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New Contribution Agreement Signed between the European Commission and the IAEA

The IAEA and the European Commission (EC) have signed a new contribution agreement on 21 June 2013 under the 2012 Annual Action Programme of the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC).   Under the agreement, the EC will make a generous contribution of EUR 9,260,000 to the IAEA, which will be used by the IAEA's technical cooperation (TC) programme and by the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security (NS) to support nuclear safety projects. This contribution supports the EC's overarching goal of promoting nuclear and radiation safety around the world. It will cover a total of 13 TC projects and 10 NS projects.

Nuclear safety is an important topic for international cooperation and assistance and a priority for the European Union. The first Contribution Agreement between the EC and the IAEA was signed in 2005 for a TC project in the area of nuclear safety. The IAEA has since signed a number of Contribution Agreements with the EC, under the auspices of the EU Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) programme, the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, and the Instrument for Stability, amongst others. The cooperation between the IAEA and the EC offers the possibility to pool resources and create synergies in efforts to enhance global nuclear and radiation safety. It is also expected to improve effectiveness and minimize overlaps in addressing the needs of the Member States.

TC projects funded through the new EC contribution will cover three major safety areas, including emergency preparedness and response, addressing radioactive waste management, and strengthening regulatory bodies in the implementation of safety standards. NS projects will focus on enhancing design and operational safety review services to nuclear power plants, providing technical support to regulators with regards to improving safety for lifecycle management of spent fuel, radioactive waste and decommissioning, as well as enhancing regulatory oversight based on the lessons learned from Fukushima.

To review the progress of ongoing collaboration, both organizations have agreed to organize review meetings on a biannual basis. The first review meeting has already taken place at the EC's headquarters in Brussels on 18-19 June 2013, during which all existing projects funded by the EC INSC were presented in detail to EC counterparts and discussed.

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