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U.S. Statement – Agenda Item 3 – IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – September 2023
As Prepared for Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate, Vienna, Austria, September 11, 2023
September 11, 2023

U.S. Statement – As Prepared for Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate – Agenda Item 3 – Nuclear and Radiation Safety

Vienna, Austria, September 11, 2023


Thank you, Chair.

I want to express my country’s condolences to the government and people of the Kingdom of Morocco for the devastating loss of life and causalities as a result of the recent earthquake.  The United States offers support and solidarity to our Moroccan partners and is ready to provide any needed assistance.

The United States would like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for preparing the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Report.  We welcome the IAEA’s 2023 activities, which further strengthened nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, and emergency preparedness and response.  The United States supports the priorities and activities for 2023 and beyond, as detailed in the report, and looks forward to working with Member States and the Secretariat to build on our prior successes.

We commend the Agency’s focus on encouraging Member States to become Contracting Parties to safety-related conventions, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management, and encourage them to make political commitments to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its supplementary guidance.  The United States applauds the Member States that have made political commitments and calls on all Member States to strengthen implementation and advance universalization.

We welcome the Agency’s successful publication of twenty-one Safety Guides during the reporting period, a record number in the past 20 years.  We encourage the Agency to continue to promote  international safety standards that all nuclear supplying, receiving, or employing countries should follow.

We note the Agency’s continued prioritization of small modular reactors, including the application of safety standards to SMR designs.  We appreciate the Agency’s efforts to bring together Member States to enhance international cooperation and consider ways to harmonize regulatory approaches and standardize industrial approaches in support of effective global development of safe and secure SMRs through the Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative.

We thank the Agency for its reporting on the impartial and independent assessment by the IAEA Task Force and third-party laboratories on the discharge of ALPS-treated water, which concluded that Japan’s approach is consistent with international safety standards.  We appreciate the IAEA’s current and continued independent monitoring of the ALPS water and the marine sampling in the vicinity of plant, and we welcome Japan’s continued open communication with the international community.

We invite Member States to consider participating in peer review missions such as the Integrated Regulatory Review Service, the Operational Safety Review Team, and the Integrated Review Service for Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management, Decommissioning, and Remediation and to share outcome reports from these missions to enhance transparency and encourage information sharing.  The United States found its review mission very helpful and is considering an additional request.

We encourage the IAEA to continue to improve the coordination, planning, and effectiveness of its nuclear and radiation safety-related assistance to Member States, which reinforces that nuclear safety is critical to taking full advantage of the potential of peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

Regrettably, the IAEA’s nuclear security activities have been directly affected by Russia’s reckless behavior which continues to threaten the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, including the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.  The United States urges Russia to end its military activity near the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and return control of the plant to Ukraine.  We commend the IAEA’s efforts to coordinate and respond to the urgent nuclear safety and security imperatives in Ukraine and call on Member States to actively support the Agency’s role in assisting Ukraine with nuclear safety and security measures across all its nuclear facilities.

With these remarks we take note of the Nuclear Safety Report and support the IAEA’s continued use of the report, in conjunction with the Nuclear Safety Review, Programme and Budget documents and the Medium-Term Strategy, to communicate safety-related priorities.

U.S. Statement – Agenda Item 3 – IAEA Board of Governors Meeting – September 2023