The ISS with the support of the British High Commission and Royal Norwegian Government proudly presented this public lecture and seminar
The future of nuclear energy post-Fukushima
Keynote address by Mr Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The use of nuclear energy for electricity generation has been promoted as an important means to mitigate the impact of climate change. However, the so-called nuclear energy revival has recently taken a knock following the nuclear incident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in March 2011, which has been described as the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The incident resulted in several countries re-examining their nuclear programmes with some deciding to phase out nuclear power completely, and others, like South Africa, continuing with their plans to introduce or expand their nuclear infrastructure.
Head of the IAEA, Director-general Yukiya Amano, spoke on the future of nuclear energy following the Fukushima incident. He stated that the IAEA plays a key role in developing and promoting nuclear safety standards in applications of nuclear energy as well as the protection of human health and the environment against ionizing radiation. Mr Amano also noted that the IAEA monitors non-compliance by states with their obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and other non-proliferation agreements to ensure that the use of nuclear materials, technology and facilities is only for peaceful purposes.
Amano spoke on the work that the IAEA performs in actively supporting African Union (AU) members in applying nuclear techniques in, for example, Tsetse eradication, water management and agriculture and, of course, cancer control. He also mentioned the role of the IAEA in trying to resolve the impasse with regard to Iran’s nuclear programme and the insistence of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPKR) to exercise their right to test nuclear weapons. With regard to South Africa, Amano mentioned the success of the IAEA’s recent assessment of South Africa’s integrated nuclear infrastructure. The review evaluated the country’s readiness to start purchasing, constructing and operating nuclear power plants. It draws on an evidence-based questionnaire covering 19 key nuclear issues, from funding and financing through to security and waste management. Amano said South Africa is the first African country to undertake such an assessment and the first country with existing nuclear capacity to do so. He praised South Africa’s commitment to pursuing a responsible programme in a transparent manner.
The 128-strong audience at the public lecture included members of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the South African Police Service, and the Department of Energy. Additional participants included members of the nuclear industry from both the private and public sectors such as academics and students of nuclear physics and international relations, non-governmental and community based organisations, media representatives, international organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, members of the diplomatic community including ISS partners from the British High Commission and the Norwegian Government that sponsored the event, the Ambassadors of Japan and Chile, and South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA, His Excellency, Mr Xolisa Mabhongo.
Media coverage of the public lecture:
- Engineering News - Growing African interest in nuclear power
- International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA Director General visits South Africa
- International Atomic Energy Agency - Nuclear power after Fukushima
- Engineering News - Japan now unlikely to phase out nuclear power
- ISS Today - Why the IAEA Director General’s visit to South Africa matters
Listen to the lecture by Mr. Yukiya Amano
- Transcript of Mr Yukiya Amano`s speech, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Opening remarks by Dr Jakkie Cilliers, Executive Director, ISS
- Respondent remarks by Mr. Noel Stott, Senior Research Fellow, ISS Pretoria
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