Australian National Statement
60th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference
Ambassador David Stuart
Governor and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency
27 September 2016
My delegation congratulates Ambassador Dato’ Adnan Othman on his election as President of the 60th IAEA General Conference, and you and other members of the bureau on your election. The bureau has the assurance of the close cooperation of my delegation.
In October 1956, the IAEA was established to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world” while ensuring that its assistance is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose.
Almost 60 years later, the IAEA continues to play an indispensable role in furthering the peaceful use of nuclear science, and supporting global nuclear safety, security, safeguards and non-proliferation efforts.
We welcome and support Director General Amano’s efforts to shape the Agency to promote the interests of both peace and development, and to link the Agency’s work to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Australia is a consistent supporter of the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Program. We will pay our share of the 2017 target in full and on time, and encourage other countries to do the same.
Australia also regularly makes in-kind and extra-budgetary contributions to the IAEA’s work, including under the Peaceful Uses Initiative, such as the multi-year project to provide a greater understanding of marine characteristic and radioactive and chemical pollutants in the Asia-Pacific region. Our active program of assistance and regional cooperation includes support through the Regional Cooperation Agreement (RCA), support for our Pacific neighbours, hosting fellowships and scientific visits, and contributing actively in meetings and consultancies.
Australia’s new large-scale molybdenum-99 processing plant will come online in 2017 and, with a capacity of 20-25% of world demand, will help secure the global supply of a potentially life-saving radiopharmaceutical. Australia’s production of radiopharmaceuticals remains fully based on low-enriched uranium technology for both fuel and targets. The co-located Synroc waste treatment plant will demonstrate Synroc’s viability for molybdenum-99 and other waste streams.
We were pleased to welcome Director General Amano to the site during his recent visit to Australia. We welcome Director General Amano’s decision to make himself available to serve a third term.
The essential pre-condition for cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is confidence that nuclear material and technology is not being diverted for non-peaceful uses. IAEA safeguards are fundamental to the global non-proliferation regime and help create an environment conducive to nuclear cooperation.
All Member States must work together to ensure an effective safeguards system with universal coverage. The system needs to be independent, credible, and adequately resourced. We consider a comprehensive safeguards agreement with an Additional Protocol as the international standard for verification. Australia continues to encourage all countries to develop and implement effective safeguards, including through the Asia-Pacific Safeguards Network and the Australia Safeguards Support Program. We support the Agency’s efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the safeguards system.
Australia welcomes the Director General’s advice that Iran is provisionally applying its Additional Protocol and that it is cooperating with the Agency in implementing the E3/EU+3/Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which provides verifiable assurances to the international community that Iran’s nuclear activities will remain exclusively peaceful. We encourage Iran to continue to meet the commitments it has undertaken.
Australia has joined the international community’s strong condemnation of the DPRK’s nuclear program, particularly the two nuclear tests it has conducted since we last met, which violate numerous UNSC and IAEA resolutions. We stand firm with our allies and regional partners in calling on the DPRK to abandon its nuclear and missile programs in a complete and verifiable manner, restart full cooperation with the IAEA and implement its safeguards obligations, and come into compliance with UN Security Council and IAEA resolutions.
Nuclear safety remains of paramount importance to nuclear energy and applications. We acknowledge the significant efforts undertaken in recent years by the Secretariat and Member States to enhance nuclear safety. We welcome the Director General’s report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and the adoption of the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety. We support the Agency’s further work on radioactive waste safety. We place high importance on the safe and secure use of radioactive sources and their end-of-life management.
The entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) earlier this year is a fundamental component of the global nuclear architecture. We look to the Agency to continue playing a role in helping Member States to implement the amended CPPNM.
Australia actively participated in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington this year, for which we co-chaired the working group on the role of the IAEA in global nuclear security. The summit communique appropriately reaffirmed the Agency’s central role in strengthening nuclear security globally and in developing guidance.
The IAEA’s second International Conference on Nuclear Security in December will be a significant opportunity for Member States to build momentum on enhancing nuclear security in light of emerging threats.
Australia continues to expand its network of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements. Australia has negotiated, and looks forward to bringing into force, an agreement with Ukraine. The Australia-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement and its associated Administrative Arrangement came into effect in November 2015.
This year’s General Conference, the 60th time we have met in this format, continues to provide a valuable opportunity to take stock of the work of the Agency and ensure that it continues to advance the peaceful uses of nuclear energy while preventing diversion of nuclear material and technology. We, the Member States, must continue to support efforts towards these objectives.