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IAEA Legal Experts Share Knowledge at the International School of Nuclear Law


Spreading knowledge about nuclear law is an important part of the work of the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs. Furthermore, this is necessary to ensure that the next generation of leaders in the nuclear field are prepared for the legal challenges they may face. As part of these efforts, IAEA Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs Peri L. Johnson delivered an opening lecture on The Role of the International Atomic Energy Agency at the International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL) at the University of Montpellier, France, on 21 August 2017.

In her lecture, Ms Johnson discussed the work of the IAEA in the core areas of nuclear law: nuclear safety, nuclear security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage. She also focused on how the IAEA contributes to the development of international nuclear law in three ways. First, the IAEA concludes agreements acting in its capacity as an international organization under international law, for example safeguards agreements. Second, the IAEA establishes technical standards and recommendations, for example IAEA Safety Standards. Third, the IAEA’s Member States adopt multilateral treaties under the IAEA’s auspices, for example, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. Through these three avenues, Ms Johnson said, the IAEA has fostered the development of a comprehensive international nuclear law regime.

The ISNL is a two-week comprehensive summer course on the legal issues relating to the safe, efficient and secure use of nuclear energy aimed as graduate students and young professionals. Established in 2001 by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency in cooperation with the University of Montpellier, INSL provides students with a broad overview of the core areas of nuclear law and the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals from the public and private sectors, as well as distinguished professors in the field.

The IAEA Office of Legal Affairs has contributed to ISNL since its establishment in 2001. This year, in addition to Ms Johnson, IAEA lecturers at ISNL included Mr Wolfram Tonhauser, Section Head, Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, discussing The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and Mr Cristian deFrancia, Legal Officer, discussing IAEA Safeguards. Furthermore, The IAEA awards financial support to a limited number of professionals from its Member States that are eligible to receive financial support under the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme. The IAEA also trains up to 60 lawyers from Member States each year through its Nuclear Law Institute.

Last update: 06 Sep 2017

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