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Topnews, Statements

04. June 2018

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 04 JUNE 2018, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 3

Technical Cooperation Report for 2017

Chairperson,

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the G77 and China and the African Group respectively. I would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity.

Chairperson,

My delegation takes note of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2017 which provides an overview of the progress achieved in the implementation of the Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme. The TC programme is an important delivery mechanism through which the Agency fulfills its statutory mandate to promote the peaceful uses of atomic energy, thus assisting Member States to realize their socio-economic development priorities.

South Africa has noted with appreciation that in 2017, the Agency continued to provide support to 45 African Member States, in building human and institutional capacity for the sustainable application of nuclear technology for development and in strengthening regional cooperation. In this regard, my delegation will continue to work together with the African Group and the Secretariat to address any challenges in coordination in order to improve the implementation rate of the TC programme in the region of Africa.

My delegation wishes to remind Member States of our shared responsibility towards funding and enhancing the TC activities of the Agency in ensuring that the Agency’s resources for TC activities are Sufficient, Assured and Predictable. In this regard, my delegation is of the view that timely and full payment of assessed contributions will alleviate challenges in the implementation of projects.

Chairperson,

The TC Report highlights that efforts continued throughout the reporting period to further strengthen the role of the Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) as the main strategic planning tool for the development of national TC programmes for Member States. In this regard, my delegation is pleased to note that out of the 20 CPFs signed by Member States last year, 6 were signed by Member States from Africa. South Africa’s CPF has expired and it is our hope that the process of signing a new one will be expedited for finalization before the General Conference.

Chairperson,

Allow me to take the opportunity to highlight the various projects and achievements which focus on a number of critical areas for my country, such as: human health, human resource development, water management, and nuclear safety and regulatory infrastructure.

South Africa took part in an interregional project to upgrade the Mobile Hot Cell as part of the framework of ‘Sustaining Cradle-to-Grave Control of Radioactive Sources’. This upgraded Mobile Hot Cell now allows for direct disposal during conditioning operations. In this regard, a demonstration of the new capabilities was conducted in South Africa in September 2017. Moreover, this project developed the IAEA Mobile Tool Kit, which is a mobile facility that allows for the conditioning of Category 3 - 5 Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources (DSRS). This truly is an achievement for the IAEA and South Africa, as both the upgraded Mobile Hot Cell and the newly developed Mobile Tool Kit will facilitate the safe management of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources worldwide.

Chairperson,

Education, training and innovation are central to South Africa's long-term development and form a core component of our National Development Plan. Our in-kind contribution in 2017 of experts and training courses to the Agency is therefore not only in line with our national objectives, but also advances international cooperation. 

The establishment of a South African Centre of Excellence for Nuclear Education Science and Technology is a project that aims to strengthen nuclear science and technology education programmes in order to better meet future demands. This project was approved in 2016 and is a collaborative effort with the Agency, our South African Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) and the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA).

Furthermore, my delegation welcomes the mission conducted by IAEA experts to South Africa in order to provide guidance on the application of the IAEA Milestones approach to the development of national nuclear infrastructure for a new research reactor project.

Chairperson,

Water resource management, is a priority for my region and our project with the Agency, titled ‘Using Isotopic Analysis of Groundwater and the Environment in a Joint International Isotopes in Hydrology Programme’ has effectively supported the strengthening of the capacities of the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) facility at iThemba LABS for C -14 measurements in groundwater and for high-precision measurement of stable isotopes in environmental samples.  iThemba LABS are truly world-class facilities,  providing opportunities for modern cutting edge research, advanced education, the treatment of cancers and the production of unique radioisotopes by bringing together scientists working in the physical, medical and biological sciences. According to the 2017 TC Report, the project has resulted in C-14 measurements being carried out in a matter of minutes. This project has also helped upgrade the preparation line in the laboratory, for collection and processing of samples in high-purity conditions. South Africa is proud to announce that iThemba LABS now offers a 100-fold increased throughput of water samples for radiocarbon analysis.

Chairperson,

I would also like to thank the Secretariat and Member States for their continued support of the ReNuAL, a project we have been privileged to champion, in the context of the Friends of ReNuAL, together with Germany.  As you may all be aware the Insect Pest Control Lab was inaugurated in 2017 and we are looking forward to the inauguration of the Flexible Modular Laboratory in November this year.

The VETLAB Network was developed with seed funding from South Africa supported by Japan and the United States. This global network of national veterinary laboratories has grown and expanded to 44 African and 19 Asian countries. We are pleased that the network is currently looking at ways to expand into Central and Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. We urge interested Member States to support this network.

In conclusion, my delegation is further pleased to note that the Agency continues to work in close partnership with Member States, other United Nations agencies and national institutes so as to maximize the contribution of nuclear science and technology to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 17.

With these remarks, my delegation takes notes of the Technical Cooperation Report for 2017 as contained in document GOV/2018/15.

I thank you.

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