Strengthening Global Nuclear Safety: CNS Review Meeting Convenes

The opening of the Seventh Review Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety on 27 March at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Significant progress has been made in strengthening nuclear safety across the world, delegates at the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) heard today. 

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano opened the meeting by reviewing some of the initiatives implemented in recent years to improve safety.   These included the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, adopted after the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011, and the 2015 Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety.

“The need to maintain a robust safety culture is now universally recognised,” Mr Amano said. “After the Fukushima Daiichi accident, countries with nuclear power programmes took vigorous steps to reassess all aspects of safety and some countries reformed their regulatory systems.  IAEA activities related to the Action Plan are now being implemented through the Agency’s regular work.

Robust safety framework

Mr Amano said the IAEA would continue to focus on regulatory effectiveness, safety culture and capacity-building, and that it would give increased attention to issues such as the safety of radioactive sources used in industry, health care and other non-power applications.

“Every country that uses nuclear technology has a responsibility to create a robust framework for safety and security,” he added. “This is a national responsibility that cannot be outsourced. But effective international cooperation is also essential. The IAEA has a vital role to play in enabling countries to share experiences and best practices.”

The CNS Contracting Parties hold Review Meetings every three years, with the last Review Meeting held in 2014. At the Seventh Review Meeting, from 27 March - 7 April, more than 900 delegates from the 80 Contracting Parties will exchange information on their implementation of the CNS obligations, and identify challenges and offer suggestions to one another for improving nuclear safety.

The President of the Review Meeting, Ramzi Jammal, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, said openness and transparency were essential for improving global nuclear safety.

Jammal noted that the meeting would provide a first opportunity for Contracting Parties to discuss plans and actions following the release of the IAEA Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident in 2015.

“The next two weeks offer us the opportunity to renew and refocus our collective commitment to global nuclear safety,” Mr Jammal said. “Focusing on continuous improvement and learning from each other is essential to avoiding complacency…Our path must be based on continuous safety enhancements and efficiencies.”

Stressing the importance of the CNS and its review meetings in enhancing nuclear safety,  he added: “By renewing the commitment every three years, Contracting Parties are building and maintaining public trust and ensuring that today’s and future generations are protected.”

International safety benchmarks

The CNS entered into force on 24 October 1996 as an instrument to guide states in achieving a high level of nuclear safety. It 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. The CNS requires Contracting Parties to report on their implementation of obligations under the Convention and subject these reports to peer review by other Parties.

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, and the footage will remain available following the conclusion of the event: