The Board of Governors (BG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is holding its regular annual meeting between 5-8 March, 2012. Hungary is currently a member of the policy-making body of the organisation headquartered in Vienna. The Hungarian delegation is represented by Minister of State for Climate Change and Energy Pál Kovács of the Ministry of National Development acting as governor.

With its first anniversary approaching, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is once again given increased attention around the globe. Since the devastating accident, one of IAEA’s most urgent objectives is to increase the social acceptance of nuclear energy, maintain and reinforce public confidence and improve transparency.

At the Board of Governors’ meeting, Director General of IAEA Yukio Amano stressed that despite the Fukushima accident the spread of nuclear energy is undiminished, and drop in the number of new projects is merely temporary. In 2011 altogether 65 nuclear power plants were under construction, 44 of which of them in Asia, the continent that remains the focus of growth.

During planning IAEA’s support projects, special attention was paid to cancer research in 2010 and water purification in 2011. According to the Director General’s plans, this year the reduction of famine will be placed in focus. The research supported by the Agency has already resulted in spectacular findings in food production.

Hungary intends to provide active support, even in an international context, to IAEA’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety approved last year. Similarly to all other Member States of the European Union, Hungary has also performed stress tests in its operating nuclear power stations.

In his address Pál Kovács informed the 5 March 2012 meeting of the Board of Governors that the report of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Office found the Paks Nuclear Power Plant safe and identified no need of any prompt action. The reviewing experts pointed out the significance of the interventions introduced in the facility in 2008 to increase safety. The Minister of State stressed that being a Member State of the European Union, Hungary paid special attention to the uninterrupted improvement of safety in nuclear power plants.

Domestic achievements allow Hungary to offer its experiences and available means in the field of nuclear safety to international specialists during the IAEA BG meeting. For instance, the Maintaining and Practice Centre of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant is especially suitable for the implementation of and training in fast accident prevention.

The traditionally good relations between Hungary and the IAEA are further strengthened by the fact that during his bilateral discussions with Pál Kovács, Director General Yukija Amano confirmed his acceptance of the Ministry’s invitation to Hungary at the end of June.

(Ministry of National Development , Department of Communication)