Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Nuclear Safety

Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear, radiation and transport safety and waste safety:
Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety
Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

U.S. Statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Laura Kennedy

Thank you,

I would like to thank the Director General for these two reports, referred to as Agenda Items 4(a) and (b), because they provide essential information for Member States to assess the effectiveness of the Agency’s work on nuclear safety matters.  They are vital to gauge progress in our collective effort to advance achievements in nuclear safety and security.

First the report on Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety covers eleven subject areas.  I would like to focus on just three of these.  The Fukushima accident raised our awareness and interest in a global nuclear liability regime that addresses the concerns of all States that might be affected by a nuclear accident with a view to providing appropriate compensation for nuclear damage.  We appreciate and encourage efforts of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability in this area and we encourage Member States to avail themselves of its expertise.   We also continue to urge Member States to sign and ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which was drafted to be the essential basis for a global nuclear liability regime.  That liability regime, in turn, would help to facilitate international commerce in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Another area in which Fukushima has focused interest of Member States is the importance of 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.  We encourage Member States to participate in RANET and its related exercises.

The new report on Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety we very much appreciate.  We are still in the process of reviewing the report and the Supplementary Information.  The Action Plan appears to be on track.  We understand that after 2015, the implementation of the Action Plan will be integrated into the regular activities of the respective IAEA divisions.  As we move toward that date, we are eager to learn how that will be accomplished to achieve our common goals of continuous progress in strengthening the global nuclear safety framework.

We would like to acknowledge the work that the Agency has done this past year in regard to nuclear safety, particularly the work to promote international cooperation and to strengthen global nuclear safety by providing expertise and advice to Member States.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety is a vital aspect of the international nuclear safety regime.  We are currently preparing for a Diplomatic Conference that will consider, for the first time ever, a proposed amendment to the Convention.  Although we can appreciate the concern for nuclear safety that is underscored in Switzerland’s proposal, we are still not convinced that there is a compelling reason to amend the Convention at this time.  Among other things, just last year the Parties to the CNS adopted changes to the guidance documents of the Convention in areas related to the objectives of the Swiss proposal.  We place great importance on the viability of the Convention, however, and will work with all CNS Contracting Parties to ensure a thorough and competent Diplomatic Conference.

Finally, we take note of the significant progress made in the development of The IAEA Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident, which is to be finalized in the months ahead. Forty-two Member States and more than 180 technical experts from all geographic regions along with several international bodies are involved in the preparation of this report.  We encourage the Secretariat to continue its work in ensuring that the most accurate, up to date data are used in the report and we look forward to its completion next year.

So, Mr. Chairman, my delegation is pleased to take note of these two reports.

Thank you.