IAEA BoG – U.S. on the Nuclear Safety Review 2020

IAEA Board of Governors, March 9, 2020. (USUNVIE)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 3: Nuclear Safety Review 2020

U.S. statement as delivered by Ambassador Jackie Wolcott
Vienna, Austria, March 9, 2020

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I would like to begin by thanking the Director General for prioritizing the IAEA’s nuclear safety work. We look forward to the new ideas that DG Grossi and his leadership team will bring to nuclear safety in the coming years, and we stand ready to support the IAEA in its work to enhance global nuclear security and safety.

The United States thanks the Director General and Secretariat for their preparation of the Nuclear Safety Review 2020. We consider this review to be an effective vehicle for communicating progress and priorities for the next year, an efficient mechanism to respond quickly to Member State feedback, and an agile way to adjust workload priorities on an annual basis.

The United States commends the Agency for its efforts to improve nuclear safety worldwide. We encourage Member States to continue to benefit from the collective expertise of the international community, including through use of the Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies for both emergency reporting and for exercises in emergency preparedness.

We also encourage Member States to utilize the Agency’s wide array of review missions and advisory services. Later this year, the United States will host an Operational Safety Review Team mission at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Kansas. This comes on the heels of a successful mission in 2017 to the Sequoyah nuclear power plant in Tennessee. We believe that hosting IAEA-led review missions and advisory services is an effective way to share international best practices and identify areas for improvement. We commend the IAEA’s ongoing efforts to enhance these programs and encourage the Agency to incorporate the feedback of Member States that have hosted missions.

The United States has consistently supported and promoted the IAEA’s activities to expand membership in safety conventions, assist Member States in enhancing nuclear power plant safety, and provide training in radiation safety and emergency preparedness and response activities. My government would like to take this opportunity to highlight the $7.8 million in voluntary funding provided for the Agency’s safety workload in 2019. These contributions build upon many years of support for a wide range of activities to help address the greatest needs of Member States. We value our safety partnership with the IAEA and look forward to our continued collaboration.

I would also like to highlight the United States’s ongoing review of NuScale small modular reactor design, which is scheduled to receive regulatory approval later this year. This will be an important milestone in the United States and will undoubtedly be of interest to the international community as well. We have actively supported the IAEA’s Small Modular Reactors Regulator’s Forum, which is a prime example of international collaboration. The United States encourages all countries to support the exchange of relevant information to help ensure the global community is prepared for the legal and regulatory challenges that new reactor designs may bring.

Madam Chair,

In order to optimize its support of Member States, we encourage the Secretariat to continue to improve its internal coordination, both within and across departments. Taking steps to further improve coordination can maximize the investments of Member States and enable the Agency to broaden the reach of its services, further strengthening nuclear safety globally.

We encourage the Secretariat to use the Nuclear Safety Review’s priorities to highlight opportunities to enhance its coordination processes, thereby further advancing transparency and strategic planning. We would also like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of Agency coordination with Member States before initiating new activities. In today’s environment of increasingly scarce resources and progressively greater needs, it is imperative that the Agency undertake new work in response to the needs and requests of Member States. With these remarks we endorse the Agency’s recommendation that the Board of Governors consider and take note of the Nuclear Safety Review 2020.

Thank you, Madam Chair.