Statement by H.E. Mr Pekka Haavisto Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, 65th General Conference of the IAEA, Vienna, 20 September 2021 General Debate

Mr President,

Finland aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union, to which I will add some remarks in my national capacity.

First, let me congratulate IAEA and it´s highly skilled and engaged staff and leadership for their successful work carried in the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. The role of the IAEA in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and providing the needed verification is crucial. The Agency has our full support.

I am hopeful that as the pandemic recedes, we will be able to meet closely again and strengthen our focus on the international non-proliferation agenda. One of the main steps will be the 10th NPT Review Conference.

Mr. President

Maintaining the integrity of the IAEA safeguards system, based on the NPT, is essential.

I would like to thank the IAEA and Director General Grossi for their dedicated efforts to implement the NPT Safeguards Agreement with Iran. We call on Iran to cooperate fully and immediately with the Agency. 

The JCPOA is a milestone in nuclear non-proliferation. Finland remains fully committed to the agreement, and has provided substantial annual financial contributions to support the Agency in verifying Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

Finland strongly supports the intensive diplomatic efforts within the JCPOA Joint Commission. It is crucial to resume the negotiations in view of a possible return of the US to the JCPOA, and the perspective of Iran’s return to full JCPOA implementation, including its transparency measures.

Mr. President,

Finland is committed to implementing and enhancing the highest possible nuclear safety, security and safeguards standards. In addition to these principles I would like to underline sustainability.

Sustainability also entails carbon neutrality. Finland’s goal is to be carbon neutral in 2035. It is a challenge, and we are developing and studying new technologies, such as small modular reactor (SMR) technologies in power production.

Sustainability is also relevant in the context of nuclear waste. In Finland, our efforts to build a geological repository for spent nuclear fuel is progressing well, and we foresee that it will be ready to function in 2024. We trust that it will serve as an important example of a safe end-solution for high-level waste. We are ready to share our experiences and are organizing a side event on Wednesday afternoon.

I am also encouraged that international attention has lately been devoted to the issue of high-level radioactive waste in the waters of the Arctic Seas. I have recently raised this matter also in the Arctic Council and hope that work in this regard is pursued soon by the appropriate instances.

Mr President,

I am pleased to note that continuous efforts for gender equality have been championed by the Director General and the IAEA, in seeking gender parity within the secretariat.

To conclude,

May I take this opportunity to state that Finland has presented its candidature to the IAEA Board of Governors. During our term, we would channel our efforts to help IAEA to implement its core mandate, and support its independent expert role in safeguards and the promotion of radiation and nuclear safety and security, and to bolster the use of new technologies in fulfilling this role. We would be grateful for your support for our candidature.

Thank you