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Transcript of Press Interaction of Foreign Secretary and DG, IAEA

March 13, 2013

Official Spokesperson: Good Afternoon friends and thank you very much for coming for this media interaction. As is usual, we will begin with brief opening remarks by the Foreign Secretary followed by the Director General, IAEA. Following that they have agreed to respond to a few questions. I will then begin by asking Foreign Secretary to make his opening remarks.

Foreign Secretary:
Excellency Dr Yukiya Amano
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,

It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Dr Amano, Director General of the IAEA on his second visit to India in three years. We are also privileged that Dr Amano has chosen to visit India soon after the IAEA BOG had approved by acclamation earlier this month his second term as Director General of the Agency.

Dr Amano has had meetings for the past two days in Mumbai with the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and has visited BARC and other nuclear facilities. During his stay in Delhi he will be meeting the National Security Advisor and will be calling on the Prime Minister.

During our meeting today, I conveyed to Dr Amano our appreciation for his support for further consolidating the very productive relations that so happily exist between India and the Agency.

Dr Amano has been briefed on plans for major expansion of our nuclear programme in which international cooperation is an important component. We have concluded nuclear cooperation agreements with a number of major nuclear industry countries.

India views nuclear energy as an essential element of its national energy basket and is committed to taking forward its three stage nuclear programme based on a closed fuel cycle. There are also enormous benefits from other peaceful applications of nuclear energy in the fields of health, industry and agriculture.

As we mark the second anniversary of the Fukushima Accident, we express our solidarity with the Japanese people in the face of the grave tragedy resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Dr Amano has led the Agency’s admirable efforts to address nuclear safety issues after Fukushima thus reinforcing its central role in international efforts to strengthen nuclear safety standards worldwideOur Prime Minister has underscored that safety of our nuclear plants is a matter of the highest priority. The Government has undertaken a number of measures in this regard, which were discussed in our meetings with Dr Amano. Dr Amano has been able to see some of these features himself when he visited TAPS in Mumbai.

Our nuclear safety track record has been impeccable. India is committed to continuous improvement and innovation in our nuclear safety standards and practices to maintain public confidence in nuclear power as a clean and safe energy source.

We have cooperated closely on nuclear security issues, including through the NSS, our Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnerships and Agency participation in the NSS Sherpa meeting and 1540 Workshop held in New Delhi last year. EAM will be representing India at the Ministerial Meeting on Nuclear Security being hosted by the DG in Vienna in July this year.

India has longstanding constructive relations with the IAEA on safeguards implementation. After the conclusion of the India-Specific Safeguards Agreement in 2008, twelve nuclear power plant units and 7 other facilities have been offered for safeguards under the India Specific Safeguards Agreement.

We are at an advanced stage of consultations with the Agency relating to our Additional Protocol and India will ratify once these discussions are concluded.

The IAEA and its statue are a vital component of the international framework for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The IAEA is an indispensible international institution and should have the necessary resources to fulfill its mandate in accordance with its Statute.

We underline the continuing importance of an effective IAEA Safeguards system, with relevant safeguard agreements and the Additional Protocol as the verification norm, and the full implementation by member states of their respective safeguards agreements with the Agency. We will remain engaged on various proposals for securing sensitive materials and technologies.

As a major nuclear industry country with the capability to produce all items for a complete nuclear fuel cycle, India is committed to maintaining the highest export control standards. I am happy to announce that the national SCOMET list has been updated to be on par with the current NSG and MTCR lists. In some respects, our controls are more stringent than those practiced by the NSG and MTCR.

As a like- minded country, India has demonstrated responsible non-proliferation and export control practices and has shown the ability and willingness to contribute substantially to global non-proliferation objectives and is engaged with the multilateral regimes with a view to joining these groups as a full member.

I would like to convey our appreciation to Dr Amano for his leadership of the IAEA at a challenging time and in enhancing public confidence in nuclear energy as a clean, affordable, safe and secure source of energy, vital to meeting global energy demands especially in developing countries.

We welcome your visit as an important opportunity to further strengthen the longstanding cooperative relations between India and the IAEA.

I would like to invite you to make your remarks.

Thank you.

DG, IAEA:
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now I am visiting India. Yesterday I moved from Mumbai to New Delhi. I already had an occasion to visit the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre and Tarapore Nuclear Power Plant site. The reason why I am visiting India is simple. India is an extremely important partner for the IAEA. It has an extensive nuclear programme, very much advanced in the nuclear application for peaceful purposes, helping other countries and a good record of non-proliferation and safety. So, this time I wanted to meet with the policy makers and also visit the sites and discuss with the engineers, researchers and scientists to better understand India’s activities. This is a two way dialogue. I want to learn more from India and my visit would be on occasion to share my views of the activities of IAEA. I visited India in January 2011, two months before the Fukushima accident. Things have changed a lot and I had to work a lot to address this Fukushima accident. There are things that have not changed. The use of nuclear power for the generation of electricity continues to be a very important option. There is a misunderstanding that the Fukushima accident should mean the end of nuclear power or should mean the decline of the use of nuclear power. According to the latest IAEA estimates by 2013, there would be minimum 23% increase of electricity production by using nuclear power. That is the minimum estimate. According to our high estimate, there would be 100% increase. So double the present. The reason is very clear. The basic situations or conditions like the need to mitigate global warming effect, ensuring energy security, or mitigate the effect of volatile fossil fuel price and in many countries they need to stay economically competitive or need to secure energy for development.

