Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yukio Takasu
President of the 47th IAEA General Conference

20 September 2004

Honorable Ministers, Director-General, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

During the past year since the 47th General Conference, the Agency has made significant progress in each of its three pillars-nuclear technology, safety and security and verification. All members of the Agency should be congratulated for the achievements in the peaceful use of nuclear technology during the 50th anniversary year of "Atoms for Peace."

The benefits to humanity of nuclear technology are vast. Nuclear power, now 16% of global electricity generation, will continue to play an indispensable role as global development accelerates. International efforts to develop innovative technologies for safer, more economical and proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear power have made steady progress.

Nuclear technology offers value and benefits for sustainable development, as demonstrated by the notable success in the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in combating the tsetse fly in Africa. The utilization of nuclear and isotope technology in the areas of food production, health, and water resources contribute to the well-being and human security of people around the world. The Agency's Technical Cooperation Programme has gained a new impetus to expand in the spirit of shared responsibility.

Minimizing the risks and maintaining the highest standard of safety is a prerequisite to any increase in the role of nuclear energy and technology. Every effort needs to be made to ensure adherence to an international safety regime and standards. Commendable progress was made in the past year on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste and on the transportation of radioactive materials. Also, international efforts to prevent acts of nuclear and radiological terrorism have been accelerated.

Recent challenges to the non-proliferation regime have cast the Agency in the public spotlight. The Agency has risen to those challenges over the past year and has enhanced its integrity through its impartial, effective and credible verification activities. Strides have also been made in implementing a strengthened safeguards system, particularly through the universalization of the additional protocol.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Much has been achieved in the last twelve months. The commitment and generous support of all Member States have made possible the expanded work of the Agency. The Agency's appropriate and effective response to recent challenges was made possible by the able leadership of Director General El-Baradei and the dedication of his competent staff, to whom, on behalf of all Member States, I would like to applaud and express our deep appreciation. We need to continue to work together to enable the Agency to "enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world."

Thank you for your kind attention.

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