IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – Agenda Item 2 – Nuclear and Radiation Safety: Nuclear Safety Review 2023
U.S. Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate
Vienna, Austria, March 6, 2023
Thank you, Chair.
I take advantage of this first intervention to express condolences to the victims and survivors of the recent devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria and to commend the IAEA’s energy support to the region.
The United States would like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Safety Review 2023 as circulated in document GOV/2023/2. We applaud the IAEA’s 2022 activities, which further strengthened nuclear radiation, transport and waste safety, and emergency preparedness and response. The United States supports the priorities and activities for 2023 and beyond, as detailed in the Nuclear Safety Review, and looks forward to working with Member States and the Secretariat to build on our prior successes.
We commend the Agency’s focus on encouraging Member States’ commitment to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary guidance. The United States applauds the Member States who have made political commitments to the Code of Conduct. And we call on all Member States to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Code by strengthening implementation and advancing universalization. We look forward to observing the anniversary with robust engagement during the Open- Ended Meeting of Technical and Legal Experts on May 29 through June 2.
We note the Agency’s continued prioritization of advanced and small modular reactors, including the application of safety standards to reactors’ designs in anticipation to their contributions to energy security and mitigating climate change. Along with the IAEA, we acknowledge the value of international cooperation on small modular reactors’ regulation, and we support a holistic approach to incorporating safety, security, and safeguards at the earliest stages of the design process. We appreciate the Agency’s efforts to bring together Member States to enhance international cooperation and consider ways to harmonize and standardize regulatory and industrial approaches in support of the effective global development of safe and secure small modular reactors.
We also look forward to the Joint Eighth and Ninth Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety later this month.
Regrettably, Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s electrical grid and its seizure of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant continue to threaten the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, significantly raising the risks of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighboring states, and, indeed, the whole world. We, once again, commend the IAEA’s continuing efforts to coordinate and respond to urgent nuclear safety and security imperatives in Ukraine resulting from Russia’s illegal war. We applaud the bravery of the IAEA personnel who are embarking on the safety and security missions across Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, and particularly those individuals participating in the Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. We call upon all Member States to support the Agency’s role in helping to mitigate the nuclear safety consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
With these remarks we take note of the Nuclear Safety Review for 2023 and support the IAEA’s continued use of the Review, in conjunction with the Programme and Budget documents and the Medium-Term Strategy, to communicate safety-related priorities.