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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 30, September 1998

IAEA General Conference

42nd Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, 21-25 September 1998

Editor's notes: unless otherwise stated, the source for the following extracts is the IAEA's web-site, address http://www.iaea.org/GC/gc42.

On 25 September, 11 States were elected to the Agency's 35-State Board of Governors. The newly elected States are: Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Sudan and Uruguay. The other 24 Board Members are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam.

Press Releases

Summary of the Conference

'IAEA General Conference Concludes in Vienna: States back stronger programmes,' IAEA Press Release PR 98/21, 25 September

"States meeting at the IAEA General Conference this week in Vienna strongly supported additional measures to strengthen the Agency's programmes related to nuclear verification, technical cooperation, and nuclear, radiation, and waste safety. They adopted resolutions in each of these areas during the Conference's closing sessions today.

Further resolutions are expected to be adopted before the Conference concludes later today on matters that include nuclear testing and the application of safeguards in the Middle East [Editor's note: see below]. The Conference is being attended by high-level governmental delegates from 105 of the Agency's Member States.

Also during the week, fifteen States of the European Union, Canada, Bulgaria, Holy See, Croatia, Uzbekistan, and New Zealand signed Additional Protocols to their IAEA safeguards agreements designed to strengthen the Agency's international verification of nuclear programmes. (See IAEA Press Release 98/19, issued 22 September 1998). Altogether 32 States and other Parties to safeguards agreements have signed Additional Protocols since the model text was approved by the IAEA Board of Governors in May 1997.

Highlights of selected Conference resolutions follow. ...

Strengthening IAEA Safeguards

Expressing its conviction that IAEA safeguards can promote greater confidence among States and thus contribute to strengthening their collective security, the Conference welcomed the fact that 32 States and other Parties to safeguards agreements have signed Additional Protocols aimed at strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system. It affirmed that strengthening the system with a view to detecting undeclared nuclear activities must be implemented rapidly and universally, and it requested all concerned States and other Parties to safeguards agreements to sign Additional Protocols promptly.

Strengthening IAEA Technical Cooperation

The Conference requested the Director General to pursue efforts with Member States to strengthen IAEA technical cooperation activities through the development of effective programmes aimed at improving the scientific, technological and regulatory capabilities of developing countries, and by continuing to encourage peaceful applications of atomic energy and nuclear techniques. ...

Strengthening Nuclear, Radiation, and Waste Safety

The Conference adopted a number of resolutions. One, on the Safety of Radiation Sources and the Security of Radioactive Materials, requested the IAEA Secretariat to prepare a report for the IAEA Board of Governors on how national safety systems in these areas can be operated at a high level of effectiveness and whether international undertakings concerned with the effective operation of such systems and attracting broad adherence could be formulated. A second resolution, on the Safety of Transport of Radioactive Materials, noted the concern that the transboundary movement of radioactive material should meet applicable international standards and that there is broad implementation of the IAEA's Transport Regulations by Member States through binding national regulations. ... A third resolution, on the Study of the Radiological Situation at the Atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa, welcomed the Study's conclusions and emphasized that they should not be used in justifying the development and testing of nuclear weapons. A fourth resolution, on the Convention on Nuclear Safety, stressed the important role of the IAEA in acting as a driving force in nuclear safety through its programmes and in promoting global cooperation, and it expressed satisfaction that a first review meeting of Parties (as called for by the Convention) will be held in April 1999. ...

Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)

The Conference expressed deep concern over the continuing non-compliance of the DPRK with its IAEA safeguards agreement and called upon the DPRK to comply fully with it. It urged the DPRK to cooperate fully with the IAEA and to take all steps the Agency may deem necessary to preserve all information relevant to verifying the accuracy and completeness of the DPRK's initial report on the inventory of nuclear material subject to safeguards until the DPRK comes into full compliance with its safeguards agreements. The Conference commended the IAEA Secretariat for its continuous efforts to monitor the freeze of specified facilities in the DPRK as requested by the UN Security Council.

Nuclear Inspections in Iraq

The Conference condemned Iraq's decision of 5 August 1998 to suspend cooperation with the IAEA, which it said constitutes a totally unacceptable contravention of its obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the UN Secretary-General on 23 February 1998. The Conference demanded that Iraq rescind the decision and cooperate fully with the IAEA in accordance with its obligations, as well as resume dialogue with the IAEA immediately. It stressed that the IAEA's Action Team should continue to exercise its right to investigate further any aspects of Iraq's nuclear programme.

Illicit Nuclear Trafficking

The Conference welcomed the IAEA's activities in the fields of prevention, response, training, and information exchange in support of efforts against illicit trafficking, and supported continuing work in accordance with the relevant conclusions of the IAEA Board of Governors. ...

