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IAEA Concludes Topical Webinar Series on Nuclear Law


The IAEA Office of Legal Affairs hosted a webinar series focused on topical issues in nuclear law. (Photo: IAEA Office of Legal Affairs)

Following the success of the 2020 Webinar Series on Nuclear Law and given the increasing demand for legislative assistance, the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs hosted a second webinar series. Around 1000 government officials with policy, legal, regulatory and technical backgrounds from almost 100 countries attended the latest series from October 2021 to August 2022.

The series, which included nine webinars, featured IAEA experts discussing various topical issues on nuclear law. The peer-led sessions provided a general overview of the specific topics and were concluded with a Q&A segment to facilitate exchange with participants.

The series kicked off with an update on developments in the area of nuclear law and the role of national nuclear law in establishing the regulatory framework. Timur Ibadullaev, Uzatom Agency, Uzbekistan, noted that his government “is working towards consolidating and strengthening the national legislation in order to ensure a consistent and complete legal framework for nuclear safety and nuclear security. This webinar has provided an overview of the most important aspects and topics to be considered in this process.”

The webinar series also addressed the role of national nuclear law in the context of decommissioning, radioactive waste and spent fuel management, as well as radioactive sources and liability for damage. The potential impact of new nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors (SMRs), on nuclear law was also discussed. “Recognizing the increasing interest in small and modular reactors, we are very pleased to learn about the IAEA’s full array of support and expertise in this area, from technology development and deployment to nuclear safety, security and safeguards and, very importantly, the relevant legal instruments as well elements of a national legislative and regulatory framework,” said Diego Julien, National Regulatory Authority for Radiation Protection, Uruguay.

In the field of the international legal framework for nuclear security, the role of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment was addressed. Rebecca Schuster, Office of the Attorney General, Palau, noted that “the presentations were very useful in broadening our understanding of the Amendment and how it significantly strengthens the CPPNM in a number of important ways, relating to physical protection, criminalization and international cooperation. We look forward to the IAEA’s continued support and guidance in this regard.”

Finally, the last two webinars focused on the legal framework for transboundary nuclear risk management and openness and transparency in international and national nuclear law. “transparency and openness is essential to sustain credibility and trust in a regulatory body,” said María Laura Duarte, Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Argentina. “The holistic view of the presentations delivered during this webinar is valuable in ensuring transparency and openness in the implementation of relevant activities in the Member States

The IAEA Office of Legal Affairs offers government officials opportunities to learn from and interact with IAEA lawyers and international nuclear law experts. “In addressing the needs of the Member States in the area of legislative assistance and in addition to our in-person activities, we will launch another webinar series on topical issues in nuclear law in the coming year. We are also working on a project focused on capacity building through e-learning,” said Anthony Wetherall, IAEA Legislative Assistance Programme Lead.

The series was implemented within the IAEA legislative assistance programme. It targeted countries that are not party to some or all of the relevant international legal instruments adopted by or under the auspices of the Agency and/or are in the process of strengthening their existing national nuclear legislative framework.

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