IAEA BoG – U.S. on the Nuclear Safety Review 2021

A visitor gets help to kit up for a tour of the Fukushima Daiichi site, 2015. (Susanna Loof/IAEA)

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting, Agenda Item 4: Nuclear and Radiation Safety – Nuclear Safety Review 2021

U.S. statement as delivered by Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Louis L. Bono
Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021

Thank you, Madam Chair.

The United States thanks the Director General and the Secretariat for their preparation of the Nuclear Safety Review 2021, as circulated to the Board of Governors in document GOV/2021/3. We applaud the IAEA’s activities in 2020, which further strengthened nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, and emergency preparedness and response. This achievement is even more noteworthy when considering the significant challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are covered in the Director General’s report GOV/INF/2021/6. We look forward to working with Member States and the Secretariat to complete the Agency’s outstanding work, which was postponed in 2020.

In anticipation of a time when pandemic-related difficulties are behind us, the United States encourages the Agency to combine both its old and new ways of doing business in order to increase its effectiveness in delivering substantive outcomes for the benefit of Member States. We support efforts by the Agency to ensure that the lessons learned during this pandemic vis-á-vis the safe operation of nuclear and radiation facilities are retained and included in its safety guidance. We look forward to the International Conference on a Decade of Progress after Fukushima-Daiichi: Building on the Lessons Learned to Further Strengthen Nuclear Safety, which is planned for November 2021 and will highlight achievements in improving nuclear safety over the past ten years and consider new initiatives for further strengthening nuclear safety.

The United States supports the priorities and activities for 2021 and beyond, as detailed in the Nuclear Safety Review, and looks forward to working with Member States and the Secretariat to build on our prior successes. In particular, we note the Agency’s prioritization of assistance to Member States in promoting their regulatory effectiveness and infrastructure, areas which impact all aspects of nuclear safety. We continue to believe that the array of peer review services offered by the Agency are important tools to help Member States assess their development needs and build competent and effective national infrastructures that support the safe use of nuclear applications. We also welcome the Agency’s first-ever International Conference on Nuclear Law planned for February 2022, which is expected to address a variety of issues, including nuclear safety, nuclear regulation, liability for nuclear damage and international conventions and codes of conduct associated with these topics.

We would like to encourage the Secretariat to continue its efforts to find consensus among Member States on the revised process for the sharing of information related to their implementation of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. The United States will remain fully engaged in this process and looks forward to achieving consensus in the coming months.

Madam Chair,

With these remarks we take note of the Nuclear Safety Review 2021, and support the IAEA’s continued use of the Nuclear Safety Review, in conjunction with the Agency’s Programme and Budget documents and the Medium-Term Strategy, to communicate its safety-related priorities.

Thank you, Madam Chair.