Nuclear industry news


Nuclear Science and Technology Contribute to Sustainable Development Goals: IAEA Director General


Supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be a key focus for the IAEA in years to come, said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in his introductory statement to the Agency’s Board of Governors today. He presented the Nuclear Security Report 2015 and spoke about the role of nuclear energy in the run-up to the global climate summit in Paris later this year. He also provided an update on the application of nuclear safeguards in Iran, North Korea and Syria.


Mr Amano encouraged the active participation of Member States in the IAEA’s Scientific Forum, to be held next week, focusing on the industrial application of nuclear technology and its importance for development.




During its five-day meeting, the 35-member Board will discuss measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, and the IAEA’s technical cooperation activities, among other topics.


IAEA and the SDGs


In his statement, Mr Amano welcomed the recognition of the importance of science and technology for development in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are expected to be approved in a few weeks’ time.


“The Agency has for many years made a major contribution to development by making nuclear science and technology available in areas such as food production, water management and agriculture. Our work deserves greater recognition,” he said.


Mr Amano highlighted the important role the IAEA can play in assisting countries to meet the SDG target of reducing cancer-related deaths by a third in the next 15 years. “I believe this is an achievable goal provided there are strong partnerships among the international organizations concerned,” he said.


Through its technical cooperation and human health programmes, the IAEA “has a long history of supporting Member States in developing the capacity and infrastructure for cancer control. Through our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), we will continue to play an essential role,” he added.


Strengthening nuclear safety and security


Mr Amano called the attention of delegates to his report on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan in 2011, which had been made available ahead of the IAEA’s General Conference next week.


Mr Amano presented his fourth and final annual report  on the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, adopted in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011. While the implementation period for the Action Plan is coming to an end, work that began under the Action Plan will continue. 


Mr Amano called on Member States which had not yet done so to become party to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The Convention establishes measures for the prevention, detection and punishment of offences relating to nuclear material, while the 2005 Amendment strengthens provisions for countries to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.  The recent ratification of the Amendment by Italy, Turkey and the United States had brought entry into force much closer, Mr Amano said, but adherence by 14 more countries was still needed before this could happen.


Nuclear power can help fight climate change


Many countries remain interested in nuclear power, not least due to the role it can play in fighting climate change, Mr Amano said. “Nuclear power is one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide among energy sources, considering emissions through the entire life cycle.”


Nuclear verification


Turning to nuclear safeguards, Mr Amano expressed concern about the nuclear programme of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Agency remains unable to undertake verification in the country and its knowledge of North Korea’s nuclear programme is limited, he said. Using satellite imagery, the IAEA has observed renovation and construction activity at Yongbyon, which appears to be consistent with the country’s own statements that it is further developing its nuclear capabilities. “I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations, to cooperate promptly with the Agency, and to resolve all outstanding issues,” he added.


Mr Amano said the Agency continued to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. But it was not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.


He noted that the Board had authorised him in August to undertake the verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed by the E3/EU+3 countries and Iran.


Mr Amano welcomed the fact that Iran would implement the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with the Agency. “This will give the Agency greater access to information and to sites in Iran,” he said. “Implementation of the Additional Protocol is an essential prerequisite for the Agency to be able to provide, in due course, credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”


Mr Amano also addressed safeguards implementation in Syria and urged the country to “cooperate fully with the IAEA in connection with all unresolved issues.”