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Mr Amano provided an update on the modernisaton of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, near Vienna. The laboratories, which are unique in the UN system, assist the Agency’s 171 Member States in using nuclear techniques in areas including food and agriculture, human health and environmental monitoring, as well as in the use of nuclear analytical instrumentation.

Seven Member States have recently announced pledges totalling more than 2.5 million euros to complete the fitting out of the new facilities. Mr Amano said another 1.25 million euros were still needed to fill the funding gap and asked countries in a position to contribute to do so.

He noted that the dosimetry audit service, which the IAEA offers together with the World Health Organization to help ensure that cancer patients around the world receive the correct radiation dose, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

“It has made a great contribution to improving treatment quality and patient safety,” Mr Amano said. “In the 1970s, only around 50% of participating hospitals delivered radiation doses within the acceptance limit of 5%. Today, 98 to 99% of audit results are acceptable.”

He informed the Board that this year’s IAEA Scientific Forum in September will focus on the Agency’s achievements in cancer control in the last 10 years and review cooperation with key international partners in improving access to radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.

Mr Amano highlighted the work done by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture in diagnosing and helping to control outbreaks of animal and zoonotic diseases such as avian flu and Ebola. “In January this year, it took only four days for our experts to help Mongolia’s National Central Veterinary Laboratory to diagnose and confirm an outbreak of African Swine Fever,” he said. This made possible the rapid implementation of control measures in Mongolia.

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