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Topnews, Statements

06. March 2017

STATEMENT BY DR JOHNNY THABO PITSWANE, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 6 MARCH 2017, VIENNA

AGENDA ITEM 3: STRENGTHENING THE AGENCY’S ACTIVITIES RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS:

NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY REVIEW 2017

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by the African Group and G77 and China, respectively.  We would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity.

Chairperson

South Africa welcomes the Director General’s report on the Nuclear Technology Review for 2017 which provides an overview of the Agency’s activities in the area of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in 2016 and provides current status as well as future projections of nuclear power plants. 

In the view of my delegation this Nuclear Technology Review is an important reference and authoritative material for policy makers when considering various energy policy options.  It is for this reason that South Africa believes that this document should be widely disseminated as it may assist to assuage concerns about the utilisation and demand for nuclear energy. 

As highlighted in this report nuclear power continues to be a viable option for many countries in their quest to address energy security challenges. Accordingly, the report indicates that for the 2030 projections, global nuclear power will increase by between 1.9% in the low case scenario and 56% in the high case scenario. The report further alludes to the fact that the global nuclear generating capacity increased by 9.2 Gigawatts in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Nuclear energy constitutes an integral part of South Africa’s energy mix. Efforts are currently underway to increase the nuclear energy capacity generation from 5% to 23%.

Chairperson

Despite operational challenges and outages in some medical isotope facilities, the Director General’s report indicates that there was no major shortage in the global supply of Moly-99 (molybdenum-99) in 2016. As one of the leading global suppliers of the LEU-based Moly-99, South Africa will continue to provide this vital medical resource.

Chairperson

With regard to the management of radioactive sources, South Africa is pleased to note that a number of successful operations were conducted in 2016 to remove the disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRS) from user premises to bring them under control in proper storage conditions. In this regard, South Africa continued to cooperate with the Agency in assisting Member States in securing disused sealed radioactive sources through missions led by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation using a mobile hot cell which it manufactured in 2007. We encourage the Agency to continue to provide these essential services which contributes to nuclear security to Member States to ensure that these radioactive sources do not end up in the wrong hands.

My delegation welcomes the Agency’s continued efforts, through the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VETLAB) network, to strengthen regional and national veterinary laboratories for the early and rapid detection and diagnoses of zoonotic diseases in wildlife and livestock. It will be recalled that in 2012, South Africa provided the seed funding for this project with additional funding provided by the United States and Japan. Last year, the VETLAB network celebrated 4 years since its establishment in 2012 and has now been extended to 40 Member States in Africa and 17 Member States in Asia. Four of the laboratories in the network namely Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Cameroon serve as reference centres of excellence.

In conclusion, Chairperson, Member States may recall that funding for the VETLAB project came to an end last year. In order to ensure continuity and sustainability of this project, it will be important that this project should become an integral part of the Technical Cooperation Programme .

With these remarks, South Africa takes note of the report of the Director-General on Nuclear Technology Review contained in document GOV/2017/2.

Thank you.

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