IAEA Budget for 1999

In its budget resolution, the Conference approved expenditures in 1999 of US $224.3 million. It further approved the target amount of US $73 million for voluntary contributions to the IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund."

Additional Resolutions: Nuclear Testing & Middle East

'IAEA General Conference Concludes: Additional Resolutions Adopted,' IAEA Press Release PR 98/22, 25 September

"At the concluding session...States adopted resolutions including those on nuclear testing and the application of safeguards in the Middle East. ...

Nuclear Testing

The Conference urged all States that have not yet done so to become Parties to the [NPT]...and to place all their nuclear material facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards as the Treaty requires, and to become Parties to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty, without delay and without conditions. It urged all States, especially those with the capability to produce fissile material, to support the negotiations for a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices with a view to completing these negotiations as quickly as possible. It further urged the five nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their commitments relating to nuclear disarmament under the NPT, and to intensify their efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons.

Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East

The Conference requested the Director General to continue consultations with the States of the Middle East to facilitate the early application of full-scope Agency safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region as relevant to the preparation of model agreements, as a necessary step towards the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region. It further requested the Director General to submit a report on the implementation of the resolution to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the General Conference at its forty-third session in 1999."

US-Russia-IAEA Cooperation

'Statement on Behalf of the Russian Federation, the United States and the IAEA,' IAEA Press Release PR 98/18, 22 September

"Secretary of Energy of the United States, Bill Richardson, Minister of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation, Evgueny Adamov, and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, met in Vienna on 22 September 1998 to review progress made under a joint initiative inaugurated by their predecessors two years ago to investigate technical, legal and financial issues associated with IAEA verification of weapon-origin fissile material designated as no longer required for defense purposes.

'This meeting followed the US - Russia Summit at which President Yeltsin and President Clinton on 2 September 1998 signed a 'Joint Statement of Principles for Management and Disposition of Plutonium Designated as No Longer Required for Defense Purposes,' which includes a commitment for the United States and the Russian Federation to develop acceptable methods and technology for transparency measures, including appropriate international verification measures. Russia and the United States have each identified approximately 50 tonnes of plutonium that will be addressed through a future bilateral agreement stemming from this Joint Statement. The management and disposition of that plutonium will involve storage for a lengthy period. In the years to come, steps will be taken to render that plutonium unsuitable for nuclear weapons use.

During the past two years, substantial progress has been made under the trilateral initiative toward resolving technical problems associated with IAEA verification of classified forms of plutonium, which could include nuclear weapon components. The three parties have developed concepts that would enable the IAEA to draw meaningful and independent conclusions when verifying containers holding such items, without gaining access to classified information that could reveal nuclear weapon design or manufacturing secrets. These concepts will soon be tested using prototype equipment, leading to the specialized instruments required for the IAEA to carry out verification activities at designated facilities. Together with integrated monitoring capabilities, these verification measurements would permit the IAEA to conclude that weapon-origin fissile materials submitted to verification remain removed from use in nuclear weapon programs.

The verification foreseen is consistent with the obligations of the Russian Federation and the United States under Articles I and VI of the Treaty on the [NPT]…

Over the past year, technical workshops were held at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Obninsk Institute of Physics and Power Engineering, the Savannah River Site and IAEA Headquarters. Further workshops are scheduled during the next year, as the technical work shifts from concepts to practical implementation, to provide proof that the methods will allow credible conclusions without revealing classified information, and to develop verification approaches for specific facilities identified by the United States and the Russian Federation. Minister Adamov invited the United States and the IAEA to send experts during the next year to two workshops at Minatom facilities in the Russian Federation, at Arzamas-16 and at the Mayak Production Association, and Secretary Richardson invited the Russian Federation and the IAEA to send experts to two workshops at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and at other Department of Energy facilities in the United States.

In addition to work on technical issues, the parties are seeking to develop a model verification agreement. Using that model as the basis for negotiations, the IAEA verification regime being created for weapon-origin fissile materials will be implemented through a bilateral agreement between the IAEA and each State. Those agreements would allow the States to submit to verification any weapon-origin fissile material, or any other fissile material released from defense programs in the two States. Once submitted, the fissile materials will remain subject to IAEA verification until they are determined to be unusable for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

The model verification agreement anticipates that other States possessing nuclear weapons may undertake similar arrangements in conjunction with future arms reductions and would be one means through which international verification of nuclear disarmament would be effected. The parties are also considering options for financial arrangements. One option is an IAEA Nuclear Arms Control Verification Fund, proposed by the Director General.

Secretary Richardson, Minister Adamov and the Director General agreed that work over the next year would proceed for verification activities to commence as needed. They agreed that the three Principals would meet again in September 1999 to review progress and plan the next steps in this initiative."

