The annual meeting of the General Conference, the highest policy-making organ of the IAEA, took place in Vienna on 16-19 July
The main purpose of this event was to formulate the programmatic priorities for the Agency's activities for the next year as well as to adopt relevant decisions and resolutions.
Furthermore, the framework of the IAEA General Conference is used by Member States to present their political positions and inform the international community about their activities in the field of nuclear energy.
The delegation of Ukraine at the 63rd session of the IAEA General Conference was headed by Chair of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine Mr Hryhorii Plachkov. In his speech at the GC plenary session Mr Plachkov outlined Ukraine's principled position on the importance of maintaining the Agency's independence in the field of safeguards application and drawing relevant conclusions, which are the basis of the international non-proliferation regime. In this context, Head of Ukrainian delegation drew attention of Member States to the threats to international security that arose from the temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by Russia, as well as the militarization of the peninsula.
“Nowadays, we are suffering for the 6th year of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Such actions have significantly undermined the international efforts of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol manifest in rapid transformation of the Peninsula into a huge military base threatening security and stability in the entire Black Sea region and beyond”, - said Mr Plachkov.
One more important element in Ukraine's statement at the IAEA plenary was the signal of the need for the international community to respond to non-compliance with nuclear safety commitments.
“We notice with concern the lack of credible information with regard to the latest radioactive incidents which caused transboundary implications. In particular, radioactive incident with ruthenium 106 and the recent explosion with radioactive implications near the city of Archangelsk (Russian Federation) pushed a significant problem to the forefront of the IAEA framework – the problem of one State’s incompliance with international nuclear safety obligations. There is a clear need and a right time for the international community to draw relevant conclusions out of these events”, - underlined Mr Plachkov.
General Conference adopted the IAEA budget for the next two-year period, which enables Ukraine to continue receiving Agency’s technical and advisory assistance for implementation of national projects envisaged by the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme.
During the 63rd IAEA General Conference Ukraine has co-sponsored five important resolutions, and the delegation of Ukraine has held a number of important bilateral meetings that will enhance international cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.
The full statement of Head of delegation of Ukraine is below:
of the Head of the delegation of Ukraine at the 63rd Session of the IAEA General Conference,
(16-20 September 2019, Vienna)
On behalf of the Ukrainian delegation, allow me to join previous speakers in congratulating you on your election as the President of the 63rd session of the IAEA General Conference.
My delegation stands ready to work constructively under your leadership.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of Director General Mr. Yukiya Amano for his wisdom and talent to run the Agency and his efforts in advocating and strengthening nuclear and radiation safety and nuclear security worldwide. He will be missed by all.
Ukraine recognizes the Agency’s leading role in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We reconfirm our support for the activities of the Agency aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system, and welcome the efforts of the Agency with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to military purposes.
Nowadays, we are suffering for the 6th year of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Such actions have significantly undermined the international efforts of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol manifest in rapid transformation of the Peninsula into a huge military base threatening security and stability in the entire Black Sea region and beyond.
Despite the continued military aggression from a nuclear-weapon State, Ukraine remains fully committed to its obligations under the NPT in general and the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in particular. The aggressor should clearly understand that any of the international organizations, where the rule of law prevails, will never be impudently used to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea.
We recognize the considerable progress in the overall safeguards implementation approach which has undergone the way from a system focused on verifying declared nuclear material and drawing relevant safeguards conclusions to the system that assesses the consistency of all information regarding a state's nuclear program and to draw safeguards conclusions for the state as a whole. We fully support the IAEA independence in this regard.
Ukraine is clear in its position that the Agency should remain the one and only authority to draw relevant conclusions. Those conclusions should be based on the collected and processed information from a wide range of sources but judged only from technically credible data.
In this regard we are encouraged with the successful conclusion of the Symposium on International Safeguards, organized by the Agency in November 2018.
Ukraine recognizes the Agency’s central role in strengthening the nuclear security framework globally, in particular through providing assistance to States upon request and in leading the coordination of international activities in nuclear security, including information exchange. In this regard we commend the Agency for its continued work on the Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB), which we consider to be an important source of information and we encourage Member States to actively participate in the data base. Ukraine pays great importance to the security of radioactive sources and we will remain active in this regard.
Ukraine is looking forward to the Third International Regulators Conference on Nuclear Security organized in cooperation with the IAEA to take place in the coming weeks in Morocco and Nuclear Security Conference 2020.
Nuclear and Radiation Safety remain a top priority for Ukraine. We appreciate the Agency for its continuous efforts to assist Member States in maintaining and improving their national standards of nuclear safety. We believe that activities under Convention on Nuclear Safety, Joint Convention and other legal instruments provide good background for enhancing safety of peaceful nuclear energy use worldwide.
At the same time, we notice with concern the lack of credible information with regard to the latest radioactive incidents which caused transboundary implications. In particular, radioactive incident with ruthenium 106 and the recent explosion with radioactive implications near the city of Archangelsk (Russian Federation) pushed a significant problem to the forefront of the IAEA framework – the problem of one State’s incompliance with international nuclear safety obligations. There is a clear need and a right time for the international community to draw relevant conclusions out of these events.
We recognize that the IAEA Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) represents the fundamental mechanism through which the Agency helps States to build, strengthen and maintain capacities in the safe, peaceful and secure use of nuclear technology in support of sustainable socioeconomic development.
We note with appreciation that the IAEA TCP activities keep pace with the overarching importance of applying the nuclear techniques in human health as a key focus area achieving the sustainable development goals.
Ukraine supports the IAEA’s efforts to respond to the growing global cancer crisis by developing the Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). We are looking forward to fruitful cooperation with the Agency in the field of diagnosis and treatment of the most common cancers, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine services.
Ukraine appreciates the support of the Agency aimed at the decommissioning of Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, as well as remediation of territories affected by the Chornobyl accident, and management of accident generated radioactive waste. Ukraine reiterates its interest in continuing constructive cooperation with the Agency in this regard.
We believe that nuclear power will remain an important option to achieve energy security and sustainable development goals in the 21st century. Ukraine supports States’ decisions to develop or further expand civil nuclear power programs. In our view, the main prerequisite for the peaceful use of the nuclear energy is the state’s commitment to non-proliferation regime and to the highest standards of nuclear and radiation safety and security.
We believe that the lessons learned and knowledge accumulated by the IAEA in the all fields of nuclear energy utilization create a unique advisory platform applicable to all States.
In closing, Mr/Madam President, please allow me to reaffirm Ukraine’s continued support of the IAEA work and our conviction in the important role the Agency plays in support of international peace and security.