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Strengthening the Legal Framework of Sri Lanka as it Pursues Nuclear Power

Strengthening the Legal Framework of Sri Lanka as it Pursues Nuclear Power

IAEA staff and experts togeher with representatives of the delegation of Sri Lanka at IAEA headquarters (Photo: B. Granato de Souza/IAEA)

In response to a request for assistance from the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to discuss its draft amended nuclear law, a high-level delegation from Sri Lanka visited the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 11-14 June 2024. This followed the IAEA Awareness Mission on Nuclear Law held in Colombo in November 2023. The main objective of the visit was to continue efforts to strengthen the country’s nuclear legal framework, in particular the Atomic Energy Act of Sri Lanka No. 40 of 2014 and to further support consideration of adherence to the relevant international legal instruments, in view of the country’s expected decision to embark on a nuclear power programme.

The high-level delegation included the Sri Lanka’s Resident Representative to the IAEA, M.R.K. Lenagala, A.K. Wickramasinghe, Additional Director, Ministry of Power & Energy, Hon. Justice Shobitha Rajakaruna, Judge of the Court of Appeal, Saminda Jayasekara, Chairman, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council, K.K.P.I.K. Kadadunna, Director, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council, K.S.S. Kumara, Deputy Director, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council, Yuresha de Silva, Deputy Solicitor General, Attorney General’s Department, Malinda Ranaweera, Senior Scientific Officer, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board, Jagath Wickrmanayake, President’s Counsel (independent drafting expert) and Thilani Silva, Head of Legal Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Honorary Justice Shobitha Rajakaruna, Judge of the Court of Appeal said “We thank the IAEA for its continued support to and cooperation with Sri Lanka aimed at ensuring the country’s nuclear legal framework aligns with the relevant international legal instruments which we are already a party to and intend to join to support the safe, secure and peaceful development of the nuclear power”. 

During the visit, IAEA staff and experts provided comments on the updated draft Amendment of the Atomic Energy Act covering the four areas of nuclear law, namely nuclear safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage. This collaborative effort was aimed at ensuring that the draft Amendment is consistent with relevant instruments, safety standards, and nuclear security guidance, and supports the establishment of a comprehensive national nuclear legal framework.

The Sri Lankan delegation also met with Lydie Evrard, IAEA’s Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Hua Liu, Deputy Director General and Head of the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation and Aline Des Cloizeaux, Director, Division for Nuclear Power of the Department of Nuclear Energy. In addition, the delegation visited the IAEA laboratories at Seibersdorf to gain first-hand knowledge of the IAEA’s work on nuclear applications.

In his opening remarks, Anthony Wetherall, Head of the Nuclear and Treaty Law Section in the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs, highlighted the significant progress made by Sri Lanka in developing the draft Amendment since last November’s mission.

This event was carried out within the framework of the IAEA Legislative Assistance Programme under the Interregional Technical Cooperation project for legislative assistance. The event was also conducted with the financial support of the extrabudgetary funds provided to OLA by the USA and with financial support provided through the Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy.

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