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Sharing Experiences on Nuclear Law in Latin America and the Caribbean: IAEA Regional Workshop held in Chile

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IAEA Regional Workshop on Nuclear Law, Santiago, Chile

Participants and IAEA experts gather at the IAEA Regional Workshop on Nuclear Law. (Photo: CHHEN)

Legal advisors, officials and experts from 18 Member States of Latin America and the Caribbean gathered in Santiago, Chile, from 25 to 29 June 2018, for a regional workshop on nuclear law organized by the IAEA in collaboration with the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CHHEN).

During the meeting, participants and IAEA officials discussed the international and national legal framework for the use of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation, its importance for ensuring the safe, secure and peaceful use of this technology and the challenges that countries face when developing and updating the national laws in this field. 

Gloria Zarate, Head of CCHEN’s Legal Office, stressed the relevance for countries in the region. “CCHEN is pleased to be the venue of this meeting where countries with different levels of development in using nuclear applications have the opportunity to hear and discuss the legal framework for safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage”, she said.

National presentations delivered by participants during the workshop provided an overview of the status of the nuclear legal framework in each country, and how it had developed since the last regional meeting conducted in 2014, showing that several Member States in the region are seeking to adopt new legislation or to revise their related laws to better adapt them to current legal and technological developments. The presentations also showed that the participation of countries from the region in some of the treaties adopted under IAEA auspices, particularly in the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and in the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, had increased during the last 4 years.

Participants appreciated the opportunity to exchange views and lessons learned on these matters. Danny López, General Director for Legal Affairs of Bolivia’s Ministry of Energies highlighted that “this meeting has enabled us to consolidate knowledge, share experiences, learn from other countries and establish a network of contacts for having periodic meetings and assessing results”.

Another important outcome of the workshop was the identification of priority areas and modalities for providing support to Latin American and Caribbean Member States in the coming years under the IAEA’s legislative assistance programme.

In this context, Yvette Sutherland Reid, Senior Legal Officer from Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, said that her country enacted the Nuclear and Radiation Protection Act in 2015 and that “IAEA support is very useful to identify all aspects that need to be considered to have a comprehensive legal framework in place.”

The workshop held in Chile follows other regional events on nuclear law and legislative assistance organized by the IAEA for Member States in Africa, Asia and the Pacific and Europe in the previous years.

CCHEN is pleased to be the venue of this meeting where countries with different levels of development in using nuclear applications have the opportunity to hear and discuss the legal framework for safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage.
Gloria Zarate, Head of CCHEN’s Legal Office

The Regional Workshop on Nuclear Law for Latin American and Caribbean Member States was organized in cooperation with the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission. (Photo: CHHEN)

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