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Agenda Item 6: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science technology and applications

IAEA Board of Governors: 19-23 September 2016

Statement by HE Mr David Stuart, Resident Representative to the IAEA

Agenda Item 6: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science technology and applications

 

 

Thank you Chair,

 

The Director General’s report on Strengthening the Agency’s Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications and its seven Annexes cover a wide range of beneficial uses of nuclear science and technology, which contribute to economic development, human health and environmental protection. We recognise the important relationship between the Agency’s activities in this area and the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme, noting the significant benefits delivered to Member States through the program. We particularly appreciated the DG’s explanation of the Agency’s promotional activities during his recent visit to Australia.

 

Chair,

 

In March this year, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) was officially designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre in the field of “Multi-analytical techniques for materials research, environmental studies and industrial applications” for a period of 5 years. (ANSTO is home to:

  • landmark infrastructure including neutron scattering beam instruments, a synchrotron, various accelerators, and materials fabrication and testing facilities; and
  • a wide range of expertise related expertise in nuclear fuel cycle and reactor materials; nuclear-based environmental techniques, radiopharmaceutical production and radiation effects in living matter.

ANSTO also has a range of User programs through which researchers, collaborators and commercial clients from across Australia and around the world can gain access to the equipment and expertise).  

 

Australia regularly makes a variety of in kind and extra-budgetary contributions to the IAEA’s activities related to nuclear science technology and applications. So far this year, Australian experts have participated in approximately 40 meetings and consultancies and Australia has hosted 10 fellowships and scientific visits (we hosted a total of 19 in 2015). For example this year, two fellows from Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission undertook an eight week fellowship placement with ANSTO’s Neutron Activation Analysis group. As Jordan will soon commission its first research reactor, the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR), which is a pool-type multipurpose research reactor similar to the OPAL reactor, the fellows were provided with advice on the equipment Jordan should be procuring in order to fully utilise the reactor’s NAA capabilities. When the JRTR reactor is commissioned, the fellows will have a strong knowledge base to build their capability on, allowing them to safely and effectively carry out NAA in their own facility. 

 

Under the Peaceful Uses Initiative, Australia helped make it possible for representatives of Pacific Island States to attend a preparatory meeting held by the Secretariat in Vienna in June this year to help align the Technical Cooperation Program with the Development Goals of Small Island Developing States.

 

Under PUI, we have also provided funding to a Nuclear Applications Coordinated Research Project on “Levels, Trends and Radiological Effects of Radionuclides in the Marine Environment”, which will provide a greater understanding of marine characteristics and both radioactive and chemical pollutants in Asia-Pacific and globally.  This will in turn help areas such as seafood management and marine environment protection practices for participating countries.

 

Chair,

 

The IAEA has long had a working relationship with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (the FAO). We appreciate the joint work being done by the FAO and the IAEA to ameliorate the human health and socioeconomic impacts of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, trypanosomiasis and dengue fever and to use nuclear science and technology to increase food safety and security and agricultural practices.

 

The report before the Board on the status of the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories at Seibersdorf, the so called ReNuAL project shows welcome progress.  In particular, we welcome advice that the first phase is now fully funded. This project is important in modernising the Agency’s capability in major areas of its technical competency, such as dosimetry, sterile insect technique, plant mutation breeding, and nuclear instrumentation, as well as supporting the development of these capabilities in Member States. Australia has provided a total of 600 000 Euros to the ReNuAL project. We encourage other Member States in a position to do so to contribute, so all aspects of the project can be completed.  

 

In June this year, Australia joined the Generation IV International Forum (GIF).  While Australia does not utilise nuclear power itself, we have specialised expertise and infrastructure in Australia in the analysis of materials in high-stress environments that we believe can contribute to the goals of developing the next generation of nuclear reactor designs that are safer, more efficient and with high levels of proliferation resistance.  We look forward to being an active member of GIF in the years to come.

 

Australia is committed to and supportive of the Agency’s activities in Nuclear Knowledge Management. Specifically, we are actively involved in ANENT (the Asian Network for Education in Nuclear Technology) and have provided content, expertise and resources for that and other groups and activities.

 

Chair,

 

Australia welcomes the IAEA’s organisation of an International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme: Sixty Years and Beyond – Contribution to Development, which is to be held from 30 May to 1 June 2017. It will provide an opportunity to showcase the excellent work the IAEA does to improve social, economic and environmental outcomes using nuclear techniques.

 

Chair,

 

With these comments, the Australian delegation takes note of the Director General’s report on Strengthening the Agency’s Activities Related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications, and endorses the Board’s submission of the report to the General Conference.

 

Thank you Chair.