IAEA Board of Governors
Statement by Mr Jarrod Powell, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Australian Statement: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications
10 September 2019
Thank you, Chair.
Australia welcomes the Director General’s report on Strengthening the Agency’s Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications, and thanks Deputy Directors General Mokhtar and Chudakov for their introductory remarks.
Australia recognises the real and potential benefits of the peaceful uses and application of nuclear technology in advancing a wide variety of basic socioeconomic human development needs worldwide, including in human and animal health, nutrition, food and agriculture, water resource management, environment, industry, materials and energy.
We also recognise the important relationship between the Agency’s work in nuclear applications, and its work under the Technical Cooperation Programme, and note the significant benefits delivered to Member States, which are enhanced through effective coordination and collaboration between the relevant departments.
Australia is continuing to work closely with Sri Lanka to investigate the epidemiology of CKDu (Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Aetiology). Building on the MOU between ANSTO and the Sri Lankan Presidential Taskforce for the Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has now contributed over 700 000 AUD to help research this devastating disease.
Australia acknowledges the Agency’s strengthened efforts on distance learning through the promotion of the Cyber Learning Platform for Network Education and Training, or CLP4NET. We welcome the ongoing efforts aimed at improving the learning experience offered by the platform, and encourage the Agency to make available as much of its distance learning material as possible available to all Member States.
Australia sees great value in the Agency’s relationships with other relevant international organisations, including the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the World Health Organisation. Through cooperation, coordination, and access to the complementary activities and expertise within these organisations, the Agency can maximise the benefits it delivers to its Member States. We encourage the Secretariat to continue strengthening such relationships.
We welcome the Agency’s efforts to assist Member States in minimising the civilian use of high enriched uranium (HEU), and congratulate Nigeria on the conversion of the Nigeria Research Reactor-1 to LEU fuel. The minimisation of civilian use of HEU is critical to addressing and eliminating unnecessary and avoidable nuclear security and proliferation risks. We urge all Member States using HEU in civilian applications, including nuclear medicine production, to consider how its use might be minimised or eliminated.
The ANSTO Synroc plant continues to make strong progress. In July 2018, construction commenced on the first of a kind waste treatment facility using ANSTO Synroc technology. The plant will be used to condition intermediate-level liquid wastes from the production of nuclear medicine. Industry-leading advancements in automation and robotics will allow the entire plant to be automated from a seamless operating interface. Handover of the building is expected in the latter half of 2020, which will allow plant commissioning to commence.
We welcome the steady progress made towards completion of the ReNuAL and ReNuAL+ project, and we congratulate the Secretariat on its efforts to mobilise resources for ReNuAL+ from non-traditional donors. We encourage Member States that have not yet made a contribution to ReNuAL or ReNuAL+, to consider making such a contribution if in a position to do so.
As we have already noted under the agenda item on Nuclear and Radiation Safety, we also welcome the recent briefing by the Secretariat on Transportable Nuclear Power Plants, and stand ready to engage further in this discussion as the Agency seeks to address gaps or deficiencies in the existing safety standards regimes. We encourage the Secretariat to include information related to the Agency’s work on TNPPs in future iterations of the report before the Board.
Thank you, Chair.