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03. März 2021

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 03 MARCH 2021, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Agenda Item 5: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to Nuclear Science, Technology and Applications: Nuclear Technology Review 2021

Madam Chairperson,

1.    My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by the African Group as well as the G77 and China. Similarly, we associate ourselves with the earlier joint-statement delivered on behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Friends of ReNuAL. South Africa would like to make the following additional remarks, in its national capacity.

Madam Chairperson,

2.    South Africa thanks the Director General for presenting the Nuclear Technology Review 2021 which highlights the positive role that peaceful uses of nuclear energy continues to play in the fields of nuclear power, human and animal health as well as agriculture. We are also pleased to note that future projections indicate that nuclear energy will remain pivotal in mitigating amongst others climate change.

3.    South Africa recognises the important role of nuclear power as a stable and resilient low-carbon emitting source of energy, as such, nuclear power is an integral part of South Africa’s energy mix as reflected in our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019-2030. In pursuit of our Nuclear New Build Programme, we commenced consultations with suppliers of nuclear power reactors to provide costing and schedule information. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa, has also concluded public hearings on the public concurrence with the ministerial determination on the procurement of 2500 megawatts new generation capacity.

4.    In additional to nuclear new build, my country remains steadfast in its commitment to maintaining safe operation of existing nuclear power plants and to extend their life span. South Africa is therefore, actively working towards extending the original forty years life span of the two units in the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant by another 20 years. We have started the necessary technical and regulatory work, with the support of the IAEA’s through the Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation missions.

Madam Chairperson,

5.    Small and Medium Modular Reactors, which is a design of interest to South Africa, are notably the most explored reactors, with more than seventy designs worldwide. The advantages presented by SMRs makes them attractive to developing countries. We therefore commend the Agency for developing the generic user requirements and criteria for SMR designs and technology to assist Member States in assessing the technology and the development of tender documents. South Africa has gained substantive knowledge in this field through the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and is sharing the same through amongst others, participation in the Small Modular Reactors Regulators Forum.

Madam Chairperson,

6.    Nuclear Medicine is at the forefront of combating cancer and we applaud the Agency for its continued work in developing new techniques in this regard.

7.    South Africa encourages Member States, in a position to do so, to continue supporting the efforts of the Agency in providing assistance to other Member States to improve their national laboratory capacities to early detect, diagnose and control trans-boundary animal and zoonotic diseases which threaten livestock and public health. In addition, South Africa welcomes the work undertaken through the use of radioisotopes and radiation technology in this regard. We further welcome the signing of a Revised Arrangement between the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which will see the expansion the work undertaken in the monitoring and control of transboundary animal, zoonotic and plant diseases a key area of expertise for South Africa.

8.    My Delegation attaches great significance to the important role youth and women play in the nuclear field globally. South Africa remains fully supportive of the activities taken to achieve gender mainstreaming and we urge the Secretariat to continue to apply youth and gender best practices when conducting and hosting workshops and training courses.

9.    In conclusion, my delegation wishes to remind Member States that one of the core reasons for the existence of the IAEA is to assist Member States to reap the benefits of nuclear technology. All humanity should be able to utilise the technology for socio-economic development in support of the UN Sustainable Development goals as we look forward to more detailed NTR reports in the future.

With these remarks, South Africa takes note of the report.

Thank you.

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