So, I keep on saying that despite Fukushima accident nuclear continues to be an important option for many countries. Of course it is up to State to decide whether or not to use but IAEA’s role is to help them if they decide to use nuclear power and one important thing that has changed after Fukishima is the pronounced emphasis on safety. Safety must come first. Fukushima accident was a big wake up call for every country, everyone on the importance of safety. I visited Tarapur site and witnessed the serious efforts, enthusiasm by the operators, engineers to further improve, further enhance the level of safety. Mobile generators were added after Fukushima. The outside hookup to cool down the power plant in case of blackout was added. These are some of the examples of improvements, enhancement of safety at the site of Tarapur. This is very important information for us. Also I first had information on the activities of your country in the fight against cancer or use of nuclear techniques for the increase of agriculture products or water management or water desalination. The nuclear techniques are very useful to promote the global development agenda and your country is using this technology for the development of your country but also helping other countries and I am very grateful for the contribution that India is extending to other countries. India is also a very important partner in nuclear security, nuclear security means to prevent fissile material and radio active material falling into the hands of terrorists and on the initiative of the Prime Minister you have established GC&P. I am very glad that India would be represented at the IAEA Nuclear Security Ministerial level conference that we would hold in July this year at Vienna. Your country’s participation at a high level will add political weight to this conference and to this important issue. The implementation of India Specific Safeguard Agreement is being implemented very smoothly and we have had meetings between your experts and other experts to bring into force of additional protocol and some other issues. I am very confident that the implementation of this agreement India Specific Safeguard Agreement will be very smooth. There were other issues but I think that it is better to stop here and rather take your questions.

Question: My question is to Dr. Amano, Dr. Amano, you are known in the international community as an honest broker as the DG of IAEA, but the question is whenever it comes to Iran, there is always doubt whenever there is a meeting happening between P5+1 or whether it is the last week meeting which was with the 35 members. Can you please throw light really what is the positive or constructive outcome of all these talks?

DG, IAEA: Iran nuclear issue is very complicated one but the essential element is very simple. All the countries including Iran have to fully implement the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement if they are non-nuclear weapon states and other relevant obligations if there are any. In case of Iran, Iran has a comprehensive agreement with IAEA and Iran is subject to UN Security Council resolutions which are legally binding. This is the standard. In light of this standard, I can say that declared activities and material of Iran are staying in peaceful purposes, but as Iran is not implementing UN Security Council resolutions and the part of the Safeguard Agreement, we cannot give assurance that everything is for peaceful purposes. Then what should be done? I firmly believe that the solution should be through diplomatic means and dialogue. The IAEA and Iran have been intensifying dialogue since November 2011 and tried to clarify the issues through dialogue and agreement. Unfortunately to make the long story short, as of today, we have not yet reached agreement and as a consequence no concrete result has been achieved. This is not a good situation. So before the March Board of Governors meeting of the IAEA, we have thought and I stated in the Board of Governors meeting in Vienna that we have to work on this issue with a sense of urgency and the agreement must be in accordance with the effective verification practice and I repeated that the IAEA is committed to solve this issue through dialogue. I will continue the dialogue with Iran and hope that we can report positive results through our next meeting in June.

Question: Mr. Amano, Are you seeking any changes in India’s nuclear liability norm?

DG, IAEA: I think this is a matter that India is addressing now. India has signed the CSC agreement. India has some domestic law to implement it. For us, we would like to promote the entry into force of CSC but for that it is not only India but other countries need to ratify. I leave it for India to address the domestic law to implement the CSC.

Question: Mr. Amano, after the North Korean recent tests, there were initial assessments that the technology may have come from Pakistan. What is your view ? Have you conducted an assessment ?

DG, IAEA: On DPRK nuclear tests, I can say that it is deeply regrettable that North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. This is clearly against the UN Security Council resolution and it gives negative impact to the Northeast Asian region and beyond. North Korea has the obligation under the UN Security Council resolutions to discontinue the nuclear activities and abandon nuclear weapons. I sincerely hope that North Korea abides by and implements all the UN Security Council resolutions. On the part of the IAEA, we are prepared to play a role. As the only multi-lateral verification organization, in the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it is necessary that the IAEA plays its role verification. For now, it may be difficult but we will like to send back our staff to North Korea to monitor their activities and play a role in this regard.

Question: My question is to Mr. Mathai. Sir, in view of the breach of assurance by Italy which has been described by PM as violation of every rule of diplomatic discourse is New Delhi planning to give marching orders?

FS: I think we have made our position very clear. As I mentioned yesterday after summoned the Ambassador of Italy, we have conveyed to the Government of Italy that the contents of their note are completely unacceptable to us. We are waiting for their response. And as soon as their response is received, we will take a decision on what to do.

Official Spokesperson: Thank you.

For the video of this media interaction, please visit:
Press Interaction of Foreign Secretary and DG, IAEA (March 13, 2013)

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