IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 6(a) (SIR): The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2018
12 June 2019
Australia notes that the Agency’s Safeguards Implementation Report for 2018 again highlights increasing demands on the Agency to implement effective safeguards in the global context of an increasing number of safeguards agreements, and a growing quantity of nuclear material under safeguards.
For example, the SIR shows that over the course of 2018 there was an increase of more than 10 significant quantities of nuclear material per day in addition to a growing number of facilities subject to safeguards, and an increase in the complexity of these facilities.
Australia also notes that – in addition to its standard verification work – the Agency has been expending considerable effort verifying and monitoring safeguards in the Islamic Republic of Iran under the JCPOA, whilst also developing readiness to return to North Korea, should that need arise.
Given the vital importance of effective safeguards to international security and nuclear non-proliferation.
Australia notes with concern that the modest increases made to the Agency’s regular budget over the last three years are not keeping pace with the Safeguards Department’s increased workload.
Accordingly, we commend the Secretariat’s efforts to increase the efficiency of its approaches and processes, while not compromising effectiveness.
In particular, we commend the Agency on the development of State-level Safeguards Approaches for five more states, and on the successful completion of the MOSAIC project.
We also appreciated the 13th Symposium on International Safeguards, which focused on ‘Building Future Safeguards Capabilities’, including the identification, development and application of emerging technologies.
Australia welcomed the Director General’s 2018 report entitled:
“Implementation of State-level Safeguards Approaches for States under Integrated Safeguards – Experience Gained and Lessons Learnt”
In our view full implementation of the State Level Concept is necessary for the continued strengthening of the safeguards system, and we look forward to the Agency’s development and implementation of further SLAs.
We welcome progress towards universalisation of the Additional Protocol reflected in the SIR, and we commend Liberia and Serbia for bringing their APs into force in 2018.
The combination of a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and an Additional Protocol constitutes the contemporary standard for verification, and we call upon all States that have yet to bring an AP into force to do so as soon as possible.
Australia encourages the Secretariat to further develop the SIR to ensure it has sufficient detail and context to enable the Board to assess the effectiveness of the Agency’s implementation of safeguards.
For example, we would like to see future iterations of the SIR include greater specificity on areas of difficulty in safeguards implementation.
Greater specificity would better position the Board to assess the impact of these difficulties on the effectiveness of IAEA safeguards, and to monitor progress in resolving the difficulties.
The 2018 SIR indicates yet again that improving State Systems of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Materials is key to addressing many of the areas of difficulty in safeguards implementation identified in the report.
We call on Member States to assist the IAEA and fulfil their obligations by ensuring their SSACs are sufficiently resourced and functioning effectively.
We appreciate the Secretariat’s greater use of graphics to visualise multi-year trends in safeguards implementation in the 2018 SIR, and we encourage the continued improvement of the readability and interpretation of the data in this important document.
Australia notes the Agency’s SIR for 2018 as contained in GOV/2019/22, and we welcome the release of the Safeguards Statement for 2018 and of the Background to the Safeguards Statement and Summary.