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New Network to Strengthen Nuclear and Radiation Safety in Europe and Central Asia

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IAEA and Member States representatives meeting during the launch of the EuCAS network. (Photo: K. Nikolic/IAEA)

A new IAEA network will help strengthen nuclear and radiation safety in Europe and Central Asia by facilitating dialogue and knowledge exchange between Member States in these regions.

The European and Central Asian Safety Network (EuCAS Network) brings together 20 Member States and 22 organizations with a responsibility for nuclear safety.

“The Europe and Central Asia region has a dense concentration of countries […] and the largest number of nuclear power plants,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “A network focusing specifically on Europe and Central Asia is very interesting in relation to the context of nuclear safety.”

The EuCAS Network seeks to encourage the sharing of experience and know-how among Member States and support capacity building based on IAEA safety standards. It is initially envisaged to address the management of radioactive waste resulting from nuclear power plants and other nuclear applications. This includes sharing practical experience on the classification of waste, its storage and disposal, for example. Preparatory work has also identified environmental remediation and the decommissioning of power and research reactors as very relevant areas for future activities in the framework of EuCAS.

“Nuclear and radiation safety is a concern that all Member States share,” said Zoran Tesanovic, Deputy Director of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s State Regulatory Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety. “My government’s expectations for the EuCAS Network are very high because safety organizations in the region can learn from the experience of their peers.”

Countries that have joined so far the EuCAS Network are Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia and Tajikistan.

“Experienced Member States in Europe are in a good position to share and explain their experience to less experienced ones in the EuCAS Network,” said Malgorzata K. Sneve, Director at the Department of Nuclear Safety and Environmental Radioactivity in Norway.  “This can help avoid repetition of mistakes made in the past and develop a shared and improved nuclear safety culture for the implementation of future work.”

Lentijo said that the network also brings together national organizations with advanced expertise in safety and with an international reach, stressing the important role of the European Union in the Western part of EuCAS Network with its almost 60 years of experience in implementing the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, also known as the EURATOM Treaty.

“The EuCAS Network does not start on a blank page. Many nuclear safety-related multilateral initiatives, groups, forums and international projects have already been developed,” he said.

EuCAS’ steering committee will hold its first meeting from 7 to 9 December to formally adopt the network’s terms of reference. It will also designate a chairperson, identify a number of working groups and decide on a work plan for 2017. 

The EuCAS network was formally established during an event on the side-lines of IAEA’s 60th General Conference in September. It operates within the framework of the Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network (GNSSN) and its website will be hosted by the GNSSN web platform.

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