Nuclear Safety Convention Meeting Commits to Learn Lessons from Fukushima Nuclear Accident

5th Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The 5th Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), being held in Vienna, Austria, concluded on 14 April 2011.

During the 10 days of meetings, delegations from 61 of the 72 countries that are "Contracting Parties" to the Convention discussed long-term safety issues, as well as the unfolding nuclear emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.

As a result of the Japanese disaster, the contracting parties are carrying out safety reviews of their nuclear installations, including reexamining the nuclear power plants' safety measures that defend against extreme external events.

The Contracting Parties stated that the learning process following the Fukushima accident will continue as more information is acquired and analyzed.

They also welcomed IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's initiative to convene a Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in June, and pledged their support.

Although the CNS is scheduled to meet every three years, it was agreed that they would convene an extraordinary meeting next year to analyse the Fukushima accident.

A General Review

The Review Meeting's conclusions also included detailed technical discussions about enhancing safety culture; overcoming challenges in recruiting a new generation of nuclear professionals; managing ageing nuclear facilities and safely extending their lifetimes; nuclear power plant designs; siting of new plants; periodic safety reviews; countries new to nuclear power; international cooperation; as well as networking on emergency management and operating experience.

In addition, the Conference attendees discussed country reports on nuclear safety that every Contracting Party is obliged to submit. All countries with operating nuclear power plants are among the CNS' Contracting Parties.

Background

The Convention, which entered into force on 24 October 1996, was designed to enhance nuclear safety. Its objectives are to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety worldwide, to establish and maintain effective defenses in nuclear installations against potential radiological hazards, and to prevent accidents having radiological consequences.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety is an incentive instrument. It does not compel Parties to adhere to certain safety standards, but is, instead, based on their common interest to achieve higher levels of safety.

The IAEA is the depositary for the Convention and its role is to provide the secretariat for the Review Meetings by convening, preparing and servicing these meetings, as well as transmitting relevant information to the Contracting Parties.

Last update: 13 November 2014