any substantive changes to the discussion of ongoing Agency activities, which are conducted in accordance with Statute and relevant decisions of the policy making organs.

As Member States, we know that the IAEA is the focal point for supporting global access to nuclear energy, science, and technology. This Report will help make that clear to others. I would like to highlight a few areas.

The Report summarizes effectively how the IAEA helps Member States to consider the benefits and challenges associated with including nuclear power in their energy mix. We are pleased that much was achieved in 2017 through IAEA projects that address key areas, such as management systems, workforce planning, human resources, financial risks, and resource requirements. Another key area is the availability of nuclear fuel. We are also pleased, therefore, that significant progress was made on the IAEA LEU Bank in Kazakhstan in 2017.

In the area of nuclear safety, we applaud the Secretariat for preparing an annual Nuclear Safety Review that serves as a good reminder of the scope and value of activities undertaken to strengthen nuclear, radiation, transport, and waste safety. We again encourage full participation in the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention. We welcome states that have joined the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage as well as states that have made additional political commitments for implementing the Codes of Conduct for the Safety of Research Reactors and the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary guidance. We strongly encourage Member States that have not yet done so to join or make a political commitment to implement these important instruments.

On nuclear security, the Report summarizes effectively the IAEA’s critical role and demonstrates how important nuclear security is to support all Member States’ access to nuclear energy, science, and technology. We were pleased to see the 2018-2021 Nuclear Security Plan approved at the September 2017 Board. We look forward to the Agency building on the progress made at the November 2017 International Conference on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, especially with regard to universalizing the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material as amended. In addition, we continue to see the Incident and Trafficking Database as an effective mechanism for international information-sharing on incidents involving nuclear and other radioactive material out of regulatory control, including illicit trafficking of such material. We recognize and appreciate the improvements made to the web-based ITDB and will continue to support the Secretariat’s efforts to update the technology supporting the ITDB while ensuring the security and integrity of the information contained in the Database.

In the area of safeguards, the IAEA continues to implement effective verification measures supporting the safeguards conclusions drawn for each state in accordance with the Statute, and the Director General’s authority to implement safeguards as authorized by the Board, and consistent with relevant decisions of the General Conference. A strengthened safeguards system that generates credible conclusions about peaceful nuclear activities is absolutely essential to the international nonproliferation regime and, therefore, to our international security.

We appreciate the Agency’s efforts to continue to develop the safeguards workforce and encourage the Agency to ensure the highly specialized skills of the safeguards inspectors are maintained. We note favorably the completion of the MOSAIC project and look forward to working with the Agency as it maintains the security of safeguards data. We continue to support these and other efforts to strengthen the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the IAEA state-level approach to safeguards activities, in particular activities that provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared programs.

Regarding non-power nuclear applications, the renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf has achieved important milestones that will enable the Agency to better assist Member States in building critical capacities. We applaud the continued success of the Technical Cooperation Program and note our strong support for the Program through the Technical Cooperation Fund and other extrabudgetary mechanisms, such as the Peaceful Uses Initiative. We urge those in a position to do so to make voluntary contributions in support of the Agency’s nuclear science, applications, and technical cooperation activities.

Chair, The United States joins other Board Members in recommending submission of the Annual Report for 2017 for the General Conference’s approval.

Thank you, Chair.