South African Embassy, Vienna
Sandgasse 33, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43 1 320 6493
Fax: +43 1 320 6493 51
Emergency No: +43 664 117 1801 - FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY
(NOT FOR VISA RELATED ENQUIRIES)

Business Hours Embassy
Mon-Fri 08.00-12.45; 13.30-16.30
Visiting Hours Consular Section

Visa, SA Citizen Services
Mon-Fri 08.30 - 12.00

Topnews, Statements

21. September 2020

STATEMENT BY THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, HONOURABLE MR SG MANTASHE, MP ON THE OCCASION OF THE 64th SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) GENERAL CONFERENCE, VIENNA, 21 SEPTEMBER 2020

VIA VIDEO RECORDING

Mr President, Ambassador Farhane

Director General Grossi

Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegation

Distinguished Delegates

South Africa reiterated its commitment and strong support to the Technical Cooperation Programme and I am therefore pleased to announce that South Africa is pledging an amount of Two Hundred and Thirty Four Thousand Euros (€234 000) to the Technical Cooperation Fund for 2021. South Africa will also continue to implement the Country’s Programme Framework, which has enabled us, with assistance of the IAEA, to launch four (4) new Technical Cooperation projects, in the areas of Agriculture, Health and Safety.

We need to continue contesting the space for nuclear as clean energy technology. In the energy debate scientific evidence is there to support our prescription.

We welcome this year’s theme for the Scientific Forum “Nuclear Power and Clean Energy Transition”. As a country we continue to see an ever increasing role for nuclear power to embark on the clean energy transition whilst expanding our power sources. In order to ensure energy security and to mitigate the carbon footprint, nuclear power will continue to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s energy mix.

In implementing our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019-2030, South Africa has already commenced consultations with suppliers of nuclear power reactors to provide costing and schedule information and possible ownership models, through the Request for Information for the 2500MW programme issued in June 2020.

As part of the current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), it was decided that the operational life of Koeberg Nuclear Power Station must be extended by another 20 years and we have started the necessary technical and regulatory work. I am grateful for the IAEA’s support of this undertaking through the Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation Missions on the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station Plant, with the most recent pre-mission taking place in September 2019. Koeberg remains one of our most reliable, efficient, safe and affordable power stations on our electricity grid.

Mr President,

Despite the logistical challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic we are starting to see increased access to offshore markets for the supply of medical isotopes that are critically important products to the rest of the world.

Another key project that South Africa has embarked on, is the imminent upgrading of our aging nuclear research reactor, SAFARI-1. Since establishing a Ministerial Task Team in 2019 to develop a replacement by 2030, we have already approved the Project Initiation Report, which recommends SAFARI-1 be replaced with a Multi-Purpose Reactor. The project has advanced to the pre-feasibility stage.

In conclusion, this year when we have marked the 75th Anniversary of two dark days in our history, namely the only two Atomic bombs ever used in August 1945. We therefore must reiterate South Africa’s unwavering and principled position that Nuclear Weapons and all Weapons of Mass Destruction should be eliminated from the earth.

With this, Mr President, I would like to reiterate our best wishes for you and all participating Member States, well with the Conference, which we are sure will be a success under your leadership and I hope that in the next conference we’ll be able to meet face to face and be able to network in a venue where we can all come together and talk to each other.

Thank you very much.

 

 

COMPLETE STATEMENT

Mr President, Ambassador Farhane

Director General Grossi

Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegation

Distinguished Delegates

Ambassador Farhane, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, please accept our congratulations on your election as President of the 64th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference.  We are especially proud that a fellow African is at the helm this year. Please be assured of South Africa’s full suppport for you and your team to ensure that this Conference is a success.

Mr President,

This important Conference is taking place at a challenging time for the world when we are currently faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial that we use this opportunity to renew our commitmitment to multilateralism and to strengthen international solidarity and cooperation.  If anything the pandemic has underscored the need for global solutions for global problems. This is the only truly effective way to permanently roll-back this global pandemic and to prepare for further events.

I also wish to express South Africa’s deep appreciation for the support provided to, the entire international community, includingmy Country by the IAEA during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Just like many other Member States, South Africa was one of the recipient Member States assisted by the Agency with the provision of Covid-19 test kits. I am pleased to announce that through the collaborative efforts of our Government and citizens, and with the support provided by international organisations such as the IAEA, we have been able to flatten the curve and have now lowered the infection and mortality rates in South Africa – but the fight is far from over. 

That is why my delegation volunteered to take the lead in drafting a resolution in support of the ambitious ZODIAC project.  We are proud that the basis of this project is South Africa’s legacy project of VETLABS, without which the IAEA would not have been able to provide support to Member States in such a quick and efficient manner. As we move forward, we reiterate the need for close consultation with Member States and we want to assure the Director General of our support in ensuring that ZODIAC is a success.

Mr President

March 2020 marked the 50th Anniversary of the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (the NPT).  This year also marks the 25th Anniversary of its indefinitate extension in 1995.  In order to strengthen the full realization of the Agency’s Motto of “Atoms for peace and Development”, we need to emphasize the strategic importance of the balanced implementation of all three pillars of the Treaty, namely Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and the inalienable right of all State Parties to access nuclear energy for peaceful uses.  

A critical delivery mechanism of this third Pillar is the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TC), which support Member States in attaining national, regional and global development objectives, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals andthe African Agenda 2063.  In our own context, participation in the IAEA’s TC Projects directly contributes towards South Africa’s socio-economic development and assists the Government in addressing some of the most critical needs in our society.

