Issues Related to the Fukushima Daiichi Accident

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

September 12-16, 2011

Agenda Item Number 2(b)

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Permanent U.S. Representative to the IAEA

Mr. Chairman,

The United States takes note of the report on the Ministerial Conference by the Director General and expresses its appreciation for the effort involved in its preparation, as well as that of the Action Plan for Nuclear Safety.

While we understand that we are still in the process of learning lessons from the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, this Action Plan is a sound beginning to learn and act upon what we now know.  The Plan is meant to incorporate aspects involving nuclear safety, emergency preparedness and response, and radiation protection of people and the environment, as well as the relevant legal framework.

This Action Plan is the product of a great deal of dialogue and discussion among Member States and with the Secretariat.  It addresses the strengthening of nuclear safety in light of the Fukushima accident through twelve main actions.  While they are all worthy and substantial actions, priorities must be established, with an emphasis on actions that directly relate to the lessons learned from Fukushima.  In this regard, we believe Member States should focus their efforts initially on completing national assessments and implementing the results of those assessments.

In addition, to the extent practical, Member States and the Agency should utilize existing instruments and programs to undertake the actions.  In this regard, we strongly encourage Member States to join and effectively implement the Conventions noted in the Action Plan.  Likewise, we urge Member States to join the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage as a step towards a global nuclear liability regime.  These are steps that can, and should, be taken by any Member State with, or considering, a nuclear power program.

Mr. Chairman,
The Unites States supports the Action Plan, and we stand ready to assist the Agency with implementation of the various actions.  We note, however, that absent an initial cost estimate for implementing the Action Plan, it will be especially important to avoid duplicative and/or redundant efforts, and to take advantage of opportunities to cooperate with other international organizations, such as the NEA, and industry groups, to ensure the efficient use of existing resources.

We also note that the Board’s approval of the Action Plan does not authorize any action that cannot be undertaken pursuant to the existing framework.  Any changes to existing instruments and programs, or adoption of any new instruments or programs, must take place with full Member State involvement, to ensure a comprehensive, transparent and collaborative process and approach.

Finally, we reiterate our view that success of the Action Plan will be dependent on the full involvement of Member States, in a similar manner as we witnessed during the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety and with the development of this Action Plan.  We look forward to working with the Agency and Member States to strengthen nuclear safety in light of the Fukushima accident. Toward that end, the United States is pleased to join Member States in approving the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.