US-Russia Agreements on Nuclear Cities & HEU

'Richardson and Adamov reach agreement on nuclear cities and framework for revolving problems with the HEU deal,' US Department of Energy Press Release, Vienna, 22 September

"After a series of intensive negotiations, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Yevgeny Adamov today signed an agreement to bring commercial enterprises to Russia's closed 'nuclear cities' and a joint report that outlines a .framework to resolve the problems with the agreement for US purchases of uranium from Russian nuclear weapons (the HEU deal). The negotiations and signing ceremony took place during [the IAEA] General Conference…

'These successes are important to our national security interests and represent significant progress in our nonproliferation cooperation with the Russians,' said Secretary Bill Richardson.

Nuclear Cities

The ten 'nuclear cities' were among the most secret facilities in the former Soviet Union. Behind their walls, thousands of scientists and engineers worked on the design, assembly and production of the Soviet nuclear arsenal.

Under the Nuclear Cities Initiative, the United States and Russia will join forces to bring jobs and commercial enterprises to Russia's secret 'nuclear cities.' The United States will lend its private enterprise experience to the ten Russian cities and matchmake private sector companies with the Russian facilities for manufacturing, marketing and sales of commercial goods.

'This is a Russian-led effort to 'rightsize' their nuclear complex and use the valuable skills of their scientists and engineers to promote economic development and new enterprises -- to turn the scientific and technological expertise that resides in their premier weapons facilities toward peaceful uses,' Richardson said. 'I can not emphasize enough how important it is to us all that economic hardship not drive Russian nuclear weapons scientists into employment in places like Iran and North Korea.'

The Initiative draws on the experience of the United States in restructuring the former nuclear weapons laboratories and production complexes. The Department of Energy will share the experience in restructuring that has taken place at US nuclear sites such as in Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee and will provide business training and support for development at the nuclear cities and institutes in Russia affected by downsizing. The United States' technical assistance will include training in business planning, methods to attract business to the area, and ways to get new businesses off the ground.

'The success of the Nuclear Cities Initiative will also serve our mutual arms control goals,' Richardson said. 'We have both had to worry about 'rightsizing' our nuclear complexes as our nuclear arsenals come down in size. We hope our experience will be a big help to the Russians as they start to close nuclear facilities.'

HEU Joint Report

'The HEU purchase agreement is important to both our nations because it gets nuclear weapons grade material out of circulation and brings much needed hard currency to the Russian economy,' Richardson said. 'The joint report we are signing today provides the framework to remove potential obstacles to implementing the agreement - it is important because it is based on the premise that the solution is a commercial agreement between Russia and a group of western uranium companies.'

Under the HEU Agreement that was signed in 1993, Russia is converting highly-enriched uranium extracted from dismantled nuclear weapons to low-enriched uranium which is delivered to the US for use in commercial nuclear reactors. Russia receives substantial payments for this material from USEC.

At the summit in September, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin recognized the need to address additional payments to Russia as compensation for the value of the natural uranium used to produce the reactor fuel delivered to the US.

The United States has agreed to take a number of steps to encourage and facilitate a deal between Russia and the western companies. These steps include:

  1. deferring sales of uranium by the Department of Energy;
  2. arranging an advance payment to Russia to be repaid through future deliveries of enriched uranium; and
  3. assistance in returning a portion of the natural uranium to Russia.
In turn, Russia commits to conclude an agreement with the group of western companies that will allow Russia to realize fair value for the Russian material.

The United States is committed to continuing to work with both Russia and the western companies to reach a mutually acceptable commercial solution. The framework in today's joint report will ensure that smooth implementation of the HEU agreement will continue for the next months while all parties seek agreement on commercial terms for fair payment to Russia."

EU Additional Protocols

'IAEA Strengthened Safeguards System: European Union Member States and Commission Sign Additional Protocols,' IAEA Press Release PR 98/19, 22 September

"The European Commission and the 15 EU Member States today signed three Additional Protocols on Strengthened Nuclear Safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency...

Three Additional Protocols were signed today in Vienna by the 13 non-nuclear-weapon States, plus France and the United Kingdom, all belonging to the European Union, by the European Commission on behalf of the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) and by the IAEA. On the occasion of the signature ceremony, Mr. Pablo Benavides Salas, Director-General for Energy in the European Commission, said that this step made by the European Union would give a strong impetus to the global nuclear non-proliferation system. Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA Director General, stated that one of the main purposes of the strengthened safeguards system - to provide assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in states with legally binding non-proliferation commitments - could best be achieved with global adherence and that the signature by the 15 Member States of the European Union including two nuclear-weapon States, of their Additional Protocols constituted an important step in that direction.

By this signature the European Commission and the 15 Member States of the European Union are sending a strong signal to the world that they are legally committed to the objective and purpose of the Strengthened Safeguards System. These Protocols will be implemented in the European Union by the IAEA in co-operation with member States of the EU and the European Commission. The objective is to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of the safeguards system as a contribution to global nuclear non-proliferation objectives.

