Topnews, Statements

15. September 2020


Agenda Item 7: Strengthening the Agency’s Activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications

Madam Chair,

From the outset, we the co-Chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL, Germany and South Africa would like to once again, thank Member States for their commitment and generous contributions to the ReNuAL project over the last 6 years.

The co-Chairs are pleased to recall another notable achievement of the project, the opening of the new Yukiya Amano Laboratories building in June this year. The Yukiya Amano Laboratories building is now fully operational and serves as home for the Animal Production and Health Laboratory, the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Laboratory, and the Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory. 

The Animal Production and Health Laboratory has received requests for assistance from 127 Member States, in detecting and diagnosing the coronavirus and this has been made possible by the new, high-quality laboratory facilities which are a result of ReNuAL. ReNuAL reached many milestones in the last year which have adequately prepared the Agency to assist Member States to navigate their way through the current global pandemic. 

In this regard we underscore the importance of the IAEA’s role in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology to address emerging challenges, from zoonotic diseases to climate smart agriculture. Moreover, modernizing the laboratories at Seibersdorf is imperative in ensuring that they remain fit-for-purpose to address Member State demand for services, now and well into the future.

However, there is still some work that has to be done to complete the modernization of all of the laboratories, as the current building is over 60 years old.

In this regard, we recall DG Grossi’s announcement, in the March 2020 Meeting of the Board of Governors, of plans to build a new building which will house three of the remaining laboratories whose space and infrastructure urgently require modernization. 

Madam Chair, the co-Chairs would like to also thank the Director General and the Secretariat for the informal technical briefing held on 3 September 2020 during which the future of the ReNuAL project was detailed. It is our understanding that a comprehensive analysis was undertaken with the help of external experts on the most cost-effective approach to completing the modernization of the Seibersdorf laboratories and that the main elements required to complete the modernization include:

-     The Construction of a new building similar in scope to the Yukiya Amano building to house the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory, the Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, and the Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory;

-     The renovation of the Dosimetry Laboratory wing of the existing lab building; and

-     The replacement of the laboratories’ aging greenhouses.  

We, the co-Chairs, express our firm intention to continue working with the Secretariat as it further refines designs and resource requirements for the coming phase of the project. The co-Chairs are mindful that national budgets are currently under strain due to the need to respond to the global pandemic. 

At the same time, the enhanced capacity of the Animal Production and Health Laboratory is bringing to bear, thanks to its new facilities, as part of the Agency’s support for Member States in responding to the pandemic, serves as a reminder of why completing the modernization effort remains important and urgent.

The remarkable progress attained so far has been achieved through generous contributions from traditional and non-traditional donors and it is a pleasure to welcome Argentina, Montenegro, the Netherlands,  and Paraguay as Friends of ReNuAL and new contributors since the last General Conference.. We, would like to further encourage continued Member State engagement and support for the lab renovation efforts, particularly to build upon the momentum gathered so far in broadening the base of ReNuAL contributors.

We encourage those in a position to do so to consider further timely contributions toward the completion of this essential project.

Furthermore, Madam Chair, we thank the Friends of ReNuAL who participated in the 11 September 2020 meeting. The Friends of ReNuAL meetings remain an important forum for us to engage and we thank all those who availed themselves during this busy time.

In this regard let us highlight the opportunity for any new ReNuAL contributors to virtually place their country’s national brick in the donor wall at the upcoming 64th General Conference ReNuAL side event, which will be held on 21 September at 12 noon.

Madam Chair, in closing please allow us to thank DG Grossi, DDG Mokhtar and the whole ReNuAL Team for their leadership and promotion of the ReNuAL project, which will allow the IAEA to continue to deliver on its mandate to support Member States in the peaceful uses of nuclear sciences and technologies.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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