IAEA Board of Governors
Statement by H. E. Mr Richard Sadleir, Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda Item 6: The safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine
Australia welcomes the opportunity to consider this critical issue. With the safe and secure operation of Ukrainian nuclear facilities under immediate threat due to Russia’s unprovoked invasion, there is no doubt the close attention of this Board is warranted.
As I have said before, Australia condemns the Russian Federation, in the strongest terms, for its act of aggression in invading Ukraine. It is a flagrant breach of international law, including the UN Charter’s prohibition on the use of force.
We call upon Russia to immediately return full and effective control of Ukraine’s nuclear sites to Ukrainian authorities, and to ensure the regulator and operators can independently undertake their vital functions to ensure the safety, security and safeguarding of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. The most effective way of achieving this is – clearly – Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by a widespread disinformation campaign. It is deeply regrettable that we have heard disinformation during discussions at this Board, through Russia’s dissemination of false narratives on events and circumstances at the Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhia sites.
We are also concerned about Russian-instigated disinformation regarding Ukraine’s commitment to safeguards under the IAEA; this seeks to discredit not only Ukraine but also the IAEA.
We commend the professional and impartial briefings provided by the Director General and look forward to briefings by the IAEA under the mandate given it by Board of Governors’ resolution GOV/2022/17, adopted on 3 March.
The risks we are seeking to address here are risks which concern us all – it is hard to over-state the impact a nuclear incident at Chornobyl or Zaporizhzhia or another location in Ukraine would have, not only on Ukraine and its people, but also on Europe, the world, and global confidence in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. We urge all Governors to approach our deliberations openly and transparently.
We welcome the commitment of the Director General and his staff to address, as a matter of urgency, the range of serious and ongoing risks that arise from the situation in Ukraine. We strongly support the Director General’s pursuit of dialogue and wish him every success in finding solutions that ensure the safety, security and safeguarding of nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
Thank you Chair.