After intensive discussions between the IAEA Member States, the IAEA Board of Governors approved in May 1997 a Model Additional Protocol which contains the legal basis for additional safeguards measures. These measures include provision of additional information to the IAEA and complementary access for IAEA inspectors to all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mines to nuclear waste treatment facilities and inspection mechanisms for fuel-cycle-related research and development.

With the conclusion of these three Additional Protocols, a considerable portion of the world's nuclear fuel cycle which is under comprehensive safeguards will be subject to strengthened safeguards. Additionally, the two Protocols with France and the United Kingdom confirm the commitment of these two nuclear weapon States to contribute still further to nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

The European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency hope that signature today of these three Protocols will serve as an example to other countries outside the EU, which have not already done so, to accelerate their preparations with a view to an early conclusion of Additional Protocols to their safeguards agreements with the Agency."

Statements

UN Secretary-General

Statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered on his behalf by Pino Arlacchi, Director General of the UN Office in Vienna, 21 September

"The IAEA continues to play a central role in meeting the challenges of our times. Its mandates and tasks remain vital for maintaining world peace, for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and for ensuring the peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology for sustainable development. ...

This session of the General Conference takes place against the backdrop of a most regrettable setback in hitherto successful global efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Lest we have forgotten, or have become complacent on account of notable achievements, this setback is a powerful reminder that the genie cannot be put back in the bottle, that we must focus on the driving forces behind the acquisition of nuclear weapons, that we must work not only on weapons capabilities but equally on real and perceived insecurities. We must also reaffirm our course of action: no nuclear tests; no new weaponization or deployment of nuclear weapons; a working system of global and regional security; and nuclear disarmament at the earliest possible date.

Against that background looms large the relevance of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, accompanied by credible IAEA safeguards and verifications. I welcome the significant progress made in strengthening the safeguards system through the Additional Protocols to existing safeguards agreements. It is encouraging that Additional Protocols have been concluded or are being finalized by several countries, and I urge all Member States to do so.

An essential complement to the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the landmark agreement on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. I reiterate my call to all countries to sign and ratify the CTBT, and I welcome the steady progress being made to the provisional technical secretariat of the preparatory commission for the CTBTO in fully assuming its tasks. ...

Substantial improvements have also been made with respect to another central concern: nuclear safety. ... I am pleased to note that you will, at this session, address further measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation and waste safety as well as safety of transport of radioactive materials.

An aspect of safety that has acquired great urgency of late is the illicit trafficking in nuclear materials by criminal elements, who ruthlessly exploit globalization and technological advances. With the valuable assistance of the IAEA, the international community must address this very real threat. ..."

IAEA Director General

Statement by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, 21 September

"Safety Conventions

In recent years, several important international conventions, negotiated under the Agency's auspices, have helped to fill gaps in the international nuclear safety regime. Of particular interest is the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the objective of which is to achieve and maintain a consistently high level of safety at nuclear power plants around the world. An organizational meeting of Contracting Parties will be held next week to prepare for the first Review Meeting in April 1999. Next week is also the deadline for Contracting Parties to submit their national reports on compliance with their obligations. The coming months, therefore, will provide the first test for the Convention's system of international peer review of national reports.

For a comprehensive safety regime to be established, States must subscribe to the conventions they have adopted. I should mention that the pace of ratification of the different conventions concluded under the auspices of the Agency is uneven. For example, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste, which was opened for signature during last year's General Conference and which requires ratification by 25 States, at least 15 of which have operating nuclear power plants, to enter into force, has been ratified by only three States. ...

Radiological Residues from Weapons Testing

This year saw the completion of the fourth in a series of Agency assessments of the radiological legacies from past military activities and waste disposal practices. The study of the present and future impact of the radiological situation at the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa in French Polynesia, which was carried out at the request of the French Government, involved the participation of 55 experts and 18 laboratories under the supervision of an International Advisory Committee. The conclusion - that there would not be any health effects that could be diagnosed or discerned attributable to exposure to the radiation from residual radioactive materials remaining at the atolls - was reviewed and confirmed at an international scientific conference in June. It should provide welcome assurance to the people of the South Pacific region. However, other studies carried out by the Agency in other areas have come to different conclusions. States may wish to benefit from similar radiological studies of former nuclear weapon test sites to help overcome this legacy of the Cold War.

Nuclear Verification and the Security of Material

The hopes for a safer and more secure world rest crucially on advancing the agenda for nuclear arms reduction and their eventual elimination. An effective verification system is indispensable to the realization of these hopes.

