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Diplomats in Vienna Briefed on Nuclear Law

Ms Peri L. Johnson with  HE Ms Victoria-Kruse, Permanent Representative  of the Dominican Republic; HE Ms Collinson, Permanent Representative of the Philippines; Mr Kanana, Permanent Mission of Kenya, and Staff of the Office of Legal Affairs during the roundtable discussion. (Photo: K. Nikolic/IAEA)

Diplomats were briefed this week on nuclear law during a “Workshop for Diplomats on Nuclear Law” conducted by the IAEA at its headquarters in Vienna.

In her opening remarks Ms Peri-Lynne Johnson, Director of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs, explained that the objective of the workshop was to provide an overview of the essentials of nuclear law and highlighted that such workshops are conducted periodically to give diplomats posted in Vienna the opportunity to gain further knowledge in this field.

The workshop started with a general introduction to nuclear law, followed by presentations on the international legal framework for nuclear safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage. Topics of interest raised by participants during the discussions included the scope of application of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the mechanisms for notification and assistance established respectively by the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency and the calculation of compensation under the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, among others.

Ms Peri-Lynne Johnson, Director and Legal Adviser, IAEA Office of Legal Affairs. (Photo: N. Nikolic/IAEA)

A session on current issues and trends on nuclear law was also part of the programme, during which Ms Johnson referred to the constant evolution of the international legal framework, particularly following events like the Chernobyl accident, the 9/11 attacks and the Fukushima Daichii accident. Among recent developments she cited the entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety under the Convention on Nuclear Safety, as well as the adoption earlier this year of a Supplementary Guidance to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources on the Management of Disused Radioactive Sources.

The event concluded with a round table on the IAEA’s legislative assistance programme, during which the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs and representatives from the Dominican Republic, Kenya and the Philippines shared views on how this programme supports the needs of Member States for enhancing their national legal frameworks for the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation.

Referring to this support Ambassador Lourdes Victoria-Kruse, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic, praised training programmes like the Nuclear Law Institute, “without which it would be difficult for lawyers in many countries to learn about this subject”. For Ambassador Maria Collinson, Permanent Representative of the Philippines, “the legislative assistance programme is one of the best investments that we can make, as Agency support is very important to raise awareness of stakeholders in the legislative process about the specificities of the nuclear field and the related international legal instruments”.

More than 85 participants from 57 permanent missions attended the workshop, offered by the IAEA to provide diplomats posted in Vienna with the opportunity to get better acquainted with different aspects of its work.

(Photo: N. Nikolic/IAEA)

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