Capetown, South Africa -- An international conference dedicated to nuclear regulatory systems and the role they play in the safe and secure use of nuclear power officially opened 15 December in Cape Town, South Africa.
The five-day event is addressing the need to foster international cooperation among regulators so they can share regulatory knowledge, practices and information. Recommendations and guidance on how to establish and maintain independent and effective national regulatory systems are also to be shared among participants.
In his opening address, Tomihiro Taniguchi, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safety and Security, spoke of the IAEA´s role in building safety and security capacity in Member States.
"The IAEA continues to support and promote continuous improvements in the global nuclear safety and security regime as a framework for achieving high levels of safety and security in nuclear activities worldwide." He also reminded the audience that while safety performance indicators have shown steady improvement over the last two decades, their guard should not be lowered.
"It is necessary to avoid complacency and to continuously improve and strengthen the existing global nuclear safety and security regime so that the use of nuclear technologies can be introduced or expanded in a safe and credible manner to meet the world´s needs for human well-being, environmental protection, growth and development," he said.
Gregory Jaczko, Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and President of the conference said that nuclear regulation is a global responsibility and the conference should be seen as an opportunity to make concrete progress and lay out a strong plan of action.
Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, Minister of Energy of South Africa, stressed the importance of nuclear safety and security for public acceptance of nuclear power. "The assurance of nuclear safety and security forms the basis and the vital cog upon which citizens will inevitably support nuclear energy programmes. It is against this background that there is a need to continuously review and enhance the national and international nuclear safety and security framework." She also praised the IAEA for its role in assisting Member States in these issues.
"The IAEA is invariably trusted to provide independent views and advice in order to strengthen safety and security whilst preserving the sovereignty, authority and responsibilities of member states," she said.
The conference is focusing on four topical issues:
- Emerging Regulatory Challenges;
- Regulatory Indepedence and Effectiveness;
- Impact of Multinational Activities on the National Responsibility for Nuclear Safety and Secutiry; and
- International Safety and Security Cooperation.
The International Conference on Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems is held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 14 to 18 December 2009. The conference theme is Further Enhancing the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Regime.
The five-day conference is organized by the IAEA and hosted by the Government of South Africa through the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR). The Cape Town event is the second in a series of meetings that began in 2006 in Moscow, Russia.