Nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
Text of the speech by Power and Energy
Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka at the 54th General Conference of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held in Vienna, Austria
General and complete disarmament has been a declared objective of the
United Nations and the international community for several decades,
though it has remained elusive. Sri Lanka believes that the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of the nuclear
non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of
nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Power and Energy Minister Patali
Champika Ranawaka addressing at the 54th General Conference
of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held in
Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are interlinked and
cannot be pursued independently and in isolation. We also recognise that
obligations and commitments undertaken by countries should not
jeopardize their sovereign and inalienable right to develop research,
produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Sri Lanka is glad to note that the NPT 2010 Review Conference has
recommended notable actions and practical measures in dealing with
Nuclear non-Proliferation and peaceful use of Nuclear Energy. We call on
the Agency and Member States to work together in giving effect to the
actions recommended in the Review Conference.
Sri Lanka attaches great importance to the mandate and functions
entrusted to the IAEA in enhancing the peaceful use and application of
nuclear energy and technology for Member States. IAEA’s mandate and over
five decades of vast expertise acquired in the area of nuclear energy
for peaceful purposes place the Agency in a vital and indispensable
position. We are confident that the Agency would continue to maintain
its independence, balance and impartiality in fulfilling its mandate. In
successfully carrying out its tasks, the Agency also needs the support
of Member States. Sri Lanka is firmly of the view that all avenues of
diplomacy and dialogue should be employed to deal with the contentious
issues confronting the Agency.
My delegation has read with interest the Annual Report of the Agency
for 2009. The world continues to face growing challenges of climate
change and declining sources of fossil fuels. As we focus on forms of
renewable energy and sustainable development, it is evident that there
is renewed interest in nuclear energy to meet demands of national
development and power generation.
The Mahinda Chintana - Vision for the Future program initiated by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has identified five hubs for development
activities and Energy is defined as one of the hubs. Under this rapid
development plan, I wish to state that we have formulated and introduced
a 15 fold strategy called ‘Power Lanka’ based on the concept of triple
E’s visualizing Economy, Energy and Efficiency. As a stepping stone to
this strategy we are now in the process of reviewing and revisiting our
The Government of Sri Lanka has commenced developing national
infrastructure for enhanced productivity. The year 2010 marks the
opening of the new Hambantota port in the South of Sri Lanka.
Development of a second International Airport, bunkering facilities and
other large infrastructure projects are underway.
We are now witnessing a great leap forward and have experienced an
energy demand of eight percent for the past six months and in the second
quarter of the year, we have had growth rates of 8.5 percent. In order
to meet our energy demands in the future, we need to feed our base load,
as well as increase our spinning reserves to absorb non-conventional
renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and mini-hydro.
In meeting these development priorities and plans, Sri Lanka has
therefore taken a decision to look into incorporating Nuclear Power into
its energy mix. Recently, the Government of Sri Lanka has approved the
Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka to conduct a pre-feasibility study
of using nuclear energy as a viable option beyond 2020 for power
generation with the technical cooperation of the Agency. Further, a
program to enhance human resource development in the field nuclear
energy has already been initiated in collaboration with Engineering
Universities of Sri Lanka.
The Atomic Energy Authority Act. No. 19 is being upgraded and drafted
to meet the present and future requirements in the field of nuclear
power generation, nuclear terrorism, environmental protection and
nuclear safety and security. The draft act is being forwarded to the
Agency with a view to finalize the Act within this year, to be approved
by the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
Terrorism remains a great threat to countries. As a country that had
to face the scourge of terrorism for nearly 30 years, I am pleased to
announce that Sri Lanka has been able to overcome this threat. As we
look to the future with renewed hope and enthusiasm, the Government of
Sri Lanka is proceeding to embark on a new era of economic development.
Sri Lanka fully supports global measures to combat terrorism and has
joined multilateral efforts by becoming signatory to a number of
International Conventions, including the International Convention for
the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The global threat posed
from nuclear weapons and material falling into the hands of terrorists
groups and extremist elements is very real. Therefore, physical
protection of nuclear material is very essential.
