Nuclear Safety Review

Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport, and Waste Safety: Nuclear Safety Review for the Year 2010

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
March 7-11, 2011

Agenda Item Number 2

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

Permanent U.S. Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency

Mr. Chairman,

The United States welcomes the Director General’s draft Nuclear Safety Review for the Year 2010.  As has been the case for similar annual Safety Reviews, this document provides a useful review of worldwide efforts to strengthen nuclear, radiation, transport, and radioactive waste safety and emergency preparedness.  In view of the increased interest in nuclear power throughout the world, these issues obviously take on greater importance.

The Nuclear Safety Review demonstrates that the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security is tasked with a broad array of diverse projects.  The United States recognizes Deputy Director General Flory’s strong leadership and welcomes the new members of his senior management team.

We acknowledge the work of the Agency in the area of regulatory infrastructure development.  In particular, we are pleased to participate in the Regulatory Cooperation Forum.  As the Unites States, and other countries with established regulatory programs, engage in both bilateral and multilateral assistance activities, the Agency’s leadership in this area helps us to use our resources effectively.  We look forward to future collaborative efforts of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum for sharing our regulatory experience and hearing lessons learned from other Member States.

The United States commends the Agency’s efforts to ensure a consistent, transparent review process for its safety and security documents with consideration of the close interrelationship between safety and security.  As such, we support the objectives of the Joint Task Force of the Advisory Group on Nuclear Security and the Commission on Safety Standards, and we look forward to the outcome, and tangible results, of the Joint Task Forces’ short-term and long-term objectives.

The United States strongly supports peer review missions such as the Operational Safety Review Team, the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review, and the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS), and encourages fellow Member States to participate in these programs.  The United States hosted an IRRS mission in October 2010.  The IRRS team’s assessment was much appreciated by the United States and will help us to continuously improve our program.

Mr. Chairman,

The United States underscores the importance of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, or CNS, and encourages Member States to accede.  The upcoming Fifth Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties will begin on April 4, 2011, and we look forward to hearing and discussing the country reports submitted from the various Contracting Parties.  We note that Iran will soon start-up a nuclear power plant but has thus far chosen not to join the CNS.  This is unfortunate, and would make Iran the only Member State operating a civil nuclear power plant that is not party to the Convention.   We strongly encourage   Iran, and all Member States, to become a party to the CNS.

We also emphasize the importance of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) as the basis for a global nuclear liability regime.  With increasing commerce in nuclear plant technology, the provision of nuclear liability protection is a vital aspect of ensuring the widest competition and choice for Member States.   We encourage Member States to sign and ratify the CSC as soon as possible.

Mr. Chairman,

The safe and appropriate use of new medical radiation technology, in new surroundings, is critical to reducing cancer in developing countries.  We strongly support the IAEA’s work in this area, such as the Scientific Forum that was held in conjunction with the 54th IAEA General Conference.  However, as more countries begin to receive radioactive sources from the IAEA for medical use, the Agency needs to maintain vigilance to ensure that each recipient country has a robust regulatory infrastructure before receiving the sources.  Further, the medical facilities receiving these sources need to have sufficiently trained staff to safely possess, use, and store radioactive sources.

The Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN) and the International Regulatory Network (RegNet) were officially launched during the 54th session of the General Conference in September 2010.  The GNSSN and RegNet consolidate education and training, the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, and the Integrated Regulatory Review Services with other information resources into two main online areas that provides users easy access to needed information.  We laud these initiatives and urge Member States to support them.

Mr. Chairman,

The United States takes note of, and will carefully review, the draft Nuclear Safety Review for the Year 2010 and provide any additional comments by the requested date of April 1, 2011.

Thank you Mr. Chairman