North Korea ambitions worry atomic agency chief

The International Nuclear Atomic Agency has expressed concern over North Korea’a ambitions, noting it has shown no indication that it is willing to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions adopted in response to its two nuclear tests last year.

“I again call upon the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to comply fully with its obligations under Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency, and to resolve all outstanding issues, including those that have arisen during the absence of Agency inspectors from the country. The Agency maintains its readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme,” the agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano said in his introductory statement to the Board of Governors at their meeting in Vienna, Austria.

At the same time, Amano urged the governors to endorsed a draft safeguards agreement with Pakistan concerning Units 2 and 3 of the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant

“The number of States with safeguards agreements in force stands at 182, while 129 States have brought additional protocols into force. I ask States Parties to the NPT without comprehensive safeguards agreements in force to bring such agreements into force without delay. I hope that States which have not yet concluded additional protocols will do so as soon as possible. I also call on States with small quantities protocols based on the old standard text to amend or rescind them,” he said.
With regard to Syria, Amano said there have been no new developments since his last report to the Board and called to Syria to cooperate fully with the agency in connection with all unresolved issues.

He noted that a number of important nuclear safety and security documents are before the Board.
The Nuclear Safety Review 2017 provides an overview of Agency activities in 2016 and of global trends in nuclear safety. It also presents priorities for 2017 and beyond.

“As outlined in my report on Building on the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety last June, we will consider ways of further strengthening our work in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety. We will continue to focus on regulatory effectiveness, safety culture and capacity-building. Efforts to strengthen global nuclear safety in light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident continue as we approach its sixth anniversary,” he said.

Radioactive sources offer many benefits in areas such as medicine, industry and agriculture. But they pose risks to human health and the environment if not managed safely and securely. My report entitled Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources: Guidance on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources was prepared in response to requests from Member States. Disposing of disused radioactive sources is an important issue for many Member States, especially developing countries. I hope a solution satisfactory to all Member States can be achieved.

He said the 7th Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety will be held in Vienna from March 27 to April 7.

“Through its peer review process, the Convention has made a significant contribution to strengthening nuclear safety in the countries which are party to it. This will be the first Review Meeting at which participants may report on actions taken in relation to the Vienna Declaration. I encourage all countries which have not yet done so to become parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety,” said Amano.

At the same time, a first draft of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2018–2021 has been circulated for discussion and informal consultations have begun.

The Plan builds on resolutions of the General Conference and on the Ministerial Declaration adopted at our International Conference on Nuclear Security in December 2016. It is intended to guide our work in providing support to Member States over the next four years. Our focus is on concrete measures which will be of practical value to all countries as they work to strengthen nuclear security.

Amano said the agency will consult very closely with Member States on the plan.

Also developed is the Nuclear Technology Review 2017 , which provides an overview of global developments related to nuclear power last year.

“As the Review notes, nuclear power contributes significantly to meeting the goal set under the Paris Agreement of holding the increase in global temperature well below 2°C above preindustrial levels, and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

It also highlights the key role of technological innovation. Innovative nuclear power technologies, including small and medium sized or modular reactors and advanced fuel cycles, could more efficiently contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and extend the role of nuclear power into new applications, said Amano.

There are 449 nuclear power reactors in operation in 30 countries today. Sixty reactors are under construction, mostly in Asia.

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