South Africa reiterated its committed and strong support to the Technical Cooperation Programmeand I am therefore pleased to announce that South Africa is pledging an amount of Two Hundred and Thirty Four Thousands Six Hundred and Forty Two Euros (€234 642) to the Technical Cooperation Fund for 2021. South Africa will also continue to implement its Country Programme Framework, which has enabled us, with assistance of the IAEA, to launch four (4) new national Technical Cooperation projects, in the areas of Agriculture, Health and Safety.

We are also pleased that in the past year we have been able to complete the Vector Mosquito Rearing Facility, which will use the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to eradicate malaria and other insect related diseases throughout the Continent. It is the first such facility in Africa. South Africa remains committed to continue to contribute towards enhancing the African Continent’s development, including through the peacful use of nucelar energy, science and technology.  It was therefore an honour to serve as Chair of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA) and it was a pleasure to welcome, your country, the Kingdom of Morocco, as a participating state in AFRA recently.

Mr President

A critical area of development is energy, and therefore we welcome this year’s theme for the Scientific Forum “Nuclear Power and the Clean Energy Transition”.As a country we continue to see an ever increasing role for nuclear power to embark on the clean energy transition whilst expanding our power sources. In order to ensure energy security and to mitigate the carbon footprint, nuclear power will and must continue to play a pivotal role in South Africa’s energy mix.

In implementing the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019-2030, South Africa has already commenced consultations with suppliers of nuclear power reactors to provide costing and schedule information, through a Request for Information issued in June 2020. This will be used to inform our Roadmap to deployment of new nuclear power plants up to an additional 2500MW by 2030.

Through our Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, the country has demonstrated its ability for long-term, safe operation of such facilities. This is currently one of the lowest operating cost power stations in South Africa.

As part of the current Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), it was decided that the design life of Koeberg must be extended by another 20 years and we have started the necessary technical and regulatory work. The original design of Koeberg assumed a 40-year operational life span and the two units will reach their end of life in 2024 and 2025 respectively. I am grateful for the IAEA’s support of this undertaking through the Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation missions on the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, with the most recent pre-mission taking place in September 2019.

Mr President

Nuclear applications directly contribute to South Africa’s economic growth.  Only one example is our production of medical radiosotopes at NECSA. Following technical updatesregular supply to meet the global demand has been fully restored and South Africa can continue as a leading country in this important area.  In fact despite the logistical challenges brought on by the COVID pandemicwe are starting to see increased access to offshore markets for these critically important products to almost pre-COVID levels.  

Another key project South Africa has embarked on, is the replacement/upgrading of our aging nuclear research reactor, SAFARI-1. Since establishing a Ministerial Task Team in 2019 to replace our reliable but aged SAFARI-1 by 2030, we have already approved the Project Initiation Report. This report considers a variety of options for the replacement of the capability, weighed against our developmental criteria. The project has advanced to the pre-feasibility stage and is expected to proceed to the feasibility stage by December 2020. The Government of South Africa is fully committed to this project, which will not only sustain but also significantly expand our isotope production and nuclear research capabilities.

Mr President

South Africa has an excellent track record for safely operating all its nuclear facilities, some of which have been managed safely and securely for more than fifty years.  South Africa has also taken up various global leadership roles in the field of nuclear and radiological safety further illustrating our strong commitment in this area.

In October 2019, South Africa hosted a regional promotional meeting on the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The purpose of this meeting was to promote the adherence of the Member States in the African region to the Joint Convention, and several African Countries, notably Kenya and Ethiopia confirmed major progress towards becoming Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention.

South Africa, through the National Radioactive Waste Disposal Institute (NRWDI) will soon be entering into Practical Arrangements with International Atomic Energy Agency on the cooperation in the area of safe and secure borehole disposal of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources (DSRS).

South Africa also joins others in congratulating the IAEA for hosting a successful third (3rd)International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS) that took place in February this year. We welcome the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration by consensus in which we all reiterated the IAEA’s central role in coordinating international cooperation in this important area.

One example of this role is the technical support the IAEA provides to Member States to implement their respective obligations under international instruments such as the Convention on Physical Protection on Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) and its 2005 Amendment. Like others we look forward to actively participate in the Review Conference in 2021.

Mr President

We reiterate our full support for the key mandate of of the IAEA in the implementaion of Pillar II of the NPT, nuclear non-proliferation, and the key role the IAEA’s international safeguards regime fulfils in this regard. We welcome the fact that the IAEA, with the support of Member States, has been able to continue, with slight adjustments, to implement its obligations in this regard but without significant interruptions throughout the pandemic. 

In conclusion, this year when we have marked the the 75th Anniversary of two dark days in our history, namely the only two Atomic bombs ever used in August 1945.  We therefore must reiterate South Africa’sunwavering andprincipled position that Nuclear Weapons and all Weapons of Mass Destruction should be eliminated from the earth. These weapons are evil and their mere existence post a direct threat to international peace, security and stability.

With this, Mr President, I would like to reiterate our best wishes you and all participating Member States well with the Conference, which we are sure will be a success under your leadership. Please be assured of our unwavering commitment to continue to endeavour to bring the benefits of nuclear energy, science and technology to everyone in a safe and secure manner.

I thank you

The Johannesburg stock exchange
is one of the 15 biggest
stock exchanges in the world
and was the 7th best
performer in 2005.

 
© Copyright by SA Embassy 2020 | Imprint | Contact | Privacy Policy | Deutsch