Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia

Agenda item 5: Strengthening the Agency's Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications

IAEA Board of Governors

Agenda Item 5: Strengthening the Agency's activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications

12 September 2023

Statement by Ms Marina Francis, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA


Thank you Chair

Before we deliver our statement, Australia sends its deepest sympathies to those affected by the catastrophic flooding in Libya. Our thoughts are with the people of Libya at this time.


Australia welcomes the Director General’s report on Strengthening the Agency's Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications.


The Agency’s work on nuclear science, technology and applications underpins the inalienable right of all States Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and supports achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Australia welcomes the significant progress made under the Rays of Hope initiative. These efforts are essential in reducing cancer deaths and saving millions of lives – particularly in Least Developed Countries. We welcome ongoing efforts in this domain and look forward to further discussions on how Australia can work with the Agency to best support cancer care activities in the Pacific.


Australia recognises that plastic pollution is one of today’s most pressing environmental challenges, posing a direct threat to sustainable development. Australia was pleased to provide financial assistance to support the NUTEC Plastics initiative and we welcome the Agency’s work in supporting over 60 Member States to adopt harmonised protocols to analyse microplastics and develop mitigation and remediation measures.


The completion of the final stage of the ReNuAL 2 project, to modernise the laboratories in Seibersdorf, is crucial to meet the growing and evolving needs of Member States. We commend the significant resource mobilisation efforts of the Secretariat and Friends of ReNuAL group, which have bolstered the Agency’s capacity to undertake agricultural, environmental and climate change-related research.


The Open Pool Australian Light Water Reactor (OPAL) continues to be one of the most safe and reliable research reactors in the world, operating for 300 days a year. We welcome the IAEA’s efforts to continue to foster regional and international collaboration to expand access to research reactors and their subsequent benefits, and to develop guidance on all aspects of research reactor operations – including on ageing management, nuclear safety, fuel supply, waste management and decommissioning.  


We are encouraged by the Agency’s strong collaboration with international nuclear organisations and entities, including the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the Generation IV International Forum. Ongoing engagement with these forums is necessary in reducing duplicative efforts, particularly in areas related to research, nuclear harmonisation, and Generation IV reactor development.

Looking to the future, many Australian scientists continue to be involved in nuclear fusion-related research, including through the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Fusion Power Coordinating Committee and the International Tokamak Physics Activity. We are proud to continue to co-Chair the International Fusion Research Council of the IAEA and look forward to the 29th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in October.

Finally Chair

Promoting gender equality and diversity within the IAEA, and within the nuclear industry more broadly, remains critical to maximising societal and developmental outcomes. We continue to support all the Agency’s initiatives and efforts in this regard, in particular, the Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Lise Meitner Fellowship Programmes.

With these comments, Australia is pleased to take note of the report.

Thank you, Chair.