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Secretariat policies and implementation of program activities. In 1991 the Board met more than usual, holding sessions in February, June, July, September and December. Circumstances precipitated by Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the subsequent conflict in the Gulf, and UN Security Council resolutions required the Board to take many important decisions.
President Bush, in his statement to the 35th session of the General Conference in September, reaffirmed the vital role of the IAEA in international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons while facilitating use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. He said, “The case of Iraq has highlighted the need to strengthen the Agency's safeguards system,” and, "that strengthening must begin with efforts to ensure that Agency safeguards are fully and promptly implemented.”
The Safeguards program is a unique system of international verification of national commitments-made in accordance with treaty and other obligations-regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy. On-site inspections by the IAEA include audits of facility records, independent measurements to verify facility records and national reports, and use of instrumental surveillance and seals. Since the IAEA has no international “enforcement" capabilities, the safeguards system is designed primarily to deter, through threat of timely detection, the diversion of nuclear material from peaceful to nonpeaceful purposes. If diversion of nuclear material is suspected by IAEA inspectors, they report their concerns to the Director General. If these concerns remain unresolved, the Director General can refer the matter to the Board of Governors, which, if necessary, is authorized to refer the matter to the UN Security Council.
IAEA safeguards are applied under the terms of agreements concluded between the IAEA and the member states concerned. A number of agreements are concluded in connection with bilateral nuclear cooperation and supply agreements between states. Most are concluded in accordance with international treaties such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). For example, under the provisions of the NPT, all nonnuclear-weapon states party to the treaty are required to negotiate a comprehensive, or "full-scope," safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all source or special fissionable materials in all peaceful nuclear activities under their control. During 1991
the Board approved new safeguards agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Estonia, Malawi, North Korea, South Africa and Tanzania. With the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., it is anticipated that a number of the newly independent republics will also sign safeguards agreements with the IAEA.
During 1991 the IAEA performed approximately 2,200 on-site inspections at 475 facilities in 58 member states with the assistance of over 200 IAEA inspectors. With the budget held at zero real growth for the eighth consecutive year, staff and senior management expressed concern about the additional resources required to safeguard adequately new nuclear facilities expected to come on-line by the mid-1990s, including several complex reprocessing and bulk handling facilities. Various alternatives for meeting increased safeguards resource needs remained under informal discussion among member states and IAEA staff. Options include prioritization of the Agency's safeguards responsibilities, examination of proposals for improving efficiency, as well as allowance of nondiscretionary increases, funded through voluntary or assessed contributions, to carry out its unique statutory and treaty obligations.
The United States remained the largest contributor of voluntary support to the IAEA safeguards program in 1991. It made available approximately $6.9 million for research and development (conducted at U.S. facilities) and provided approximately 20 cost-free experts to the IAEA Safeguards Department.
Each year a Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) is presented to the Board of Governors. Currently the document is not available to the public. The United States has proposed public release of the SIR, with accompanying explanatory documentation, as a means of promoting greater understanding of IAEA safeguards. The Board has yet to approve such a proposal. Technical Cooperation
The IAEA Technical Cooperation program's primary objective is to assist member states in achieving self-reliance in applications of nuclear science and technology. Assistance is provided to over 80 developing states in the form of project assistance, experts, training and equipment in a broad range of subject areas including medicine, agriculture, biology, energy development, nuclear safety, hydrology, industry and the physical sciences.
In 1991 total contributions from member states to the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund (TACF) amounted to over $39 million. The United States provided over $11 million as a voluntary cash contribution. In addition, the United States made substantial "in-kind" contributions, including approximately $1.4 million to support technical cooperation projects for which no funding was available, approximately $1.5 million for training courses and IAEA program support, $450,000 for expert services and $1.1 million for fellowships. A significant portion of these funds was used to provide assistance, through the IAEA, to NPT Parties and Parties to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelolco) on a preferential basis. Nuclear Energy and Safety
Recognizing the contribution of nuclear power to electricity generation, the Agency through detailed studies assists member states to evaluate how to finance and promote nuclear power programs. Where plants have already been built, or are under construction, increased attention is given to promoting safe plant operation and maintenance practices. The objective is to reach uniformly high levels of safety, reliability and economic performance worldwide.
