It gives me great pleasure to lead the Chinese delegation to attend the IAEA General Conference, and discuss with colleagues from all member states important issues with regard to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. At the outset, please allow me to express my sincere congratulations to you on your election as President of this General Conference. I believe that your rich diplomatic experience and remarkable leadership will steer the Conference toward a complete success.
Ever since His Excellency Dr. Elbaradei took the post as the Director General of the Agency, he and the Secretariat under his leadership have made significant contributions to the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which have received wide recognition of the international community. Dr. Elbaradei’s achievement will surely go down in the annals of history and be cherished in people’s memory. The Chinese delegation would like to pay our highest tribute to Dr. Elbaradei.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Amano on his nomination as the Director General of the Agency, and I believe that Ambassador Amano will unite all member states and make new contributions to the development of the Agency by pushing forward its objectives under the IAEA Statute in an all-around fashion.
In last April, the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century co-organized by the Chinese Government and the IAEA was successfully held in Beijing. Ministers and high-level officials from all countries gathered to share experiences and views, and explored future strategies and ideas concerning the sustainable development of nuclear energy. It reached a wide consensus that nuclear energy is a technically proven, clean, safe and economically competitive source of energy. We believe that this Conference made a positive contribution to promoting the global renaissance and expansion of nuclear energy.
China’s peaceful uses of nuclear energy have entered on a fast phase. Currently, there are 11 operational nuclear power units in China, with an installed capacity of 9100 MWe. 24 units have been approved by the Chinese government for construction, totaling 25.4 GWe of capacity. In the Medium- and Long-term Nuclear Development Plan (2005-2020), the targets are to install 40 GWe of capacity with another 18 GWe under construction. China is giving consideration to expanding the medium and long-term target of nuclear power based on thorough analysis and detailed deliberations.
Nuclear power development is inseparable from the support of a nuclear fuel cycle industry. With more than half a century’s efforts, China has mastered the key technologies with regard to uranium prospecting, mining, purification, conversion, enrichment and fuel element fabrication and established a complete nuclear industrial system. China also has the capability to assure requisite fuel supply for its nuclear energy development. Meanwhile, priority has been given to research and development of next generation technologies. China Experimental Fast Reactor will soon reach criticality, and the demonstration project of the high temperature gas cooled reactor will start construction in the near future. China is active in international cooperation on nuclear energy R&D, for instance, China joined the GIF and ITER programs.
Nuclear safety is the precondition for the sustainable development of nuclear energy. China attaches great importance to nuclear safety. It has acceded to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on Safety of Spent Fuel Management and Radioactive Waste Management. A relatively complete nuclear safety legal and regulatory system has been put in place. China has established the National Nuclear Emergency Response Coordination Committee, and formulated national nuclear emergency plans. In terms of radioactive waste management, China has intensified efforts in research on critical technologies such as decommissioning of nuclear facility, spent fuel reprocessing, treatment and disposal of radioactive waste, partitioning and transmutation. The strategy of regional near surface disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste, and deep geological disposal of high level and trans-uranium radioactive waste has been laid down, to reduce the volume of radioactive waste and ensure permanent safety of the environment.
As a responsible and peace-loving country, China has always stood for the prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, resolutely opposed nuclear weapons proliferation of all forms, and actively participated in international cooperation in prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. China has acceded to major international non-proliferation mechanisms, and developed a complete nuclear material management and nuclear export control system. China also participated in the amendment of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) constructively, contributing to the final consensus among all parties. China will deposit with the Agency the instrument of ratification of the amendment to the CPPNM today, making its own contributions to maintaining and facilitating international peace and security and ensuring peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Economic development, climate change and energy security are global issues which require joint efforts of the international community. Despite the impact of the financial crisis, global nuclear energy has maintained a steady growth momentum, and a number of developing countries put forward demands for development of nuclear power. In the meantime, Iranian nuclear issue and North Korea nuclear issue are still pending; requirements from the international community for strengthening non-proliferation are increasing, more proposals on multilateral nuclear fuel cycle mechanisms are emerging, all of which call for the Agency to play a more prominent role. The Chinese delegation holds the view that, the Agency should focus efforts in the following aspects in response to the new situation:
First, maintain balanced development of both categories of activities
Technical cooperation is one of the core missions of the Agency. It is also an effective way to promote socio-economic development in member states, and build their capacity in applying nuclear technologies. The Agency has made unremitting efforts in this regard over the years. Against the backdrop of recent strong momentum of global nuclear renaissance, a large number of developing countries hope that the Agency would play an even bigger role in promoting nuclear power and nuclear technology application. The Agency should give sufficient consideration and earnest response to their request for maintaining the balanced development of the two categories of activities, and increasing support to technical cooperation with adequate and assured resources.
