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Burkina Faso Enhances its Nuclear Legal Framework with IAEA Assistance

The delegation of Burkina Faso met with representatives from the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs and Department of Technical Cooperation. (Photo: IAEA)

In Burkina Faso, nuclear science and technology is used to treat cancer, control the population of insect pest, such as the tsetse fly, and improve sheep and goat productivity. Central to the safe and secure use of these nuclear applications is a comprehensive legal framework. An awareness and bilateral review meeting, held from 19 to 22 December 2023 in Vienna, brought together IAEA legal experts and a Burkina Faso delegation to discuss the country’s nuclear legal framework and ways in which it can be strengthened.

“The Government of Burkina Faso had benefitted from IAEA legislative assistance during the elaboration of a draft nuclear law in 2011 and this comprehensive nuclear law was subsequently adopted and entered into force in June 2012,” Wolfram Tonhauser, Head of the Nuclear and Treaty Law Section at the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs said.  “As part of our longstanding cooperation with Burkina Faso, we remain at the Government’s disposal as it works towards enhancing its national nuclear legal framework. We fully support Burkina Faso’s efforts in this regard,” he continued.

Organized at the request of the Government of Burkina Faso, the meeting discussed in detail the IAEA’s recommendations and proposed revisions to a new draft Law on radiation protection, nuclear safety, security and safeguards. The country’s delegation comprised of seven senior government officials from the National Authority of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (ARSN), the Ministry of Environment, the Green Economy and Climate Change, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Sanitation and the Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso in Vienna.

Delivered in French, the meeting also provided an opportunity to raise awareness regarding the importance and benefits of adhering to relevant international legal instruments. In this context, the senior legal officials engaged in discussions on the international nuclear liability instruments adopted under the auspices of the IAEA, to which the country is not yet party to.

Martial Zoungrana, Director of ARSN, thanked the IAEA for its support in training ARSN staff and the development of legislative and regulatory texts on radiation protection, safety and nuclear security of Burkina Faso: “Burkina Faso's law is ten years old and during its application, difficulties in provisions have been noted. It was then time to revise it in order to improve radiation protection, safety and security aspects and the status of ARSN, but also take into account nuclear installations and civil liability issues.”

The meeting was organized under the IAEA Legislative Assistance Programme within the framework of the regional Technical Cooperation (TC) project on legislative assistance, RAF0061. In addition to the review meeting, the delegation interacted with representatives of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme to learn more about the areas in which the IAEA can assist the country in reaching its development objectives, as well as understanding how its programme cycle work. ​

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