Over 180 States have committed themselves to IAEA comprehensive safeguards. In 1997, safeguards were applied to over 900 facilities involving more than 10,000 days of inspection. On the basis of these activities, the Agency Safeguards Statement for 1997 concluded that, in fulfilling its safeguards obligations, the Secretariat did not find any indication that nuclear material and facilities which had been declared and placed under safeguards had been diverted for non-peaceful ends, or that safeguarded facilities, equipment or non-nuclear material were being misused.

The Strengthened Safeguards System

Since 1991, and as a result of the Agency's experience in Iraq, it has become clear that effective safeguards must provide assurance not only about nuclear activities declared by a State but also about the absence of any undeclared activities. Efforts since that time have aimed at developing a cost effective system that deals with both declared and possible undeclared activities.

The Model Additional Protocol

With the approval by the Board of Governors last year of the Model Additional Protocol to the safeguards agreements, the Agency has obtained the legal authority to implement a more effective safeguards system that affords the Agency a vantage point from which to develop a more comprehensive picture than before of all nuclear activities in a State and to detect and verify possible non-peaceful activities at an early stage. The challenge now is to ensure that all States conclude and implement Additional Protocols. The strengthened safeguards system is a fundamental condition for an effective non-proliferation regime.

I am pleased to be able to report that good progress is being made in the conclusion of these Protocols. With the ten Additional Protocols already signed, and the Additional Protocols for twenty-two States approved by the Board which we expect to be signed in the coming days, a considerable portion of the world's nuclear fuel cycle which is under comprehensive safeguards will be subject to strengthened safeguards. But that is not enough.

One of the main purposes of the strengthened safeguards system - to provide assurance about the absence of any undeclared nuclear activities in States with legally binding non-proliferation commitments - can be better achieved with global adherence. I would therefore urge all States with outstanding safeguards agreements to conclude them and I would also urge all States to accelerate their consideration of the Model Additional Protocol and enter into consultations with the Agency at the earliest possible opportunity. We should work together to ensure that by the year 2000 all States have concluded outstanding safeguards agreements and also the Additional Protocol.

In implementing the strengthened safeguards system, the Agency's objective is to achieve optimum effectiveness and efficiency by meshing fully the traditional nuclear material accountancy system with the new system. In keeping with the commitment to overall cost neutrality, work is in progress on integrated safeguards implementation. In addition to already completed guidelines for the preparation and submission of declarations pursuant to the Additional Protocol, guidelines are being prepared with regard to the implementation of the complementary access provisions of the Model Protocol. The organizational structure for evaluating safeguards-relevant information has been strengthened and steady progress is being made in performing State-wide evaluations. Valuable experience with complementary access is being gained under the Australian Additional Protocol.

Verification information from digital surveillance cameras, electronic seals and other monitoring devices installed in Switzerland, South Africa, Japan and Canada in different types of facilities, is being transmitted via authenticated and encrypted communication links to IAEA headquarters. We expect remote monitoring to be introduced on a routine basis early next year.

Future Prospects

In my statement to the Board of Governors in June this year, in the context of the nuclear weapons tests conducted in May, I pointed to the widespread concern at the possible erosion of the basic norm of the non-proliferation regime, namely that, 'pending nuclear disarmament, world security is better served with fewer rather than more nuclear weapons and nuclear-weapon States.' I also underscored the need to accelerate the process of nuclear disarmament. In addition to a complete ban on nuclear testing, two actions have always been identified as indispensable: freezing the production of fissile materials for weapon purposes and the gradual reduction of stockpiles of such materials, either unilaterally or through disarmament agreements. I am pleased to note that steps are being taken in both directions.

Fissile Material Treaty (FMT)

Last month the Conference on Disarmament finally agreed to commence negotiation of a treaty prohibiting the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMT). The issues in developing such a treaty are complex and the negotiations are likely to be lengthy but we have to begin to confront these issues head-on.

Nuclear Material Released from the Military Sector

You will recall that over the past two years the Agency has been involved in discussions with the Russian Federation and the United States of America to develop the technical, legal and financial arrangements and modalities for possible IAEA verification in the USA and the Russian Federation that nuclear material transferred from the military sector to the peaceful sector, notably fissile material from dismantled nuclear weapons, remained peacefully stored or was rendered unusable for weapons purposes. Some progress has been made but many issues still need to be resolved. Minister Adamov of the Russian Federation, Secretary Richardson of the USA and I will meet this week to review progress and set goals for future work.

I also welcome the recent decision of the UK, as a result of its Strategic Defence Review, to be the first nuclear weapon State to declare the total size of its stocks of nuclear material in both the civilian and military sectors. In connection with this Review, the UK has also determined that substantial amounts of fissile material are now surplus to its military programme and that these will be available for IAEA safeguards under the Voluntary Offer Safeguards Agreement between the UK and the Agency.