Second, facilitating nuclear infrastructure development
The development of infrastructure is of critical importance to new entrants to nuclear power. The Chinese delegation noted that the Agency has considerably increased TC projects in this field, and we would like to express appreciation to the Agency for its providing Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review services to new comers in their development of nuclear power. The CPR 4032, which is under the TC program for 2009-2011 for China, is proceeding smoothly. We believe that the successful implementation of this Project will boost domestic infrastructure development, develop human resources in real needs, and contribute to the sound expansion of China’s nuclear energy industry. It will also set a model for other developing countries in the Asia-Pacific Region and the world at large, and provide training and assistance to other relevant countries. China welcomes other countries to participate actively in this Project.
Third, strengthening nuclear safety and security
How to ensure nuclear safety and security and prevent nuclear terrorism while maintaining the rapid growth of nuclear energy is an issue of concern to the general public. The Agency should continue active efforts in advancing the establishment of global nuclear safety and security legislation and standard system, increasing exchanges of related knowledge, experiences and lessons, disseminating nuclear safety culture with a view to increasing public confidence in nuclear energy development. China took an active part in the Agency’s activities in this field, and hopes to continue cooperation with the Agency to work for nuclear security of the Shanghai Expo 2010 on the basis of successful cooperation on the Beijing Olympic Games.
Fourth, facilitating discussions on approaches to assured supply of nuclear fuel
Nuclear fuel supply is essential for nuclear energy development. In recent years, there are a number of proposals and ideas about developing multilateral nuclear fuel cycle mechanisms. The Chinese delegation is of the view that, the establishment of multilateral nuclear fuel mechanism has certain positive significance to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and effective prevention of nuclear proliferation. We agree with its principle and objective, but the relationship between peaceful use of nuclear energy and non-proliferation should be dealt with in an appropriate manner, and ensure justice and non-discrimination. All parties concerned should continue with in-depth discussion from political, legal, technical perspectives, and seek solution acceptable to all sides.
Fifth, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of safeguards
The Agency has been playing an indispensable role in curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. With heavier verification tasks on shoulder, the Agency is faced with increasing challenges to improve efficiency of safeguards and ensure peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Agency should further advance the universalization of Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, to ensure adequate legal authority. On the other hand, while improving its own technical capacity, the Agency should strengthen cooperation with member states by making full use of their resources so as to achieve safeguards objectives. China would like to contribute its efforts to the Agency in terms of enhancing safeguards and verification capability.
Sixth, playing positive role in resolving hot nuclear issues
As the inter-governmental international organization in charge of safeguards issues, the Agency has been the focus of international attention for its efforts in resolving hot nuclear issues. China has been consistently advocating the peaceful solution of North Korean and Iranian nuclear issues through dialogues and negotiations, and has made unremitting efforts in this regard. We would like to cooperate with all relevant parties, continue to actively push forward reaching the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular and appropriate solution of the Iranian nuclear issue, with the view to safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and maintaining regional peace and stability. The Agency should maintain an objective and impartial position, and continue to play a constructive role.
The rapid expansion of nuclear energy world wide presents both challenge and opportunity for the Agency. The Chinese delegation is convinced that, with the close cooperation and concerted efforts of Member States and the Secretariat, in response to the new situation, the Agency will successfully fulfill its missions entrusted to it by the Statute and make greater contributions to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and prevention of nuclear proliferation.
Thank you, Madame President.