9 Mar (NucNet): The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has reappointed the current director-general, Yukiya Amano, to a further term of office for four years, from 1 December 2017 to 30 November 2021.
The board’s decision to reappoint Mr Amano took place without a vote, meaning no country expressed opposition.
It must be confirmed by a meeting of all IAEA member states in September, which is widely seen as a formality.
“The United States is pleased to join the consensus decision of the board in endorsing Yukiya Amano to serve as director-general for the term beginning December 1, 2017,” a US statement said.
Since most countries had backed Mr Amano long before the board meeting, one of the few open questions had been where the US stood, since it had yet to express a view publicly.
“This decision by acclamation clearly demonstrates the board's appreciation for the director-general’s leadership during some of the agency’s most significant challenges, including coordination of the international response to the Fukushima-Daiichi accident,” the US statement added.
When he was first elected, Mr Amano was backed by Western powers seeking a more like-minded successor to Mohamed ElBaradei, who clashed with US officials over Iran and was accused by the administration of George W. Bush of being too soft on Tehran.
Mr Amano began his first four-year term on 1 December 2009. A graduate of the Tokyo University faculty of law, Mr Amano joined Japan’s foreign ministry in 1972 when he began a series of international postings in Belgium, France, Laos, Switzerland and the US.
Mr Amano’s appointments before he joined the IAEA included serving as director-general for the disarmament, non-proliferation and science department at Japan’s foreign ministry.
Earlier this week, Mr Amano emphasised the importance of building on the IAEA’s action plan for nuclear safety that was adopted after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident.
“We will consider ways of further strengthening our work in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety,” he said, adding that the IAEA will continue to focus on regulatory effectiveness, safety culture and capacity-building.