The European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency took steps to strengthen their cooperation in a range of nuclear activities including for sustainable development during their fourth annual Senior Officials Meeting in Vienna this week.
The talks on 21-22 January 2016 at the IAEA’s headquarters provided a forum to exchange views on enhancing collaboration in nuclear safety, security, safeguards, sustainable development and nuclear energy research and innovation. In particular, the two organizations agreed to further strengthen their cooperation on nuclear safety, waste management and decommissioning as well as emergency preparedness and response. In addition, mechanisms to strengthen regional cooperation were discussed, including for the environmental remediation of uranium legacy sites in Central Asia.
“Frequent exchanges at both the technical and senior official levels are very important,” said Cornel Feruta, Chief Coordinator for the IAEA. “The EU is an important partner for the IAEA and we are interested in further enhancing this cooperation. The IAEA and the EU can work together and contribute to the objectives of the sustainable development agenda.”
The EU reaffirmed its support for the IAEA’s activities related to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The EU High Representative, as coordinator of the Joint Commission established under the JCPOA, will remain in close contact with the IAEA regarding implementation of the agreement. The EU also shared its intention to cooperate bilaterally with Iran, particularly in the area of nuclear safety.
EU support for a variety of IAEA activities has delivered consistent and concrete results in several important areas, including global assistance projects. The latest cooperation in nuclear applications in health and agriculture—including pilot projects in Africa and Asia—was also reviewed.
Nuclear security was also on the agenda, with talks focused on how to achieve more effective and sustainable measures, including EU support for the entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Developments regarding the IAEA LEU Bank in Kazakhstan, including continued EU support, were also discussed.
Officials reviewed progress on the application of nuclear safeguards in EU Member States.
The next Senior Officials Meeting is expected to take place in Brussels in early 2017.