The 75 States that are party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) are gathered at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 27 to 31 August 2012. About 700 participants are attending the CNS' Second Extraordinary Meeting and the Organizational Meeting for the Sixth Review Meeting to analyse the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident's aftermath.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Meeting President, Li Ganjie of China's National Nuclear Safety Administration, addressed the opening session on Moday, 27 August 2012. The full text the Director General's remarks are available here.
In his remarks, the Director General noted that one year after the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety was adopted, the IAEA has made significant progress in several key areas, including: the assessment of safety vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants, strengthening IAEA peer review services, improving emergency preparedness and response capabilities and reviewing IAEA safety standards. He also noted that the IAEA has organised international expert meetings to analyse technical aspects of the accident and ensure that the right lessons are learned.
The Director General said that the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety encourages Member States to work cooperatively to maximize the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and to produce concrete results as soon as possible.
While the accident may have faded from the international headlines, the Director General urged "the Member States, the IAEA and other key stakeholders to maintain our sense of urgency and our commitment to implementing the Action Plan in full. Much work remains to be done and we must not relax our guard."
States that are "CNS signatories" make binding, voluntary commitments to adhere to safety standards, which are based to a large extent on the principles contained in the IAEA Safety Fundamentals document Fundamental Safety Principles (SF-1).
The CNS was negotiated after the Chernobyl nuclear accident at a series of expert level meetings from 1992 to 1994. It entered into force on 24 October 1996 and is designed to enhance nuclear safety. Its objectives are to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety worldwide, to establish effective defences in nuclear installations against potential radiological hazards and to prevent accidents with radiological consequences. These aims are achieved by setting international benchmarks to which States operating nuclear power plants subscribe.
The countries that are party to the CNS meet every three years to review the Convention's implementation. The coming meeting was called on an extraordinary basis in the light of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
It is through regular meetings of the Contracting Parties that this safety is developed and promoted. The IAEA is the Depository for the Convention and therefore convenes and prepares for the meetings.