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17. September 2014

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE AND GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA TO THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 17 SEPTEMBER 2014, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

 

STRENGTHENING THE AGENCY’S ACTIVITIES RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS

Chairperson,

My delegation wishes to thank DDGs Bychkov and Malavasi for introducing this agenda item.  We particularly wish to welcome the newly appointed DDG Malavasi who among the many important tasks that he has had to handle immediately upon his resumption of duties was the ReNual of the Seibersdorf Laboratories. We are looking forward to working with you in this regard.

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf the Group of 77 and China by H.E Ambassador Yparraguirre of the Philippines and by H.E Ambassador Madjumo Maruta on behalf of the African Group.

My delegation would like to commend the IAEA for its continued support to South Africa through the Technical Corporation Programme in the areas of health, nuclear research, nuclear medicine, agriculture, nuclear safety and regulation. The programme has contributed towards nuclear technology development for sustainable economic growth in South Africa and the African region.

South Africa remains committed to nuclear energy as an integral part of our energy mix.  We continue to benefit immensely from the environmentally friendly power generated from our Nuclear Power Plant in Koeberg. We are pleased to announce that plans are advanced to expand our nuclear power programme.  Indeed our government attaches great importance to the issue of nuclear power. Earlier this year a cabinet energy sub-committee was established in order to effectively coordinate high level decision making on energy security, particularly, our nuclear power programme. We recognise that to build a viable nuclear energy sector there is a need to urgently address the issue of human resource development especially the core and critical skills. It is against this background that we commend the Agency for organising in May this year, the International Conference on Human Resource Development for Nuclear Power Programmes. We urge the Agency to continue such initiatives with a particular focus on women in nuclear. We commend the activism shown by the DDG for Human Resources who continues to highlight a need to promote the role of women in nuclear. WE believe that the TC Programme stands a better chance to integrate and mainstream gender in all its programmes.

At a regional level, South Africa continues to play a leading role with regard to the AFRA projects to deepen tri-lateral cooperation with the Agency and our partners in the sub-region and promote nuclear research and development for social benefit. This week (17 to 21 September 2014), South Africa will host the Regional (AFRA) Training Course on Cardiology and Oncology. 

Good progress has been made on the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) on the border between South Africa and Mozambique through the IAEA technical support and funding from the South African Government. The First Coordination Meeting for the new Tsetse Project, will be held in South Africa in November this year. Similarly we are pleased to announce that, through the collaboration of South and the IAEA, a project to recover orphan sources through the Mobile Hot cell (MHC) missions in Sudan, Tanzania, Uruguay, the Phillipines and Costa Rica has been successfully completed.

Our SAFARI-1 Research Reactor aspires to become Africa’s leading nuclear research reactor. In this regard we appreciate the continued support received from the IAEA on the establishment of the neutron beam-line facilities at this reactor. This no doubt will contribute to a significant increase in research outputs at Necsa and other external users.

Chairperson,

The Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) continues to be amongst the top leading supplier of critical radioactive isotopes to the global pharmaceutical Industry. One of the many pharmaceutical products supplied by South Africa is Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), which is used in over 50 countries. In cooperation with our international partners we will continue to deploy every effort in ensuring the constant supply of this critical raw material.

While we support the minimization of HEU where it is economically and technically feasible, we wish reiterate that this issue should be addressed within the context of long outstanding negotiations on the Fissile Material Treaty. South Africa has advocated that these negotiations should commence within the Conference on Disarmament without further delay.

Chairperson,

South Africa attaches great importance to the role of the Agency’s Nuclear Application (NA) laboratories in Seibersdorf in developing and transferring nuclear related and complementary technologies that contribute significantly to food security and safety, medical dosimetry, water management and environmental protection. These technologies improve the living standards of people around the world, especially in Africa.

Since the last Board meeting South Africa and Germany, in our capacity as the Co-Chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL, have worked closely with the Secretriat to find a solution to the concerns that were raised by Member States regarding the ReNuAL Strategy.  We welcome the issuing of an Addendum to the Strategy document which provides an update to the ReNuAL project, making provision for the inclusion of the other elements in the strategy as ReNuAL Plus and look forward to further information in this regard in future. 

My delegation is particularly pleased with the efforts that are being made  to establish a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory capability for the IAEA.  We welcome the possiblity that such a capability could be established at Modling, in the near future, depending on the availablity of funding and other relevant factors.  We have been to Modling and we have seen the Austrian BSL3+ laboratory which is close to completion. The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) has offered to share this state of the art laboratory with the IAEA and the possibility of adding an extension, when funds become available, for the sole use of the IAEA. This is one of the options available at Modling.  We are looking forward to more consultations on the way forward and would like to thank the Austrian Government for all its efforts in this regard.

Chairperson,

We call on all Member States to support the renovation of the Nuclear Application Laboratories.  These laboratories contribute to health and prosperity in each and every Member State and it is encumbant on us to ensure that they will continue to do so in future.

With these remarks we take note of the DG’s reports contained in Gov/2014/46-GC(58)/18 and Gov/INF/2014/13-GC(58)/INF/6.

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