Magazine article UN Chronicle

Assembly Urges Co-Operation with IAEA to Promote Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Assembly Urges Co-Operation with IAEA to Promote Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

Article excerpt

The General Assembly on 11 November urged all States to strive for effective and harmonious co-operation in carrying out the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); in promoting the use of nuclear energy and the application of the necessary measures to enhance further the safety of nuclear installations; in strengthening technical assistance to developing countries; and in ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency's safeguards system.

By adopting without a vote resolution 41/36, the text of which had been proposed by Canada, Czechoslovakia and Pakistan, the Assembly affirmed its confidence in the Agency's role in the application of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Assembly also emphasized the need for the highest standards of safety in the design and operation of nuclear plants so as to minimize risks to life and health.

The Agency was commended for its "recent speedy responses and initiatives in the field of nuclear safety" and for its "timely and expeditious" efforts in the conclusion in September 1986 of two Conventions: on early notification of a nuclear accident, which entered into force on 27 October, and on emergency assistance in the event of such accidents. The Assembly welcomed the signing by a significant number of States of the two Conventions and called upon those States that had not yet done so to become parties to them as soon as possible.

Report: The Assembly reviewed the IAEA annual report for 1985 (GC(XXX)/775 and Corr. 1), which summarized trends in nuclear power generation world-wide and provided information on technical co-operation to help developing countries, the development and application of nuclear techniques, and the status of the safeguards regime.

In carrying out its safeguards obligations during 1985, the Agency "did not detect any anomaly which would indicate the diversion of a significant amount of safeguarded nuclear material - or the misuse of facilities or equipment subject to safeguards under certain agreements - for the manufacture of any nuclear weapons, or for any other military purpose, or for the manufacture of any other nuclear explosive device, or for purposes unknown" the report stated. It was "reasonable to conclude that nuclear material under Agency safeguards in 1985 remained in peaceful nuclear activities or was otherwise adequately accounted for".

Extensive safeguards activities in 1985 had resulted in more than 1,980 inspections carried out at 514 nuclear installations in 51 non-nuclear-weapon States and four nuclear-weapon States, according to the report. There was a total of 163 safeguards agreements in force with 96 States at the end of 1985. The safeguards agreement between the Agency and the Soviet Union relating to the voluntary offer by that country to place some of its peaceful nuclear installations under Agency safeguards had entered into force on 10 June 1985. China had also stated its willingness to place some of its civilian nuclear installations under Agency safeguards. When an agreement with China had been concluded, "voluntary - offer safeguards agreements" would be in force between the IAEA and the five nuclear-weapon States.

According to the report, the installed nuclear power capacity worldwide increased 13.7 per client in 1985 to a total of 250 Giga Watt (e). A total of 374 nuclear power plants accounted for 15 per cent of the world's electricity generation. Thirty-two new power plants had come "on line" in-1985, two of them in developing countries - India and the Republic of Korea. There had still been no general upturn in the orders for plants, and construction had begun on only six new ones. However, "vigorous" nuclear power programmes had continued in France, Japan and the Eastern European members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA). China, Egypt, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and Yugoslavia were also engaged in setting up power plants. …

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