Seventh Review Meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management: Joint Convention Implications of the Situation in Ukraine
June 27-July 9, 2022
Written Statement by the United States under INFCIRC/603/Rev. 7 paragraph 15
During our deliberations over the next several days on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management, we cannot ignore the unprecedented circumstance of a full-scale war by one Contracting Party against another Contracting Party with a large nuclear power program. Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine deeply threatens all the core objectives of the Joint Convention:
(i) to achieve and maintain a high level of safety worldwide in spent fuel and radioactive waste management, through the enhancement of national measures and international cooperation, including where appropriate, safety related technical cooperation;
(ii) to ensure that during all stages of spent fuel and radioactive waste management there are effective defenses against potential hazards so that individuals, society and the environment are protected from harmful effects of ionizing radiation, now and in the future, in such a way that the needs and aspirations of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and aspirations;
(iii) to prevent accidents with radiological consequences and to mitigate their consequences should they occur during any stage of spent fuel or radioactive waste management.
It is essential that in the spirit of international peer review, we, the Contracting Parties of the Joint Convention, do not ignore these threats to our core objectives.
The United States offers deepest thanks and admiration:
– To the Ukrainian authorities, operators, and to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine for their steadfast commitment to nuclear safety on the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste under extraordinarily trying circumstances;
– To the Director General and Secretariat of the IAEA, for their tireless efforts in support of Ukraine to help ensure safety, including in the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste in Ukraine;
– And to those Contracting Parties that have responded to the Agency’s efforts to mobilize assistance for Ukraine, as it is very important to acknowledge the actions many Contracting Parties have taken to respond both to Ukraine’s needs and to the IAEA as it strains to meet the additional demands this situation this has placed on the Agency.
The United States encourages the Director General and the Secretariat to continue their critical work. We also encourage Contracting Parties to do what they can to help Ukraine and the Agency to help ensure the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management. All of us should recognize that any nuclear safety incidents in Ukraine may impact public perception of the global nuclear energy enterprise. We should neither exaggerate nor downplay the dangers.
Mr. President, the United States condemns military actions taken by Russia in Ukraine and fully supports international efforts to maintain the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management.
Thank you, Mr. President.