ISTC Had its First Joint Meeting with the IAEA on Future Collaboration
ISTC – an Important Partner of IAEA in Nuclear Renaissance
Opening Address at
Cooperation Meeting between the International Science and Technology Centre and the International Atomic Energy Agency
Moscow, 15 December 2008
Adriaan van der Meer
The International Science and Technology Center
I am pleased to open the first ISTC - IAEA Cooperation Meeting aimed at launching common activities and tasks envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding between ISTC and IAEA which was signed on 22 October in Vienna. I am sure that today we shall further define the practical framework of cooperation focused on security, safety and the sustainable development of nuclear energy.
ISTC has 15 years of experience of working in the human dimension of nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Therefore, our cooperation with IAEA is both mutual and particularly important at the dawn of Nuclear Energy Renaissance. Nonproliferation, safeguard, security and safety of nuclear energy are a conditio sine qua non for this Renaissance if nuclear energy is to maintain a broad public acceptance. It is technical support for those 4 pillars of nuclear energy that is at the core of ISTC’s mission.
2. Nuclear Energy Renaissance
Worldwide demand for energy is rapidly increasing and could double by 2050. At the same time, CO2 emissions must be reduced globally and various policy decisions, for example in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, have been taken and individual countries are now seriously considering the composition of energy production sources. Today, nuclear energy provides 16 percent of the world’s electricity and in 2009, a further important conference will take place on this subject in Copenhagen
Strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime in the context of the eventual global expansion of nuclear energy will require intensive international collaboration. The nonproliferation regime and other institutional measures will continue to provide the primary framework to ensure that the growth of nuclear power does not increase proliferation and terrorism risks. Initiatives should continue to strengthen the ability to track, control, and protect nuclear materials. These objectives require a strong technological support and international cooperation.
In addition, training the next generation of engineers and scientists must be an integral part of a nuclear renaissance. ISTC has successfully addressed these objectives through various projects related to nuclear knowledge management. Various monographies have been written with ISTC support and ISTC projects have assisted a number of important experimental facilities in the Russian Federation.
3. ISTC Achievements in Nuclear Technology
The Nuclear sector has been one of the main priority areas in the work of ISTC. Over 400 projects in this field have been funded to a combined value of $130 million USD. In total, 170 Russian and CIS institutes have been involved in ISTC projects.
The priority areas for these projects have been:
o To support nonproliferation activities including support for nuclear material accounting and control;
o To promote nuclear and radiation safety of operating nuclear power plants. For example, to develop methodologies to increase the safety and efficiency of nuclear power plants, as well as predicting the reactor lifetime;
o To promote novel nuclear reactor concepts and Nuclear Fuel Cycle options;
o To contribute to nuclear power plant decommissioning, and
4. Mutual Cooperation
During past years, numerous contacts were established between ISTC and IAEA. ISTC has been, and remains, an active member of the IAEA Contact Experts Group (CEG). For the CEG ‘International Radioactive Waste Projects in the Russian Federation’, IAEA has also been sending delegates to our ISTC CEG meetings, and is particularly active in the ‘Partitioning and Transmutation’ Contact Expert Group.
The MOU signed in Vienna in October signifies that from now on structural contacts between ISTC and IAEA will be established. The MOU foresees cooperation inter alia in areas such as:
Research and Development
The exchange and dissemination of relevant information
The performance of feasibility studies and vulnerability assessments to assist in the selection and evaluation of different methodologies and technologies
Assistance with training
Assistance in the deployment of nuclear instrumentation and technology for national safeguards and security as well as international verification
I would like to reiterate what I said on 21 October in Vienna:
“It is common knowledge that dealing with high-risk materials and technologies, including know-how, has the potential for inappropriate and unauthorized use that could result in great harm. The human factor is a key element of an effective non-proliferation regime.”
The risks posed by know-how proliferation from Russia and the other countries of the CIS have diminished compared to 1990’s, but they have not been eliminated. Every country possessing WMD know-how must take measures to reduce generic proliferation risks. Transparency remains the key. ISTC has been successful in addressing those risks and looks forward to a close cooperation with IAEA to further ensure continued vigilance and shared best practices in this period of nuclear renaissance.