The Agency stands ready to contribute its verification and safeguards expertise and experience to the full realization of the prospects for nuclear arms reduction and elimination. An important issue that must be faced urgently, if the Agency is to respond positively to these and other initiatives, is the question of financing. In my view, the establishment of a Nuclear Arms Control Verification Fund based on an agreed scheme of assessed contributions, which could finance the verification of nuclear arms control and reduction measures, is one option which should be given serious consideration. I was asked by the Board of Governors last week to prepare an options paper on the question of financing. I hope that this could speed up the process of agreement on this important matter.

Middle East

Pursuant to the mandate of the General Conference (resolution GC(41)/RES/25 of 3 October 1997), I have, as stated in my report (GOV/1998/45-GC(42)/15), started consultations which build upon the work of my predecessor with States of the Middle East region to obtain additional and more detailed views on the early application of full-scope Agency safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region, as well as about the kind of material obligations which might eventually feature in a Middle East nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) agreement. As has been stated in successive reports on the subject, greater clarity and specificity on the latter issue is important to the preparation of the model verification agreements foreseen in General Conference resolutions.

As my report makes it clear, although commitment to nuclear non-proliferation continues to be voiced by all the parties concerned, views still differ with regard to the modalities and timing of applying full-scope safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region, and to the establishment of an NWFZ in the Middle East.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

In the DPRK, the Agency continues to assert its right to perform inspections under the NPT safeguards agreement, which remains in force. At the same time, we are verifying a freeze of the DPRK nuclear programme at the request of the Security Council and reporting periodically to the Council and the Board of Governors.

I regret to have to report that the measure of co-operation which we receive from the DPRK has not increased. Three rounds of technical discussions have taken place since the previous General Conference with no progress noted on any of the outstanding issues associated with eventually assessing the extent of the DPRK's compliance with the safeguards agreement. This includes the preservation of information which must remain available to enable the Agency to verify in the future the accuracy and completeness of the DPRK's initial declaration.

Iraq

The Agency's inspection and verification activities in Iraq have resulted in the development of a technically coherent picture of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme. However, as with all other Agency verification activities, a degree of uncertainty remains as to the completeness of this picture. Such uncertainty is inherent in any countrywide verification process that seeks to prove the absence of readily concealable objects or activities. Iraq's lack of full transparency with regard to the provision of certain information regarding the few remaining questions relevant to the clandestine programme brings additional uncertainty into the picture.

Nonetheless, this uncertainty does not prevent the full implementation of the IAEA's plan for the ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV) of Iraq's compliance with its obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions. Indeed, as stated in document GC(42)/14, this uncertainty is factored into the OMV plan, which takes into account the extensive technological expertise developed by Iraq in the course of its clandestine nuclear programme, particularly regarding weaponization and the production of weapon-usable nuclear material.

The Agency continues to focus most of its resources on the implementation and technical strengthening of its OMV plan. As part of its OMV activities, the IAEA will continue to exercise its right to investigate further any aspect of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme through the follow-up of any new information that becomes available.

Since 5 August, Iraq has suspended its co-operation with the IAEA and the UN Special Commission and has provided access only to 'declared sites'. As a result, the Agency is not able to inspect any new locations or investigate the few remaining questions and concerns regarding Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme. Under these circumstances, the IAEA is not able to fully implement its OMV plan - particularly the measures needed to ensure that the past programme will not be revived. Ongoing monitoring and verification constitutes an integral whole and the assurances derived depend on the implementation of all the measures. At present, the level of assurance regarding Iraq's compliance with its obligations is significantly reduced.

On 9 September the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1194 which, among other things, called for Iraq to rescind its decision of 5 August and to co-operate fully with the IAEA and the Special Commission. To date there has been no formal response from Iraq.

Illicit Trafficking

I would conclude this review of verification and safeguards priorities by referring to the potential for nuclear weapons proliferation and for threats to public safety from illicit trafficking in nuclear material and other radioactive sources. The Agency's Illicit Trafficking Database Programme has recorded continued incidents of illicit movement of nuclear material and other radioactive sources. In each of the past two years over 30 such incidents were reported. Since last September, there have been 15 incidents involving nuclear material and 20 involving other radioactive sources.

The Secretariat is continuing its activities to assist Member States in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to theft, diversion and other unauthorized uses of nuclear material and other radioactive sources. The Agency's Security of Material programme covers a wide range of activities including information exchange through, for example, establishing and maintaining the database, and through international conferences, training, technical assistance and other support services. Details of this programme have been provided to Member States in document GC(42)/17. Also, at the request of the United Nations General Assembly, the Agency is continuing to contribute to the ongoing work of the Ad Hoc Committee established by the General Assembly to deal with international terrorism. This Committee is elaborating a draft convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and we must ensure that the new Convention will build upon, and not overlap with, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. ...

