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Topnews, Statements

05. März 2019

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 5 MARCH 2019, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 3: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications: Nuclear Technology Review 2019

Madam Chairperson,

South Africa joins other delegations in welcoming the new Deputy Director General for Nuclear Applications, Dr Najat Mokhtar, who can count on our support as she undertakes this important task.

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by the African Group and G77 and China.

My delegation also associates itself with the statement delivered by the Governor of Germany on behalf of the co-chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL. We would like to make the following remarks in our national capacity.

Madam Chairperson, one of the core reasons for the existence of the IAEA is to assist Member States to utilize nuclear science and technology to achieve their development goals. My delegation thus attaches great importance to the Nuclear Technology Review, as it highlights current status as well as future projections of nuclear power plants and other non-power applications. Importantly, the report indicates high level activities undertaken by the Agency in support of Member States’ utilization of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Nuclear power continues to be a viable option for many countries as part of their energy mix to address energy security challenges. We are therefore pleased to note that the global nuclear generating capacity increased by 8 Gigawatts in 2018. In South Africa during the period under review, nuclear power accounted for 6.7 percent of the country’s total energy output.  

Although South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), as released in August 2018, does not envisage growth in the nuclear energy capacity before 2030, our Minister of Energy will be convening a Summit on Energy where all relevant stakeholders will comprehensively discuss and map out the energy future of our country in line with our National Development Plan, wherein nuclear energy continues to be an integral part.

Madam Chairperson,

My delegation believes that the treatment of cancer is a high priority. We particularly note the recent increase in gynaecological cancers, which has become a global crisis. This challenge requires the cooperation of all relevant international organizations, particularly the World Health Organization and the IAEA, working hand in hand with Member States. Roles and responsibilities of each party must be clearly understood if our interventions are to be sustainable and impactful.

We note with satisfaction that a number of techniques and treatment options are being pioneered to address this scourge and the Agency’s role in this regard.

Assured and adequate supply of medical isotopes is important. Unfortunately, as reflected in the report, some operational challenges and outages has caused brief regional shortages in the supply of molybdenum-99 (Moly-99) in 2018. South Africa, as one of the leading producers of Moly-99, will continue to play its part in contributing towards a global supply of this vital product. We are pleased that after experiencing temporary outages in 2018, the production of medical isotopes, in South Africa is now back in full swing.

We also take the opportunity to inform the Board that the Agency provided a Laminar Flow Cabinet to the University of Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Africa’s leading medical and cancer treatment centre. This equipment is now operational. We are also eagerly awaiting the delivery of a Hot Cell and Synthesis Unit, which will be delivered in the course of this year.

Furthermore, we are pleased to inform that South Africa will be hosting a regional training course in December this year, on nuclear medicine, where participants will be trained on SPECT/CT for bone benign conditions.

Madam Chairperson,

We recently held a highly successful Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, held in November last year, which was of critical importance to the majority of Member States.  This Conference highlighted the significance of nuclear science and technology applications in addressing a variety of socio-economic and human development issues. It further laid a framework for the IAEA in collaboration with Member States to expand its technical support. In this context, South Africa looks forward to the follow-up Conference, which should take place, in our view, not later than 2022.

Madam Chairperson,

Climate change is a threat and it is irreversible. South Africa is one of many countries that directly experience the effects of climate change, in our water supply, crops and animal welfare. The application of nuclear science and technology in this area will go a long way in ensuring food security and safety. As a further expression of our commitment my country hosted the Africa Food Safety workshop in Pretoria in June 2018, which was attended by 230 delegates from 50 countries. We thank the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for sponsoring the participation of the participants of some countries. We further wish to announce that South Africa will also host the second Africa Food Safety Workshop, which will be held in 2020.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture keeps providing valuable support to Member States. The joint division is also responsible for the development of the VETLAB Network; which over a number of years has assisted in strengthening the diagnostic capacities, preparedness and rapid response to infectious animal and zoonotic diseases of veterinary laboratories.

My delegation is pleased to highlight that over the last year, the VETLAB network has provided emergency response assistance in relation to African Swine Fever, technical support, and technology transfer and assistance to African and Asian Member States, as well as emergency toolboxes and expert services to VETLAB partner laboratories. We urge interested Member States to support this network as it has been proven to rapidly share data, material and expertise.

In conclusion, Madam Chairperson, we welcome efforts by the Agency in streamlining gender and youth in all the programmes of the Agency, focussing particularly on capacity building and skills development. In this regard, it is important that the Secretariat should elaborate key indicators in order to measure progress in these areas.

With these remarks, South Africa takes note of the report of the Director General on Nuclear Technology Review contained in document GOV/2019/4.

Thank you.

Die erste Herz Transplantation
wurde bereits 1967 in Südafrika
vorgenommen von
Dr. Chris Barnard.

 
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