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How Well Do You Know Nuclear Law? A New IAEA Webinar Series will Help You


Wolfram Tonhauser, Head of the Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, at the opening of the first webinar series on 28 October 2021. (Photo: C. Liang/IAEA).

Last year, the IAEA organized its first series of webinars on nuclear law for officials from around the world, attracting more than 2500 viewers from over 100 countries. Given the strong demand, the IAEA launched a webinar for the public last December.

A new series was launched last month, targeting nuclear professionals and lawyers interested in this specialized field. This series is divided into eight topics and is scheduled to run until May 2022.

The goal of this new series is to build on what was presented in last year’s webinars, and to explore some topical issues in depth. These topics relate, among others, to openness and transparency of information and stakeholder involvement in international and national nuclear law, the handling of radioactive sources, liability for nuclear damage and the potential impact on nuclear law of new technologies such as small modular reactors (SMRs).

“While the webinar series was a result of the pandemic and the cancellation of in-person activities, including the two-week Nuclear Law Institute (NLI) which is focused mainly on drafting nuclear legislation, it will remain part of the overall offering of the IAEA even once things return to normal after the pandemic”, said Peri Lynne Johnson, IAEA Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs.

The first webinar, broadcast on 28 October, provided an update on nuclear law and encouraged participation in the entire series, including in the Q&A sessions following each webinar. The second webinar, held on 16 November, addressed the role of nuclear law in establishing the regulatory framework. The next session is scheduled for 2 December and will focus on nuclear law in the context of decommissioning and radioactive waste and spent fuel management.

Here is what some of the participants have said about their experience so far:

What was your motivation for attending the webinar? What are the most relevant topics for you that this webinar or the series covers?

Lionel Rwamamara, Senior Legal Officer, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority: “My motivation for registering for the webinar series is to acquire knowledge on basic concepts of nuclear law, which is a new field in my country. This will allow me to grasp its principles and further deepen my understanding about the nuclear industry as a Senior Legal Officer working for the regulatory body of nuclear radiation protection in my country.”

What kind of insights are you seeking from this webinar/series?

Haendra Subekti, Director for Regulation of Nuclear Installation and Materials, at the Indonesian Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN): “In principle, nuclear law should be the same in all countries, but national legal frameworks and their implementation are different. Given the new generation of small modular reactors (SMRs) technology and the theme of cross-border risk management, I would like to acquire the basic principles underlying the implementation and adaptation of international conventions to my country’s national legal frameworks.”

How can these webinars support you in your work? What kind of impact do the topics covered have on your work?

Ina Grigalashvili, International Legal Specialist, Georgia’s Agency of Nuclear and Radiation Safety: “The insights I get from the series have a direct positive impact on my everyday work. I am responsible for preparing the initiatives of acceding to the different international instruments of nuclear law. After Georgia became a party to the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, we are currently preparing the process for acceding to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. The steps described by the IAEA experts in this first webinar helped me to understand and potentially advocate for them to the decision makers in my country. The content of the webinars also offers new perspectives in my daily work when drafting a new comprehensive law for Georgia, which needs to be in full compliance with international obligations and commitments.”

What are your main take-aways from this first webinar?

Christopher Ng, Legal Counsel and Acting Head of the Legal Division, Safety, Health and Environment National Authority, Brunei Darussalam: “It was excellent to have a recap of the important aspects in the areas of nuclear security, safeguards and safety from the Office of Legal Affairs. Nuclear law does not operate in isolation and has cross-applicability in many areas including maritime law, environmental law, anti-terrorism law and so on and so forth. There is a need to examine other perspectives as to how nuclear law contributes to the already existing framework for international law. Legal advisors in regulatory bodies play an important role in bridging the technical and legal aspects of activities such as law-drafting. There is a need for more open exchanges and forums to learn from each other how to excel in these skills.”

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