Programme and Budget for 1999 - 2000

The Agency Programme and Budget for 1999-2000 has been formulated after lengthy and intensive consultations with Member States which began more than a year ago with the Key Thrusts for 1999-2000 document and consultations. The total 1999 regular budget is $219,289,000, which is 0.1 per cent lower in real terms than last year. It is of concern that the Agency's role and mandated activities in verification, safety and technology transfer are expanding year by year but the resources available for the regular budget are taking the opposite direction. I am well aware of the impact of the present world economic situation. I am also aware of my responsibility to make best use of the resources made available. However, I should emphasize that the programme budget is a balance between priorities and affordability. In determining what is affordable, I would ask Member States to consider both the short and long term dividends from their investment in the Agency and to focus their sights on the goals to be attained. I trust that this will be a crucial consideration in the decisions of Member States on the future programmes and budgets of the Agency.

The Agency's financial situation continues to be a matter of concern. This situation is primarily the result of two factors. First, as you recall, during 1998 the Agency is required to return some $35 million of cash surpluses related to the period 1992-1995, which has reduced our cash balances and made us very vulnerable to unexpected delays in contributions. Second, up to August of this year receipts had been significantly lower than in the same period last year. As a consequence, we have had to draw in full on the Working Capital Fund and unless we quickly receive pending contributions we may not be able to fully implement the Agency's programme for 1998. I am therefore appealing not only to the largest contributors, but to all Member States who are in arrears or who have not yet paid their 1998 assessed contribution, to make their payments as soon as possible. ..."

United States

Statement by US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, 21 September

"I have the honor of delivering a special message from President Clinton to this General Conference, which I will now read...

'... The 1998 General Conference affords us an opportunity to reflect on the important contributions of the IAEA to international peace and security. It gives us an opportunity to welcome Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei to the position of Director General. And it allows us to look ahead to the next millennium and to the role this organization will play.

The nuclear tests recently conducted on the Asian sub-continent are chilling reminders of a chapter of history many of us had hoped was closed. They remind us also of the work that remains to be done. The entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, universally applied, is a global priority. We must also achieve a global treaty ending the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. And we must realize the goal of all IAEA member States concluding Additional Protocols to their safeguards agreements by the year 2000. These are all important priorities.

The Agency's efforts to establish globally accepted nuclear safety practices and respond to the challenges of illicit nuclear trafficking underscore the role the IAEA can play to assure a safe and secure nuclear future. The IAEA's role is indispensable.' ...

The Nuclear Century

We convene here a little more than 50 years from the dawn of the nuclear age - an age marked by nuclear peril and promise. Over the next five decades, we will be challenged to stay on the path of nuclear peace and prosperity as we close the world's first nuclear century.

In the past 50 years, we have harnessed nuclear energy's peaceful potential. And we created norms against the acquisition, transfer and control over nuclear weapons and the materials needed to produce them.

The nuclear non-proliferation regime that evolved over the years stands as an impressive global achievement. It symbolizes our commitment to protect mankind from the horror of nuclear war and to reap the peaceful benefits of nuclear science. This regime has withstood serious shocks, including those created by Iraq and North Korea. I am confident it will also survive the blow of the recent nuclear tests in South Asia. ...

The Nuclear Agenda for the Next 50 Years

Today, I would like to address key elements of the nuclear agenda for the next fifty years. Specifically, I will address six legacies from the first five decades of the nuclear century and steps we are taking to meet the future challenges they present. The six are:

  1. Nuclear arsenals that are still far too large;
  2. Vast amounts of fissile material from nuclear weapon reductions that need to be controlled;
  3. Nuclear weapon production complexes that must be redirected to peaceful ends;
  4. Proliferation concerns in Iraq and North Korea that must be resolved;
  5. The challenge of managing the fuel cycle's back end and assuring the safe use of nuclear power; and
  6. Tapping the reservoir of peaceful, humanitarian applications of the atom. ...
1. Draw Down Nuclear Stockpiles

While the past 50 years witnessed the massive build-up of nuclear forces, we have now entered a new phase of drastic and irreversible reductions.

The United States and Russia have made significant progress under existing arms control agreements and through unilateral steps. Since 1988, the United States has dismantled more than 12,000 nuclear warheads and bombs; that is an average of more than 100 weapons per month over ten years. We have also eliminated more than 900 missile launchers and heavy bombers, 90 percent of our non-strategic nuclear stockpile, and the warheads for more than a dozen different types of nuclear weapon systems.

But more needs to be done. We look forward to discussions with Russia on still deeper cuts in a START III agreement once START II is ratified by the Russian Duma.

2. Control Fissile Materials

The second legacy to address is the vast amount of fissile materials created during the nuclear arms race. Together, the United States and Russia have identified approximately 100 metric tons of plutonium and nearly 700 metric tons of highly enriched uranium as excess to defense needs. We have pledged never to return these materials to military use.

