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Member States’ Commitment to Treaties Strengthens Nuclear Safety and Security Globally

Vitus Qujaukitsoq (left), Greenland’s Minister for Industry, Labour, Trade and Foreign Affairs, depositing legal documents to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at the General Conference Treaty Event. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Three countries took key actions today to strengthen nuclear safety and security worldwide. On the margins of the IAEA General Conference, Denmark, Kyrgyzstan and Lesotho deposited four legal documents related to treaties under the IAEA’s auspices.

“The multilateral treaties adopted under the auspices of the IAEA are equally important,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. “I am, therefore, very pleased that this Treaty Event provides an opportunity for countries to present instruments expressing consent to be bound by these important treaties.”

The annual Treaty Event promotes universal adherence to the most important multilateral treaties for which the IAEA Director General is depositary, notably those relating to nuclear safety and security, as well as to civil liability for nuclear damage.

This year, the event focused on the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (Joint Convention).

CPPNM

Although the Amendment to the CPPNM entered into force on 8 May 2016, it is important that all countries adhere to this important legal instrument, Mr Amano said. “Universal implementation of the amended Convention will help to ensure that nuclear material and facilities throughout the world are properly protected against malicious acts by terrorists.”

Asmana Ismailova, representative of Kyrgyzstan deposited an instrument of ratification of the CPPNM Amendment.

Convention on Nuclear Safety

“As regards the CNS, the General Conference has repeatedly urged all Member States that have not yet done so to become Parties to it, especially those planning, building, commissioning or operating nuclear power plants, or considering doing so,” Mr Amano said.

On behalf of Denmark, Vitus Qujaukitsoq, Greenland’s Minister for Industry, Labour, Trade and Foreign Affairs deposited letters withdrawing previous reservations, thus extending the application of the CNS, as well as the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, to Greenland. “Before any exploitation of uranium can commence, it is fundamental to the Greenland government to have effective safety arrangements in place to protect the public and staff who work with nuclear and other radioactive materials from harmful exposure, he said. “These materials must also be protected to ensure that they do not fall into the hands of terrorists.”

Joint Convention

“The General Conference has urged all Member States that have not yet done so to become Parties to the Joint Convention, including those that are managing radioactive waste from the use of radioactive sources and nuclear energy,” Mr Amano said.

Pitso Makosholo, Lesotho’s Deputy Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, deposited an instrument of accession to the Joint Convention. “The Joint Convention is important for Lesotho because we use a number of radioactive materials in our industries and in the housing and agriculture sectors,” he said. “It is important to have a global framework where we can be assisted on how to best manage waste in our country.”

During this year’s Treaty Event, representatives from several Member States were also briefed on the treaties featured at the Treaty Event.