IAEA programs implemented to enhance operational safety include Operational Safety Advisory Review Teams (OSARTS) and Radiation Protection Advisory Teams (RAPATs). Although regulatory policies ultimately remain the responsibility of national authorities, OSART and RAPAT missions, which are dispatched to facilities at the request of member states, offer valuable assistance and advice to IAEA members in improving operational safety practices and adequate radiation protection procedures.
The General Conference has approved the establishment of a working group to carry out the preparations for a Nuclear Safety Convention. The details of the scope and format of such a convention are under consideration.
During 1991 the IAEA reaffirmed its commitment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which entered into force in 1987. The IAEA continued efforts to improve cooperation among member states party to the convention to facilitate its implementation and to prepare for a Review Conference of the Convention to be held in 1992.
Research and Isotopes
During 1991 the IAEA Department of Research and Isotopes continued to explore various applications of nuclear energy to
such diverse fields as life sciences, the physical sciences, and food and agriculture. Work in food and agriculture is carried out in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through the Joint FAO/IAEA Division. Much of this work in nuclear techniques was performed at Agency laboratories in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria. Studies related to radioactivity in the marine environment continued at the Agency's laboratory in Monaco, the International Laboratory of Marine Radioactivity (ILMR). In addition, the IAEA continued to operate jointly, with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, which promotes advanced research in physical and mathematical sciences primarily in developing countries.
Iraq. As a result of Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent adoption of Security Council resolution 661, which established an international trade embargo against Iraq, the IAEA has continued to suspend delivery of technical assistance to Iraq. Ongoing inspections of Iraq's nuclear program commenced as a result of the passage of Security Council resolution 687 which called upon the IAEA to inspect, sequester and destroy Iraqi nuclear weapon-related capabilities, materials and equipment.
In July a special session of the Board concluded that Iraq had breached its safeguards obligations with the IAEA and called upon the Government of Iraq to remedy its noncompliance immediately by placing any and all source and special fissionable material within its territory, or under its jurisdiction or control, under agency safeguards.
Israeli Nuclear Activities. By the barest of margins, an annual resolution on “Israeli nuclear capabilities," which calls upon Israel to comply without delay with Security Council resolution 487 of 1981 and submit all its nuclear installations to Agency safeguards, was adopted at the General Conference.
The Middle East. A resolution on the “Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East” was adopted by consensus. The resolution was broadly supportive of the President's Middle East Arms Control Initiative, and focused on establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East.
South African Membership. After acceding to the NPT in July and signing a full-scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA in September, South Africa presented its credentials and took a seat at the General Conference, marking its return to
active participation and acceptance in an international organization.
Budgetary Matters. Member states make assessed contributions to finance the IAEA's regular budget, and, in addition, make voluntary contributions to finance its technical assistance program. Assessments approved by the General Conference for the 1991 budget amounted to over $178 million. The U.S. assessment, approximately 25 percent of the IAEA's total annual resources, amounted to an estimated $45 million. Since payment is divided in both U.S. dollars and Austrian schillings, this total varies in accordance with the dollar/ schilling rate of exchange. Resources available to finance the IAEA's technical assistance program in 1991 amounted to $39 million. The 1991 U.S. voluntary contribution for the IAEA amounted to approximately $23 million, which was used to provide cash and in-kind assistance to the IAEA and its member states.
Due to the failure of a number of member states to pay their 1991 assessments on a timely basis, or at all, and as a result of increased safeguards responsibilities arising out of newly signed safeguards agreements, the Agency, by the end of 1991, was experiencing a financial crisis. In an attempt to resolve cash flow problems, the Director General made urgent appeals to several states to pay their assessments on time and proposed implementation of emergency measures for the 1992 budget. General Assembly
The IAEA's 1991 annual report on implementation of its programs was presented to the 46th UN General Assembly in October. The corresponding General Assembly resolution is normally apolitical, noncontroversial and quickly adopted by consensus. In 1991, however, a paragraph was added to the standard text commending the IAEA for its actions in response to Iraqi noncompliance with its obligations with the Agency and under the NPT, and for its role in implementing Security Council resolutions 687 and 707 (which address the elimination of Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile capabilities). The United States strongly supported the paragraph on Iraq, given the enormous efforts the IAEA had made and continued to make in implementing the Security Council resolutions. Iraq responded by introducing an amendment condemning Israel, but was unsuccessful in having the amendment adopted. The General Assembly adopted resolution 46/16 by a vote of 141 (U.S.) to 0, with 9 abstentions.