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08. March 2016

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, GOVERNOR/RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE IAEA, BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 7-11 MARCH 2016, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

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

(A) NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY REVIEW 2016

Chairperson,

Today being the International Women’s Day, we salute all women across the world and pledge our solidarity in their quest for access to equal opportunities.

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by the Ambassador of Namibia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China as well as by the Ambassador of Sudan on behalf of the African Group.  In addition, I would like to present the following brief remarks in my national capacity in order to highlight our high-level efforts in the fields of Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications.

Mr Chairperson,

We welcome the Nuclear Technology Report 2016, which highlights nuclear technology trends during the year 2015 and makes projections for the future. We find this Report useful, especially its section on nuclear power, because it can also serve as a valuable and credible reference for energy policy makers who have the responsibility of making crucial decisions about their respective countries' energy future plans. In this regard, we are pleased to note that nuclear power remains a viable solution to many countries’ energy security challenges.
For example,  according to this report,  381.7 gigawatts electric were generated from nuclear power. 

I am pleased to highlight that South Africa also generates 5 percent of its electricity needs from nuclear. We have begun processes to expand our nuclear power programme in order to add 9.600 megawatts electric which will increase the percentage of nuclear power to 23 percent by 2030.

We appreciate the support provided by the Agency in assisting us to assess our readiness to expand our nuclear power programme. As you may recall, in 2013 the IAEA undertook  the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) to South Africa and made several valuable recommendations which are currently being implemented.

Mr Chairperson,

Through our South African Nuclear Corperation company, NECSA, South Africa remains one of the two largest global suppliers of the molybdenum-99 radioisotopes to date.  The NTP, NECSA’s subsidiary company, is also one of the main suppliers of LEU based Mo-99 and continues to work to convert their production processes to be fully LEU based. The country remains committed to this effort of HEU minimisation goal in peaceful applications in addition to having fully converted the Safari-1 reactor to use LEU fuel in 2009. However, challenges remain to ensure competitiveness in the LEU based Mo-99 production market as other suppliers using HEU are still being subsidized. We encourage the Agency to continue supporting the development of Member States abilities to generate the LEU based production of molybdenum-99 and technetium-99m.

We further take note of efforts being made in pursuing alternative production of technetium-99 from accelerator-based facilities and caution the impact of time-scales for the construction and licensing of these facilities on the security of supply for Mo-99. We encourage support to existing facilities to ensure continuous supply of Mo-99 to patients around the globe.

Mr Chairperson,

In the area of the safety of radioactive sources, South Africa continues to cooperate with the Agency in assisting member states in securing spent and disused radioactive sources through missions led by Necsa which uses a mobile hot cell which it manufactured in 2007. This cooperation contributes globally to the safe handling of disused radioactive sources as well as to nuclear security to ensure that these sources do not end up in the use of building dirty bombs.

As I conclude Chairperson, let me also highlight  our efforts in the area of Accelerator and Research Reactor Applications.  South Africa’s iThemba LABS for Accelerator Based Sciences provide state-of-the-art facilities and programmes for high quality research, training and services in nuclear sciences and applications for the benefit of the people of South Africa and the African continent in general.  iThemba LABS also has an Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy Facility. South African universities benefit from this state-of-the-art facility.  Through this programme, significant contributions are being made to areas such as Biomedicine, Diagnostics, Agriculture and Minerals, Materials and Chemicals. We thank the Agency for extending financial support to iThemba LABS through its Technical Cooperation Programme.

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of GOV/2016/3.

I thank you.

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