The United States and Russia have teamed with the International Atomic Energy Agency under the Trilateral Initiative to design appropriate verification arrangements for excess materials.

Even as work under the Trilateral Initiative continues, excess materials in the United States are being internationally monitored. Earlier this year, the IAEA verified the dilution of approximately several tons of American highly enriched uranium - enough material for more than 500 nuclear bombs - into a form of fuel not usable in nuclear weapons.

Of course, all five nuclear-weapon States share a commitment to make excess fissile material available for international inspection as soon as practicable. In this regard, I welcome the United Kingdom's recent announcement identifying more than four tons of weapons-usable material as excess to defense needs. We hope all the nuclear-weapon States will duplicate this important step.

At the Moscow Summit three weeks ago, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin signed a Statement of Principles for long-term cooperation to dispose of our excess plutonium with appropriate transparency and international monitoring. Disposition is an urgent security priority. It can help pave the way for steeper reductions of nuclear forces. It can also help ensure that these dangerous materials are not acquired by terrorists.

As we progressively bring nuclear weapons and material under control, we must also end the production of new fissile material for weapons. Last month, the Conference on Disarmament took an essential - and long overdue - step. It established an Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

Let me be clear: this treaty is critically important. It will cap global stockpiles of military nuclear material, extend verification to production facilities that have never been subject to international monitoring, and freeze production in regions of concern.

We fully expect the IAEA to verify the Cutoff treaty and welcome the opportunity to work with this Agency and members of the Conference on Disarmament to achieve a rapid conclusion to Cutoff negotiations.

As we end fissile material production for weapons, we must also prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists. The United States and Russia are working together to secure nuclear materials in Russia. Just three weeks ago, I joined Russian officials at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow to dedicate the installation of detection equipment, developed through joint US-Russian cooperation to protect against nuclear smuggling.

3. Redirect Nuclear Weapon Production Complexes

A third legacy relates to the changing role of nuclear weapon production complexes in the weapon States. The Department of Energy's national laboratories are today using their scientific and technical expertise to address global challenges such as climate change, pollution prevention, and disease control.

Redirecting national laboratories to more diverse missions is not just a priority for the United States, but for others as well. The United States Department of Energy is cooperating with Russia in developing peaceful employment and economic opportunities for former Russian weapon scientists.

4. Finish the Non-Proliferation Job in Iraq and North Korea

The responsibility for a safe nuclear future rests not solely with the nuclear-weapon States, but with all States. Preventing further nuclear proliferation is the fourth nuclear legacy to be addressed.

Two cases - Iraq and North Korea - merit our special attention.

In Iraq, we seek nothing less than full compliance with the governing United Nations Security Council resolutions. Although the IAEA has uncovered most facts of Iraq's clandestine nuclear weapons program, crucial questions linger. More work remains to be done before the book on Iraq's past nuclear weapons activities can be closed.

Nor is the non-proliferation job finished in North Korea. Maintaining a total freeze on, and achieving full disclosure of, North Korea's past nuclear activity remains our immediate and overriding goal.

I am pleased to announce that the US Department of Energy will soon resume canning of the spent fuel from North Korea's closed nuclear reactor - fuel that might otherwise be available for weapons. We also continue to work with our KEDO partners in fulfilling all the terms of the US-DPRK Agreed Framework.

The nuclear programs of Iraq and North Korea have demonstrated the importance of effective safeguards. The new Strengthened Safeguards Protocol will provide the Agency with stronger tools to verify compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The United States is proud to have been the first nuclear-weapon State to sign this protocol. I call on all other States represented here today to join us to reach Director General ElBaradei's goal of having all member States conclude their Additional Protocols by the year 2000.

5. Manage the Nuclear Fuel-Cycle's Back-End and Assure the Safe Use of Nuclear Power

The fifth legacy results from growing stocks of separated civilian plutonium, vast inventories of spent fuel, and the challenge of assuring nuclear reactor safety. In addition, the absence of strategies for the disposal of nuclear materials is threatening the very viability of nuclear power. ...

6. Expand Nuclear Technical Cooperation

The benefits of atomic energy are not limited solely to energy production, but also include improvements to human health and welfare. This sixth nuclear legacy is an integral part of atomic energy's promise. ...

Conclusion

... In the coming decades, the Agency will be called on to do even more - whether verifying nuclear arms reductions, combating illicit nuclear trafficking, helping States make informed choices about nuclear power, or applying nuclear techniques to fight disease and starvation.

I am confident that the IAEA will meet these new challenges with the same measure of commitment that it has shown in the past. ..."

Source: Text - Richardson at 42nd Session of IAEA General Conference, United States Information Service, 21 September.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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