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Nuclear Safety: Officials Convene to Promote Global Good Practices

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The Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) aims to promote nuclear safety, safety culture, safety management and knowledge sharing among its parties. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

More than 900 representatives including officials from most of the world’s nuclear power plant countries will convene at IAEA headquarters in Vienna next week to peer review one another’s work in enhancing nuclear safety.

Coming together for the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) from 27 March - 7 April, delegates from the Convention’s 80 Contracting Parties will spend two weeks exchanging information on their implementation of the CNS obligations, identifying challenges and offering suggestions to one another for improving nuclear safety.

“This peer review process is a valuable way of promoting global good practices, and identifying challenges, trends and issues to help prevent accidents with radiological consequences, or mitigate these should they occur,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. “Sharing experiences in this way enables a collective learning from one another, which improves transparency around nuclear safety. This in turn encourages a culture of continuous improvement in the safety of civil nuclear programmes, which helps establish a high level of nuclear safety worldwide.”

The CNS sets international benchmarks in the areas of nuclear installation siting, design, construction and operation, as well as financial and human resources, safety assessment and verification, quality assurance and emergency preparedness. Twenty-nine of the Contracting Parties are operating 448 nuclear power reactors around the world, according to the IAEA’s PRIS database.

The Contracting Parties hold Review Meetings every three years, with the last Review Meeting held in 2014.

In 2015, the Contracting Parties held a Diplomatic Conference at which they unanimously adopted the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety. The Declaration contains principles to guide Parties in the implementation of the CNS objectives. Therefore, the Seventh Review Meeting will also be the first opportunity for Contracting Parties to reflect together on the actions they have taken in response to the Declaration’s principles.

The CNS entered into force on 24 October 1996. It aims to promote nuclear safety, safety culture, safety management and knowledge sharing among its parties. It requires Contracting Parties to report on their implementation of the Convention’s obligations, and subject these reports to peer review by the Contracting Parties.

The CNS does not compel Contracting Parties to adhere to certain safety standards; rather it acts as an incentive instrument to guide states in their common interest of achieving a high level of nuclear safety by setting international benchmarks to which they would subscribe.

Almost all countries with operating nuclear power plants are Contracting Parties to the CNS.

The IAEA is the secretariat for the Convention.

Watch selected sessions of the CNS live

The following sessions of the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety will be livestreamed:

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