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(Sep 22, 2010) Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced on September 20, 2010, the opening day of the IAEA's annual General Conference, that more than 100 countries now allow the United Nations body increased access to information on their nuclear programs. Amano hailed as an "encouraging development" the recent entries into force in Rwanda (May 17, 2010) and Swaziland (September 8, 2010), the 101st and 102nd nations in which this has occurred, of additional protocols to extant nuclear safeguard agreements. (Number of Countries Signing On to Nuclear Pact Tops 100, UN Agency Reports, UN NEWS CENTRE (Sept. 20, 2010), http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=35997&Cr=nuclear&Cr
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; Status of Additional Protocols (as of 12 September 2010), IAEA website, http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Safeguards/sg_protocol.html; IAEA Safeguards Overview: Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols, IAEA website, http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/sg_overview.html (both last visited Sept. 21, 2010).)

Amano characterized the additional protocol as an "essential tool for the Agency to be able to provide credible assurance, not only that declared nuclear material is not being diverted from peaceful uses, but also that there are no undeclared nuclear material and activities in States with comprehensive safeguards agreements." (UN NEWS CENTRE, supra.) The IAEA Board of Governors adopted this extra tool in 1997 to enhance the safeguards system's efficiency and effectiveness, in furtherance of the mandate given to the IAEA under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to verify "that nuclear material and activities in non-nuclear-weapons States are not used for military purposes." (Id.; Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (in force on Mar. 5, 1970), IAEA website, http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Treaties/npt.html; Model Protocol Additional to the Agreement(s) Between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards, INFCIRC/540 (Corrected), IAEA website, http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/1997/infcirc540c.pdf (both last visited Sept. 21, 2010).)

In his address to the General Conference, attended by representatives from over 150 IAEA Member States, Amano also called upon the 18 countries that are not parties to the Treaty "to join without delay," and further noted that North Korea's nuclear program "remains a matter of concern." Nevertheless, he stressed the need to change the perception of his agency as the "nuclear watchdog" of the world, stating that "it does not do justice to our extensive activities in other areas, especially in nuclear energy, nuclear applications and technical cooperation." He added that in 2010, the IAEA focus is on cancer, through the strengthening of its partnerships with the U.N.'s World Health Organization and other groups. (UN NEWS CENTRE, supra.)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Energy More on this topic
Jurisdiction: United Nations More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 09/22/2010