Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on Nuclear Safety

Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport, and Waste Safety

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the Director General for his report on “Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport, and Waste Safety”.  I would like to touch on two of the eleven subject areas covered in the report.  The Fukushima accident raised Member States’ awareness and interest in allocation of civil liability for nuclear damage.  We appreciate and encourage efforts of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX) in this area and encourage Member States to avail themselves of its expertise.   Moreover, we would urge Member States to sign and ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which was drafted to be the essential basis for the global nuclear liability regime.

Another area in which Fukushima focused interest of Member States is preparedness for and response to nuclear and radiological incidents and emergencies.  This past year, the Secretariat continued its efforts to work with Member States in improving and streamlining the Response and Assistance Network (RANET).  We encourage Member States to participate in RANET and in the Convention Exercise regime.

Mr. Chairman,

As we continue to learn lessons from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, I would be remiss if we did not note the recent Extraordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety.  The meeting was not only a success, but stands as an outstanding example of the ongoing commitment to enhance the global nuclear safety regime.

Mr. Chairman, the United States would also like to reiterate our call for Iran to join the Convention on Nuclear Safety.  With the reported commencement of full operations of the Bushehr Nuclear Power plant, Iran would be the only Member State operating a nuclear power plant that is not party to that Convention.  It is vital for Iran to meet international safety norms at its Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.

Mr. Chairman,

With regard to Item 4(b) on the agenda, the United States takes note of the report by the Director General on the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety and expresses its appreciation for the effort put into its development.  This report is particularly important for Member States.  We are all keenly interested in the progress on the Action Plan and the efforts that are planned for its implementation.

In this regard, I would like to highlight that this year, as in past years, the United States has contributed 3.3 million dollars in extrabudgetary funding to support safety projects.  We understand that the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security will have increasing demands in the coming years, particularly in view of the program proposed in the Action Plan.  The projects under the Agency’s nuclear safety programs for the immediate future should reflect the priorities identified under the Action Plan as much as possible.

The United States has taken multiple actions over the past year to address lessons learned from the Fukushima accident as they pertain to U.S. nuclear power plants and international cooperation on nuclear safety.  The actions included addressing external events; design issues; severe accident management and recovery; national organizations; emergency preparedness and response; post-accident management; and international cooperation.  Additionally, the United States continues to provide support for peer review missions such as “IRRS” and “OSART.”  We have also attended and fully participated in multiple international experts meetings on nuclear safety and we will continue to provide regulatory assistance to new entrants.

The United States believes these actions are consistent with the IAEA’s Nuclear Safety Action Plan, and in each of these examples the United States continues to work very closely with other Member States and the Agency to share information in a collaborative effort to strengthen nuclear safety world-wide.

Mr. Chairman,

We are encouraged by the progress that has been made over the past year to implement the Action Plan.  Nonetheless, we recognize that further progress will require full participation and support by all Member States. Therefore, we encourage those Member States who are in a position to do so to provide both financial and human resources to assist the Nuclear Safety Action Plan Team in carrying out its activities.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.