U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on the 2018-2021 Nuclear Security Plan

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

September 11-15, 2017


Agenda Item 4 (b)

Nuclear Security Plan

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


Mr. Chairman,

First, let me tell you how pleased we were to hear from a number of Member States on Monday and Tuesday about how much they value and benefit from the IAEA’s programs and activities in the area of nuclear security. Many delegations provided compelling examples of specific initiatives underway in their countries that strengthen the ability of their governments to secure nuclear and radiological material. Given this reality, which so many of you shared with us in such compelling ways, how can there be any doubt in our minds as to whether the Agency’s assistance in the area of Nuclear Security supports the use of nuclear technology? Member States request this assistance specifically because it supports their ability to enjoy nuclear technology in a positive way. So claims that security hinders nuclear applications are simply not in line with what all of us experience in reality. And I would like to make a plea to those delegations who continue to hold on to this paradigm as an article of faith to reconsider this dogma, think about what it really means, and help us put an end, together, to this longstanding, artificial, and counterproductive argument. Access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology is an inalienable right of countries in compliance with their international obligations. And helping countries, at their request, to use this technology securely is a way of supporting countries to exercise this right.

Second, we understand countries place enormous value on nuclear applications. So does the United States. The work we all support in this regard does amazing things, and produces incredible results. The Agency’s work saves lives and, frankly, our delegation wishes the world outside of Vienna better understood and appreciated these extraordinary contributions to world health and economic development.

These programs are not endangered by efforts to pay the personnel working on nuclear security out of the Agency’s regular budget. Paying key staff that prepare and plan all the nuclear security programs that Member States so value from irregular, unpredictable, and extra-budgetary funds is completely inefficient. And, to use an overused term here in Vienna, it hampers the operation of this team. To be clear, we are not talking about paying for all programs and activities out of the regular budget. That is why we have the Nuclear Security Fund. Paying for personnel out of the regular budget has been a trade-off within the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and incremental increases in the overall budget, but again, not at the expense of other programs.

So as we gather here today to welcome the approval of the 2018-2021 Nuclear Security Plan – and we express our appreciation to Chairman Seokolo for his determined and successful leadership in supporting the emergence of a consensus document – an even greater tribute to this success would be for us to pledge to work together over the coming months to break the never ending arguments on these issues and to work together to understand how the Agency’s efforts, all of which are delivered at the request of Member States, and which help to promote nuclear technology worldwide, help countries exercise their inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, consistent with their international obligations.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.