INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY 56th General Conference/Turkey's Statement

Tomur BAYER 19.09.2012

TURKEY

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
56th GENERAL CONFERENCE
(17-21 September 2012)

Statement by Ambassador Tomur BAYER, Permanent Representative,
Head of the Turkish Delegation
19 September 2012

Mr. President,

Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the 56th Session of the IAEA General Conference and the members of the General Committee on their election. I assure you of our delegation’s full support for your efforts to bring this session to a successful conclusion. We also welcome Trinidad and Tobago as our new member.

Mr. President,

I would like to begin with the recent developments concerning nuclear energy in my country. Due to the rapid annual increase of its national electricity demand and inadequacy of its indigenous energy resources, Turkey is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels. In other words, Turkey imports around 75% of its energy needs from abroad. Projections estimate that Turkey will require an additional 100.000 MWe installed capacity by 2030. Therefore, in order to strengthen its energy security, among other things, Turkey has also decided to embark upon nuclear energy.


I would like to recall that Turkey concluded an agreement with the Russian Federation paving the way for the construction of a VVER1200 type nuclear power plant with 4.800 MWe total capacity at the licensed Akkuyu nuclear site by 2020. Additionally, Turkey is also planning the construction of a nuclear power plant with 5.000 MWe total capacity at the Sinop nuclear site. Therefore, Turkey is expected to have at least 10.000 MWe installed nuclear capacity in the next 10-15 years.

Along with its plans to construct nuclear power plants, Turkey is in the process of enhancing its human resources and nuclear knowledge capacity and updating its existing nuclear legislation by taking into consideration the latest safety standards series issued by the IAEA.

Turkey remains resolutely committed to the goal of ensuring safe, secure and peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. Therefore, we will continue our close cooperation with the IAEA for realization of our nuclear projects in a safe, secure and peaceful manner.

Mr. President,

Turkey supports the Agency’s efforts to promote and maintain high level of nuclear safety worldwide and encourages the Secretariat to continue to strengthen its efforts relating to nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, particularly in areas that are vital for Member States.

The Fukushima incident has once more brought to the attention of the world the significance of nuclear safety. In order to prevent recurrence of such an incident elsewhere we must continue our efforts vigorously to enhance nuclear safety. The lessons learned from Fukushima surely guide us through this path. We highly appreciated the activities organized by the IAEA to share the critical expertise gained from this accident.

We encourage the Agency to continue its efforts towards providing guidance, support and assistance to Member States in establishing and maintaining adequate safety regulations and infrastructure, with due regard to the needs of those Member States that consider developing nuclear power as part of their national energy strategy. Safety expertise and strong safety culture is an essential precondition for nuclear technology.

Especially the safety in old nuclear power plants needs to be thoroughly examined. In this respect the very old Metzamor nuclear power plant which is located in an earthquake zone in Armenia and which lacks protective structures remains to be a concern for Turkey and other neighbours of Armenia. We once again underline that all necessary measures must be taken to eliminate the risks associated with this NPP.

Nuclear security together with safety is an area to which Turkey attaches particular importance. We therefore will continue our close cooperation with the Agency also in this field.

Mr. President,

Promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is one of the main missions of the Agency and also is one of the fundamental objectives of the NPT. Non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy are two interrelated aspects of the Treaty: they are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Turkey recognizes the importance of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology and the crucial role the IAEA plays in this regard. I would also like to re-emphasize the importance of the Agency’s role in providing guidance to Member States in launching a nuclear power programme for the first time and developing the necessary national infrastructure for its implementation.

Mr. President

Turkey has always attached utmost importance to the promotional activities of the Agency. We strongly support the Technical Cooperation Programme. We consider the funding of technical cooperation activities as a joint responsibility of all Member States.

We also believe that we should continue to provide IAEA with adequate resources through the regular budget that will enable it to conduct its statutory functions properly and effectively. For this purpose, Turkey will continue to support all reasonable, balanced and affordable budget increases in the face of the urgent and near future needs of the Agency.

Mr. President,

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction constitutes one of the leading challenges of our century. Creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons is, therefore, a major investment towards a safer world and undiminished security for all.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), based on the three mutually reinforcing pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, represents a unique and irreplaceable framework for maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and stability. The Treaty is the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI, as well as for access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under Article IV.

Possible benchmarks for the sustainability of the NPT regime include the universalization of the Treaty, strengthening of the IAEA safeguards system, including the universalization of the Additional Protocol, reinforcement of export controls and early entry into force of the CTBT.

Another important priority is the establishment of effectively verifiable zones free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) wherever feasible. An overall reduction of the global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, in accordance with Article VI, in a transparent, irreversible and verifiable manner is also of key importance.

Nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious threats to global security and stability. We are all vulnerable to the same dire consequences of possible acquisition by non-State actors of nuclear and radioactive material. This makes it necessary to develop collective responses. Determined efforts at home are not enough and need to be coupled with and reinforced by effective international cooperation in countering nuclear terrorism. It is with this conviction that Turkey has joined the Nuclear Security Summit initiative from the very beginning and has actively supported its follow-up process during the past two years. As a demonstration of our continued commitment to the process, Turkey will host the first Sherpa Meeting for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on 27-28 November 2012 in Istanbul.


The international safeguards system of the IAEA forms an essential part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. We believe that the universalization of the Additional Protocol will strengthen the non-proliferation regime and would contribute to further enhancing security worldwide. More importantly, it will also significantly increase the confidence for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to reach its full potential.

However, we are concerned that there are still a considerable number of countries without Additional Protocols, 15 of which have not yet brought comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency into force pursuant to their NPT obligations. We would like to call upon all States concerned to sign, ratify and implement their Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols without delay.

On the other hand, we would like to remind that the NPT does not delegate responsibilities only to non-nuclear-weapon states, there are also some important obligations for the weapons states, such as Article VI of the Treaty. Without a genuine commitment to the final elimination of nuclear arsenals, including non-strategic weapons, the objectives of the NPT are bound to fail.

We also believe that the Agency should be given a mandate for verification of disarmament activities. In our view, concrete efforts regarding nuclear disarmament are very important to encourage the non-nuclear states to accept and implement more strengthened safeguards system.

Our last call on this subject will be to non-NPT states that have nuclear- weapons programmes, to sign the NPT and totally eliminate their military nuclear capabilities and programmes as soon as possible. We believe that the existence of non-NPT states having nuclear-weapons programmes is dangerously undermining the global safeguards system and the NPT.

Mr. President,

During the course of the current year important international meetings have taken place and my country has actively contributed to each of them.

The Nuclear Security Summit has taken place in Seoul which has once again alerted the international community to the dangers posed by nuclear terrorism.

The First Preparatory Commission Meeting in the run up to the 2015 NPT Review Conference was held here in Vienna. We hope and believe that the 2015 Rev.Con. will even further the achievements of the 2010 Rev.Con.

The Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, the NPDI, a group of ten dedicated countries has substantially contributed to the work of the First Prep.Com. with concrete proposals. Turkey has hosted the Ministerial Meeting of the NPDI in 2012.

The decision of the 2010 NPT Rev.Con. to convene a conference in 2012 to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction is yet to be realized. In this regard we welcomed the IAEA Forum last November. We are also encouraged by the tireless efforts of our Facilitator Ambassador Jaakko Laajava of Finland. We believe that the Conference must be held before the end of this year in Helsinki. Turkey will spare no efforts for the successful convening of the 2012 Conference.

Mr. President,

Allow me to underline once again that all States, which comply with their obligations emanating from the NPT have the undisputed right to benefit from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under Article IV of the Treaty. Turkey is fully supportive of the greatest possible enjoyment of the benefits of peaceful use of nuclear energy for NPT States that are in full compliance with their Treaty obligations.

At the same time, all necessary steps need to be taken in order to ensure that there will be no increased risk of proliferation associated with the expansion of nuclear energy. In that respect, we advocate the universalization of international non-proliferation instruments and support their implementation in good faith and consistency.

Turkey attaches great importance to the effectiveness of the Agency’s safeguards system and appreciates the meticulous manner in which the Secretariat operates in pursuing verification activities under its mandate.

In this regard, we note recent meetings between Iran and IAEA to discuss issues related to the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.

We encourage further dialogue and cooperation between Iran and the IAEA to help clarify the outstanding issues with a view to finalizing the “structured approach” document.

Turkey remains fully committed to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, through peaceful means and dialogue. As we have repeatedly underlined in this forum and elsewhere, that only through a gradual process, including exploratory talks on a set of parallel actions aimed at overcoming the present impasse, is it possible to arrive at a mutually satisfactory settlement of the outstanding issues.

It is with this understading that we have hosted several meetings between Iran and P5+1 in Istanbul. We will continue to contribute to all constructive efforts that would ease the way for dialogue and cooperation.

On the issue of implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in Syria, we call upon Syria to fully cooperate with the Agency.

I would also like to reiterate our grave concern over the decision by the government of the DPRK to cease all cooperation with the IAEA since April 2009. We carefully studied the report of the Director General prepared for the Agency Board meeting of last week, and fully share the concerns therein.

Therefore, we call upon the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapon related programmes in a complete and irreversible manner under the verification of the Agency, act strictly in accordance with their international obligations and return immediately to the Six-Party Talks without preconditions.

I hope the 56th General Conference will be a successful and fruitful meeting.

Thank you for your attention.



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