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Topnews, Statements

11. September 2018

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 11 SEPTEMBER 2018, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 4: Nuclear Security

Chairperson,

South Africa associates itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the distinguished Permanent Representative of Nigeria on behalf of the African Group. In addition, we wish to make the following comments in our national capacity.

Chairperson,

When discussing a subject as important and topical as nuclear security it is always prudent to place one’s intervention in its proper context.

Like all delegations, South Africa attaches great importance to nuclear security. Malicious threats to nuclear facilities, nuclear material and other radiological substances remain ever present.  It is for this reason that we must continue to invest in nuclear security in order to enhance expertise to deter, detect and combat such malicious acts.  Similarly, nuclear security is a global concern.  While nuclear security is first and foremost a national responsibility, nuclear security threats also manifest globally requiring global solutions that involve all States.  It is in this context that my delegation appreciates the support provided by the Agency to Member States, upon request, to develop national nuclear security regimes or programmes, but also as the central coordinator of the global nuclear security architecture.

We thank the Director General for his Nuclear Security Report for 2018, which we have studied closely.  South Africa welcomes the significant number of outreach, training and capacity-building projects related to all aspects of Nuclear Security undertaken by the Agency in response to the needs of Member States in the reporting period – some of which took place in our own country.    Enhancing nuclear security expertise in South Africa remains central to our overall nuclear security strategy.

Importantly, South Africa is in the process of reviewing its nuclear security plan to make it more robust and responsive to current and future threats.  In this regard, we are pleased to inform the Board that with the support of the Agency we will soon finalise the new Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plan (INSSP).

We commend the role played by the Agency in promoting the universalisation of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment.  In this regard, we are pleased to announce that in May this year, our Cabinet approved South Africa’s ratification of the Amendment, which is now before Parliament for finalisation.

Moreover, as previously indicated, South Africa with the support of the Agency has developed capabilities and expertise in the management of disused radioactive sources. We will continue to provide technical to Member States both in Africa and beyond in their efforts to recover, consolidate and return disused and orphaned radioactive sources.

We have also established a Nuclear Security Support Centre at the University of Pretoria to coordinate capacity building activities in nuclear security in the country.

Mr Chairman,

As I conclude, I wish to remind the Board that although we have collectively and individually done much to strengthen nuclear security, we should be reminded that in order for the global nuclear security system to be truly effective it needs to be comprehensive.  Even if all the civilian material were fully secured to the highest standards, this will only cover a negligible percentage of the weapons usable material around the world, leaving a critical gap in the architecture.  It is thus both legitimate and essential that all the remaining nuclear materials, which is characterised as military materials should also be subjected to international security standards and oversight mechanisms.

Finally, nuclear energy not only provides for the expanded opportunity to generate power for our development, but we also derive benefit from its application in areas such as health, nutrition and agriculture.  It is therefore appropriate that measures to strengthen nuclear security should not hamper the right of States to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

With these remarks South Africa takes note of the Nuclear Security Report of 2018.

I thank you.

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