Science and technology
Sri Lanka has become a partner of the Global Initiative to combat
Nuclear Terrorism and has joined the megaport initiative, to improve
safety and security of radioactive sources and monitor international
movement of nuclear materials through our national ports.
It has also provided security upgrades to places such as radiotherapy
facilities and gamma irradiation centers under the Global Threat
Reduction Initiative. We are now in the process of finalizing an
agreement with the Government of the United States to facilitate the
technical assistance necessary for our country in the disposition of
radioactive waste in our country.
In June of last year, Sri Lanka hosted a South Asia Workshop on the
Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 dealing with
Non-State Actors and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
The application of nuclear science and technology for development
related purposes is an important pillar of the Agency’s activities and
mandate. Therefore, we attach great importance to the technical
assistance provided by the IAEA to developing countries and believe that
these activities be strengthened further. It is for this reason that
sufficient, adequate and predictable resources for the Technical
Cooperation Fund should be allocated for this purpose. At the same time,
the delivery of Technical Cooperation should take the needs of recipient
countries into consideration to enhance the impact of such assistance.
Sri Lanka has greatly benefited from the Technical cooperation
program of the Agency in areas such as human health, agriculture,
industry, nutrition and radiation protection. Last year Sri Lanka signed
its Country Program Framework (CPF) for 2009-2013 in December 2009, for
which it is envisaged IAEA cooperation for energy planning, nuclear
medicine, industrial applications, control of vector borne infectious
diseases and capacity building of the national nuclear research
Sri Lanka, with the support of the Department of Technical
Cooperation, has strengthening our radiological emergency preparedness
planning. It is currently setting up a few sites to detect background
radiation and activate a radiological warning system through the
country’s National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC). In this regard,
the NDMC has planned national training programs with the collaboration
of the Agency in the field of radiological emergencies and similar
Sri Lanka has received technical cooperation assistance on nuclear
imaging for the last two decades. Four nuclear imaging centres in the
government health sector have been provided with equipment and expert
services with a recommended source for supply of radioisotopes. However,
we note that in present circumstance the supply of Tc-99m isotope is not
always reliable. As we are aware of the importance that nuclear imaging
plays in the early detection of cancer, especially for developing
countries, we hope that this matter may be resolved.
Sri Lanka appreciates the contribution made by the Agency for the
establishment of the Bio Dosimetry Laboratory and we are pleased to note
that Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka is now in a position to offer
bio-dosimetry services to concerned individuals on request. The advanced
nuclear analytical services such as Total X-ray Fluorescence (TXRF),
upgrading of human resources and capabilities in the field of nuclear
analytical methods has helped improve investigations on causes for
Chronic Kidney Disease, a major health concern in the North Central and
Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
The Agency’s Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) serves as a
clear demonstration of the peaceful use of the atom. We are appreciative
that Sri Lanka has been one of the six PACT Model Demonstration Sites (PMDS).
We hope that the success of these PMDS will help provide models for
comprehensive cancer care in the developing world today.
In this respect, we also thank the Government of India for their
donation of the Bhabhatron II - a Cobalt-60 Teletheraphy Machine to Sri
Lanka through the PACT program, that will be installed at the General
Hospital in Hambantota, where there is an urgent need.
Sri Lanka views the Regional Cooperative Agreement for the Asia and
the Pacific as an instrument through which participating countries have
reaped considerable benefits. In a follow up programs introduced by the
RCA, Sri Lanka has recognized the importance of Non Destructive Testing
Techniques for the enhancement safety and productivity in Industry. The
Department of National Planning of Sri Lanka has recommended the
establishment of the National Centre for Non Destructive Testing
(NCNDT). The proposed NCNDT will perform such work on an enhanced scale.
I wish to thank the Secretariat of the Agency for the arrangements
made for this session of the General Conference, as well as for their
excellent cooperation with Sri Lanka in all aspects of the Agency’s
work. My delegation assures, through you the Director General and his
staff of the fullest cooperation of Sri Lanka in its efforts to achieve
peace, development, safety and security through the effective
utilization of the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.