Estonia, Mr Arvo Niitenberg, Head of Delegation:
In opening, the delegate thanked the Agency and other international organisations for their assistance in helping Estonia face the major challenge of dealing with the decommissioning of the nuclear facilities and sites which are a legacy of the nuclear activities of the former Soviet Union. As Estonia has no nuclear programme of its own and insufficient national expertise, it is dependent on international support to this end. The delegate also expressed his hopes that IAEA co-operation with respect to technical and regulatory aspects will continue. Estonia is in the process of establishing national legislation in the fields of radiation protection and waste management in order to ensure implementation of internationally accepted principles and standards. However, some aspects of decommissioning and waste management are not sufficiently regulated; a draft regulation is being prepared. Similarly, legislation requiring Estonia to develop a national policy programme on decommissioning and waste disposal is in preparation. The delegate noted Estonia s efforts to prevent and combat illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. He informed the General Conference that Estonia had ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty this year. The delegate anticipates further efforts to strengthen the non-proliferation regime at the 2000 NPT Conference planned for April of next year. He expressed hopes that no time would be lost during the Conference of Disarmament in January for negotiations to begin on the treaty banning production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and explosive devices. In closing, he reiterated his country s commitment to making the world a safer place to live in.