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08. Juni 2015

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MS LYDIA GREYLING, ALTERNATE RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, VIENNA, 8 JUNE 2015 

AGENDA ITEM 2: THE ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2014

Madame Chairperson,

My delegation commends the Secretariat for compiling the Annual Report for 2015 and the technical briefing on 27 May 2015, highlighting the key activities and achievements of the Organization over the last year.

Chairperson,

South Africa believes that the demand for nuclear power and the application of nuclear technology will continue to increase. Nuclear power and the peaceful applications of nuclear technology, if optimised to the fullest, can meaningfully contribute to the achievement of international development goals. The inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology is of particular relevance and importance in attaining sustainable and accelerated economic growth in Africa.

We believe that South Africa is in a unique position to contribute towards the energy security of our own country, and our continent through our diversified energy mix in general and our renewable programme in particular. As The Honourable Minister of Energy, Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson in her address to parliament on 19 May 2015 stated that in terms of South Africa’s  approved Nuclear Energy Policy in 2008, which provides for the expansion of the nuclear build programme in a coordinated manner to address our socio-economic needs and to bolster the economy, the Cabinet approved the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010, which  provides for 9,600 Megawatts of electricity to be generated through nuclear power, with the first unit commissioned by 2023.

To date, South Africa has signed various Inter-Governmental Agreements (IGAs), laying the foundation for cooperation, trade and exchange of nuclear technology, as well as procurement. These agreements describe broad areas of nuclear cooperation and they differ on emphasis, based on the unique needs of each country.

Vendor Parades have been completed with all nuclear vendor countries that have shown interest to participate in the nuclear new build programme, including South African professionals from government departments, State owned entities and universities. The actual nuclear procurement process will start in the second quarter of this financial year to select a Strategic Partner or Partners in a competitive, fair, transparent and cost effective manner and it is expected to present the outcome of this procurement process to Cabinet by the end of this year.

Madame Chairperson,

South Africa has followed the milestones’ approach regarding the planned expansion of its nuclear power and placed a strong emphasis on having all the necessary safety, security and regulatory requirements in place and we acknowledge the role that the IAEA will continue to play to assist countries that already have operating nuclear power plants. In preparation for our nuclear build, South Africa hosted an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission in 2013 and is implementing the recommendations made by the IAEA Review Team. In order to strengthen our emergency preparedness and response capability, South Africa hosted an EPREV Mission in 2014 and our experts are addressing the outcomes of the mission with to view to improving our capabilities in this regard.

Madame Chairperson

DG Amano travelled to South Africa to mark the 50th anniversary of the SAFARI-1 nuclear research reactor. SAFARI-1 is the one of the leading reactors in the production of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) worldwide. In December 2010 it became the world’s first large-scale producer to supply MO-99 using Low Enriched Uranium.  The operational availability of the reactor averages more than 300 days per annum at an average reactor power of 20 MW, which makes it one of the highest utilised reactors in the world. This achievement is the result of a closely managed and effective maintenance programme, and the implementation of a reactor ageing management programme. In cooperation with our international partners we will continue to deploy every effort in ensuring the constant supply of this critical raw material.

During his visit to South Africa DG Amano met with South Africa’s Minister of energy and with our President.  The issue of capacity building for the nuclear build was high on the agenda. Whilst South Africa has extensive expertise and knowledge in the nuclear disciplines, given our history with nuclear energy and nuclear research, the new build programme will require more capacity in this regard.

In order to be ready to meet the demand of the nuclear new build programme, South Africa has initiated a Nuclear Skills and Training programme.  We will send 300 young South Africans for specialised nuclear skills training to international partners in 2015. Fifty young South Africans from the nuclear field travelled to China in April to receive nuclear training. We also have training partnerships with the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and France. We plan to further enhance these collaborations and avail these opportunities to South Africans from all walks of life.  South Africa will also work closely with the Agency in this regard.

Madame Chairperson,

My delegation appreciates the Agency’s continued efforts in 2014  to support effective capacity building and the transfer of nuclear technologies for their application in areas such as human health, food and agriculture, water resources management, environmental protection, industrial applications, and energy planning.  These activities are of great value, especially on the African continent where there continues to be a shortage of skilled and trained staff.

In this context we recall best practice examples, such as the Virtual University for Cancer Control (VUCCnet) in Africa, which strengthens and supports Member States’ own efforts to build human resource capacity in cancer control. We are pleased to note that VUCCnet is well on its way to becoming a fully-fledged regionally owned and operated e-learning platform and coordination mechanism with academically accredited content. It is our view that VUCCnet may well be of benefits to other regions and we call on the Agency to support the replication of VUCCnet in other regions.

Madame Chairperson

With regard to the section of the 2014 Annual Report on Technical Cooperation, South Africa reiterates the importance of strengthening of the promotional activities of the Agency, including technical cooperation through the provision of adequate resources, so as to properly respond to the growing needs of Member States and to enhance the use of nuclear technology for sustainable development in Member States. South Africa will provide detailed comments on this topic in its statement under agenda item 4, on the Technical Cooperation Report for 2014.

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of the Annual Report and recommends its promulgation to the General Conference.

Thank you

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