Parties to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management are meeting in May to review national reports describing how their obligations under the Joint Convention are being implemented. This is the fourth time that the Contracting Parties meet to discuss the results of a "peer review" of national reports. This process allows Parties to review and discuss in detail safety measures taken to implement the Joint Convention.
A record number of more than 600 delegates from 63 Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention are expected to take part in this meeting, taking place from 14-23 May 2012 at the IAEA. Each Party will present its own national report and it will answer questions on it from other Parties. The national report is expected to explain how the country is complying with, or planning to comply with, the Convention's 25 technical Articles. This year, the meeting will also take into account current events and developments in the field. A publicly available Summary Report agreed upon by the Contracting Parties will present the outcome of the discussions.
Previous review meetings have identified areas where significant progress has been made, particularly in the establishment of holistic waste management policies that includes decommissioning and management of legacy waste. They have also identified challenges over the long term, such as the management of spent fuel, the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and the need to find suitable disposal options for all types of radioactive waste.
The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, the first legal instrument to directly address these topics on a global scale, was opened for signature 29 September 1997. It entered into force 18 June 2001.
The Joint Convention applies to spent fuel and radioactive waste resulting from civilian nuclear reactors and applications and to spent fuel and radioactive waste from military or defence programmes if and when such materials are transferred permanently to and managed within exclusively civilian programmes, or when declared as spent fuel or radioactive waste for the purpose of the Convention by the Contracting Party. The Convention also applies to planned and controlled releases into the environment of liquid or gaseous radioactive materials from regulated nuclear facilities.
The 63 Contracting Parties are: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
The Convention calls for review meetings of Contracting Parties. Each Contracting Party is required to submit a national report to each review meeting that addresses measures taken to implement each of the obligations of the Convention.