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General Conference Day 1 Highlights

At the start of the plenary session, Ambassador Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson was elected as President of the 61st IAEA General Conference. Delegates then approved Grenada’s application for IAEA membership. 

Director General Yukiya Amano delivered his opening statement in which he reviewed the year’s highlights and defined priorities for the coming year. During the opening session, the General Conference by acclamation approved the re-appointment of the IAEA Director General for a further four year term.

During the plenary session 35 delegations took part in the debate. Their full statements are available here

The following side events took place on Monday:

At the ReNuAL/ ReNuAL + Event: Unveiling of Donor Wall, Mr Amano unveiled a wall recognizing the donors to the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) and ReNuAL+ projects in the presence of the Friends of ReNuAL co-chairs. Since 2014, the IAEA has raised over €30 million in extra budgetary contributions for the project, including two donations today, from the United States of America and Germany. A slideshow presented demonstrated the progress in construction and showed the current status of the work on the ground.

The event, 20th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Joint Convention, which took place on 5 September 1997. The Joint Convention is the only international legally binding instrument to address on a global scale the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management. Delegates from five IAEA Member States shared their experience related to nuclear safety at this commemorative event.

At the International Nuclear Safety Group (INAG) Forum: Disposal of High Level waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel event, sessions focused on regulator-operator interactions, key points for the implementation of safe geological disposal and lessons learned from a waste isolation pilot plant accident. INSAG is a group of nuclear safety experts drawn from regulatory bodies, technical support organizations, research and academia and the nuclear industry.

The annual Treaty Event promotes universal adherence to the multilateral treaties for which the IAEA Director General is depositary. This year’s Treaty Event focused on the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, and on the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). Bolivia submitted its instrument of acceptance to the CPPNM Amendment while Monaco submitted its instrument of ratification. Syria deposited an instrument of ratification of the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

At the side event Radiation Risk Assessment and Risk Perception in Medical Imaging, participants learned about the methodologies for risk assessment associated with medical procedures.

Member States side events:

The Role of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry in Improving the Safety of Spent Fuel Management event, organised by Russia, covered a range of issues on spent fuel management in countries that are members of the International Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry (IUVNEI). The event highlighted that safety is an obligatory condition in the nuclear power industry and key to its development worldwide.

The event on Building Capacity and Capability to De-risk Nuclear Programmes: Experience of the United Kingdom, highlighted how the United Kingdom has enhanced its capacity and capability to implement major nuclear new-build and decommissioning programmes and how this can benefit other countries.

The Nuclear Waste Management – Pioneering Solutions from Finland event, presented Finland’s approach in planning and implementing nuclear waste management.

The event What has been Achieved in Fukushima Decontamination & Decommissioning until Today: Where do we Stand? organised by Japan, showcased decontamination and decommissioning in Fukushima and explored how the world nuclear community could improve efforts for safer, more effective and accelerated progress in these areas.

The event Update on Saudi Arabia’s National Atomic Energy Project and SMART Development: Options for Newcomer Countries highlighted Saudi Arabia’s newly approved National Atomic Energy Project, as well as cooperation.

The event Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) — India’s Initiative for Safe, Secure and Sustainable Nuclear Energy through Global Partnership highlighted the GCNEP initiative, which was set up to conduct research, design and development work on nuclear systems that are intrinsically safe, and to develop a pool of trained professionals through collaborative research and training programmes.

The Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN and the US Department of Energy Idaho and Oak Ridge National Laboratories received designations as IAEA International Centres based on Research Reactor (ICERR).

The Chinese Atomic Energy Authority has pledged to train experts from across Asia in the various peaceful uses of nuclear technology, under an agreement signed today. The agreement which was signed on the side-lines of the IAEA’s 61st General Conference will strengthen expertise in nuclear energy, nuclear safety and nuclear science and applications.

Other activities:

Country Programme Framework (CPF)

A CPF is the frame of reference for the medium-term planning of technical cooperation between a Member State and the IAEA and identifies priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals.

Head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission Zeev Snir, and Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, signed Israel’s Country Programme Framework for the period of 2018–2023.

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