IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Agenda Item 3, Strengthening the Agency’s Activities related to Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety

U.S. Statement as delivered by Ambassador Macmanus

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

The United States thanks the Director General and the Secretariat for their efforts in preparation for this meeting.  It is appropriate that the topic of “Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety” be the first substantive item of business at this meeting.  While we are still dealing with the after-effects of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants, we are encouraged by the worldwide efforts to review the foundations of the nuclear safety system and draw valuable lessons learned from the event.

We would like to note the progress that continues to be made in several key areas cited in the Nuclear Safety Review.  These include:

  • assessments of potential safety vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants;
  • strengthening of the Agency’s peer review services;
  • improvements in emergency response and preparedness capabilities;
  • strengthening and maintaining capacity building;
  • continued review of IAEA’s safety recommendations and guidance documents to incorporate lessons learned from Fukushima;
  • revision of the requirements for decommissioning nuclear facilities; and
  • the ongoing work with the United Nations and the International Council on Radiation Protection to develop a discussion paper on the need for international standards for radionuclide contamination of food and drinking water.

We urge the Board of Governors to consider and take note of these and many other accomplishments in the Nuclear Safety Review2014.

Mr. Chairman,

Regarding the report, “Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety,” we would like to highlight the increase in peer reviews noted in the report.  Last month, the United States hosted an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) follow-up mission, which reviewed our progress and accomplishments in implementing the recommendations and suggestions from our original IRRS mission in 2010.  We urge Member States to request and participate in not only the peer review missions, but also in follow-up missions, and to publish the results of those missions to promote transparency and openness.

We take note of the emergency preparedness and response workshop that was held in October at the Agency’s Response Assistance Network capacity-building center in Fukushima City, Japan to help build the capacity of Member States in the Asian and Pacific region.  We also note the publication of the “IAEA Report on Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” 

We are also pleased that work is progressing and nearing completion for the IAEA Fukushima Report.  More than 180 technical experts in the five Working Groups met recently in February, and although much work is yet to be done, we are looking forward to completion of this report in late 2014, with publication planned for early 2015.

We further note the announcement by the Japanese Government of its intention to introduce legislation to the Diet for ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC).  This is a significant development and major step toward the CSC’s entering into force.  The entry into force of the CSC will be a significant achievement in the improvement of the international legal framework and in the implementation of the Action Plan.  We continue to urge other Member States to ratify the CSC.

We commend the Agency on its recent International Experts’ Meeting on “Radiation Protection after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: Promoting Confidence and Understanding,” which was held in February.  This International Experts’ Meeting brought together some of the world’s foremost experts on radiation protection to discuss a wide range of issues including the management of radiation exposures, potential health effects from the Fukushima accident, and land management and public risk communication.  In particular, the Agency should be commended for highlighting the intergenerational responsibility for radiation protection.  It was wonderful to see the active participation of young radiation protection professionals from around the world, who shared their thoughts on solutions to the issues that need to be addressed.

Lastly, the United States takes this opportunity to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for their efforts in revising the Draft Safety Requirements: Decommissioning of Facilities: Revision of IAEA Safety Standards Series No. WS‑R-5.  As more nuclear facilities worldwide reach the end of their useful lives, decommissioning will take on ever greater significance.  The United States joins with others in urging the Board to authorize the Director General to issue this as a final Safety Requirements publication in the Agency’s Safety Standards Series.

We express our appreciation for these reports and efforts to continue to enhance nuclear safety worldwide.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.