Roundup: Peaceful pursuit, use of nuclear technology remains IAEA’s goal

UNITED NATIONS, (PNA/Xinhua) — The head of the UN atomic agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said here Tuesday that the peaceful pursuit and use of nuclear technology continues to be its goal.

Yukiya Amano, the director general of the IAEA, made the statement in his presentation to the UN General Assembly.

The IAEA has been engaged in the work from helping developing countries provide cancer treatment to verifying the non-diversion of nuclear material for military purposes, he said, adding the UN agency continues to pursue its goal of promoting safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

Amano recalled that it is now nearly 60 years since U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower gave his historic “Atoms for Peace” speech to the UN body and called for the establishment of an international atomic energy agency to put nuclear materials to use to “serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind.”

The IAEA began life four years later in Vienna, Austria, in 1957.

“Since then, the agency has worked hard to bring the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology to all parts of the globe and to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” said Amano. “The world has changed enormously in that time. But the ‘Atoms for Peace’ mission has lost none of its relevance,” he said. “The agency has successfully adapted to changing times and the evolving needs of member states.”

In the area of nuclear technology, the IAEA, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), is helping to make radiotherapy, medical physics, nuclear medicine, and imaging services available to developing countries and to benefit cancer patients.

One of the IAEA’s flagship activities is the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

“But our efforts are just a drop in a vast ocean of human suffering. The world needs to mobilize its resources against cancer in a systematic way,” he said, adding that the crisis must be addressed with a multi-pronged global effort to build awareness, develop diagnosis and treatment centers and to train medical professionals.

Also, the IAEA is working closely with African nations to suppress tsetse flies, which infest vast areas of the continent and transmits a parasitic disease that devastates livestock herds and spreads “sleeping sickness” among humans.

On nuclear verification, Amano voiced serious concerns about the nuclear program of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( DPRK). “The DPRK’s statements concerning a third nuclear test and its intention to restart its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, together with its previous statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor, are deeply regrettable.”

The IAEA has not been able to implement any verification measures in the DPRK since April 2009, said the director-general, who said the IAEA continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear materials declared by Iran, but is unable to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities.

“The agency therefore cannot conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” he said.

The UN nuclear watchdog has suspected Iran of being conducting possible experiments on developing nuclear weapon which Tehran denied, saying the agency is influenced by misleading intelligence provided by Western spy organizations.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced on Oct. 23 that the Islamic republic has plans to develop its nuclear program and is ready to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog on ” outstanding issues.”vA “productive” meeting addressing past and present issues related to Iran’s nuclear program was held in Vienna last week, during which the country presented a new proposal on practical measures as a constructive contribution to strengthening cooperation and dialogue with a view to the future resolution of all outstanding issues. Another meeting is set for Nov. 11 in Tehran, capital of Iran.