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IAEA Hosts Regional Workshop on Nuclear Law for Spanish-Speaking Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean

Regional Workshop on Nuclear Law for Spanish-Speaking Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean

The opening session of the workshop began with a video statement recorded by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. (Photo: IAEA)

About 30 legal advisors, officials and experts from 16 IAEA Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean participated in a regional workshop on nuclear law in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 12 to 16 September 2022.

Conducted in Spanish, the workshop addressed the elements of a comprehensive national legal framework for the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation. The workshop also addressed the relevant international legal instruments adopted under IAEA auspices in the areas of nuclear safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage. “The workshop addressed essential topics and facilitated interesting discussions between participants and experts on a variety of issues,” said Romulo de Castro Souza Lima of the National Nuclear Energy Commission in Brazil.

Matthew D’Orsi, a contact point for the IAEA’s Legislative Assistance Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighted that “the Member States in attendance identified the need for increased awareness on the part of high-level decision makers and parliamentarians, additional national workshops and seminars to train the next generation of nuclear lawyers, and reviews of draft legislation to enhance their legal frameworks. In addition, all participants emphasized the need for a sub-regional seminar in Spanish that would focus on legislative drafting, given that draft legislation is being prepared in Spanish and the participants face challenges that are common to the region.” The requested activities will be implemented between 2022 and 2024.

During the regional workshop, participants delivered national presentations that provided an overview of current and proposed activities and facilities using nuclear energy or ionizing radiation. The presentations also discussed the status of the participants’ nuclear legal frameworks, proposals for expansion of such frameworks and any legislative assistance needs. These presentations reflected that many countries would benefit from acceding to other international instruments, including those concerning nuclear safety and civil liability for nuclear damage. As noted by Mariana Arias of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Argentina, one of the greatest strengths of the workshop was “the possibility to exchange expertise and views with lawyers from regulatory bodies in the same region and in one’s mother tongue, which facilitates that exchange.”

Many countries also highlighted the need to update their nuclear legal frameworks to incorporate more robust enforcement and sanctions mechanisms, to strengthen the independence of their regulatory authorities, and to implement their obligations in the areas of nuclear safety and security. “The meeting allowed us to discuss the status of our legislative frameworks in our countries so that we can receive trainings and workshops in the future and strengthen our capacities in all areas of nuclear law,” said Ingris Yohana Nelson Alvarado from the Secretary of Energy of Honduras.

The regional workshop was one in a series of events held within the context of the IAEA’s Legislative Assistance Programme, which includes the Agency’s current regional technical cooperation project entitled Establishing and Enhancing National Legal Frameworks in Member States. The programme covers all areas of nuclear law and includes regional, sub-regional and national activities that help countries to assess, review and develop nuclear legislation. These activities also support adherence to and effective implementation of the relevant international instruments in nuclear law.

Sixteen Spanish-speaking IAEA Member States participated in the regional workshop on nuclear law. (Photo: IAEA)

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