IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by Mr Jarrod Powell, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 5: Nuclear Technology Review 2021
2 March 2021
Australia thanks Deputy Directors General Mokhtar and Chudakov for their introductory comments on this agenda item. We welcome the opportunity to comment on the Director General’s draft Nuclear Technology Review 2021.
Australia commends the Agency’s use of virtual meetings, webinars and other innovative methods to support Member States in their efforts to maintain and coordinate important nuclear activities, including in support of the distribution and utilisation of vital nuclear medicines, in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As the first major supplier to produce molybdenum-99 exclusively from low enriched uranium, having converted more than 15 years ago, Australia continues to emphasise the importance of minimising the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the production of nuclear medicines.
Several other Member States have also made significant strides in moving away from HEU-based production, directly improving nuclear security and non-proliferation. We welcome the ongoing progress noted in this report.
With the vast majority of molybdenum-99 now being produced exclusively from LEU, it is undeniable that the enabling technology is both economically and technically feasible. This is particularly important to recall as the world moves towards the next generation of facilities for the production of nuclear medicines which in some cases still plan on using HEU-fuelled reactors in the supply chain.
Australia encourages the Agency to continue enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation and collaboration with other relevant multilateral bodies, including the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the Generation IV International Forum.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, ANSTO, will also participate in the new Coordinated Research Project on Economic Appraisal of Small Modular Reactors. We look forward to fruitful and productive collaboration on this issue of growing interest and importance.
We will not repeat comments we have made under the previous agenda item, on issues such as transportable or floating nuclear power plants but would encourage colleagues to consider these statements in conjunction with each other given the crosscutting nature of the topics discussed.