Amano seen winning IAEA leadership election a second time

Kyodo

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano is the sole candidate in the next election for IAEA chief, an agency official said Monday, paving the way for his re-election to a second four-year term from December.

The deadline for the nomination of candidates was Dec. 31.

“The chairman of the board informed IAEA member states today that he received no candidature other than the incumbent director general, Yukiya Amano,” IAEA representative Gill Tudor said Monday.

Canada, which chairs the Board of Governors, will consult with other board members on how best to take the matter forward, the Tudor said.

The reappointment of Amano, 65, as head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to be approved at a March meeting of the Board of Governors at the earliest, with final confirmation to be given at the annual assembly of the General Conference of its members in September.

Amano will be tackling issues including shedding light on Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program and implementing an action program for reinforcing safety at nuclear power plants worldwide, as well as cooperating with Japan on decontamination work in connection with the Fukushima meltdown disaster.

Amano, a former Japanese diplomat, was elected head of the IAEA in July 2009, the first Asian chief, and assumed the post in December that year.

He had previously served as director general for the Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department at the Foreign Ministry before being appointed to represent the country at international organizations in Vienna.

After the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the IAEA, under Amano’s stewardship, formulated an action plan to enhance reactor safety worldwide.

In December, the IAEA and the Japanese government organized the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. Amano signed an agreement with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato for the IAEA and the prefectural government to work closely on decontamination and radiation monitoring amid the nuclear crisis.

Amano has been keen on nuclear nonproliferation, aiming to introduce a new framework for probing Iran’s suspected nuclear arms program.