U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport & Waste Safety

IAEA Board of Governors Room

U.S. Statement as delivered by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Nicole Shampaine

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

Agenda Item 3: Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport & Waste Safety

Vienna, September 10, 2018

 

Thank you, Chair.

The United States takes this opportunity to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for the Agency’s accomplishments in the field of nuclear safety.  We endorse the Secretariat’s recommendation that the Board of Governors consider and take note of this report.

We welcome the 2018 Nuclear Safety Review, which accurately describes the wide range of activities undertaken in accordance with the Agency’s mandate and priorities defined by Member States.  The Review continues to evolve as a forward-looking document that identifies focal areas for enhancing nuclear, radiation, transport, and waste safety.  We consider the Nuclear Safety Review, when taken together with the Agency’s Medium-Term Strategy, the annual Omnibus document, and IAEA Programme and Budget documents, to be an effective vehicle for communicating progress and priorities for the next year.  As such, we do not believe that an additional document, process, or program is needed to define a “nuclear safety strategy and programme of work.”

The Nuclear Safety Review also highlights the variety of activities with which the Secretariat has been tasked to help facilitate the exchange of operational experience and lessons learned by Member States.  In some cases, the Secretariat has been requested to facilitate information exchange through Technical Meetings or by supporting regional and inter-regional efforts to share knowledge.  As the world’s center for cooperation in the nuclear field, the IAEA has an essential role to disseminate operational experience and lessons learned.  We recognize the importance of this Secretariat function and the value it provides by increasing awareness, promoting collaboration, and informing Member States’ decisions regarding the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

We note that the Nuclear Safety Review summarizes activities for strengthening civil liability for nuclear damage.  We again highlight the need for the realization of a global nuclear liability regime consistent with the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability recommendations and call upon our fellow Member States to become party to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

We would also like to commend the Secretariat’s efforts to encourage more Member States to become party to safety-related conventions, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, and the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident.  We encourage the Secretariat to continue its pursuit of new and innovative methods to promote the safety Conventions.

Mr. Chair, reflecting for a moment on the spirit of the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, the United States would like to use this opportunity to remind Member States of the unanswered questions surrounding the detection of ruthenium-106 throughout Europe almost one year ago.  We again stress that an inherent responsibility in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is a commitment to a high level of nuclear safety.  We reaffirm that responsibility for safety rests with individual Member States having jurisdiction over nuclear facilities.  In the spirit of international cooperation, this includes the responsibility to share timely information so that we may all learn from the collective experience of Member States.

Thank you, Chair.