Ottawa, Canada -- Nuclear regulatory systems and the role they play in the safe and secure use of nuclear power are the focus of an International IAEA Conference that opened on 8 April 2013 in Ottawa, Canada. The International Conference on Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems, meeting through 12 April 2013, is the third International Conference of its kind organized by the IAEA. Earlier Conferences were held in 2006 in Moscow and in 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. Like the earlier Conferences, the Ottawa Conference focuses on global nuclear safety efforts undertaken by senior nuclear safety and security regulators from countries embarking, expanding, maintaining or phasing out their nuclear power programmes.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano provided a video statement for the opening plenary session, which can be viewed here.
This IAEA Conference's particular significance is its focus on the regulatory implications of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and lessons learned for all nuclear regulators - including in countries that do not have operating nuclear power plants. Topical sessions throughout the four-day event will address the needs of the regulator to:
- Enhance regulatory measures aimed at preventing the occurrence and minimizing the consequences of nuclear accidents;
- Address lessons learned and challenges in the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel, with a focus on long-term management and disposal;
- Enhance transparency and communication among regulators and relevant stakeholders;
- Strengthen international cooperation on emergency preparedness and response;
- Support newcomer countries in establishing and strengthening the regulatory framework for their emerging nuclear power programmes; and
- Enhance safety and security culture in the light of human and organizational factors.
Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safety and Security, discussed the regulatory aspects of the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety in a keynote speech to the Plenary.
"The regulatory authority must be effectively independent from all promotion of nuclear energy. The lesson is that the regulatory authority must have the human resources, the financial resources, and the technical competence to regulate nuclear energy. The regulatory authority must be established in a clear, simple, easy-to-understand manner," he said.
Conference President Tero Varjoranta, Chairman of STUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, discussed the goals of the Conference and the broad scope of nuclear regulation.
"For a successful program, building and maintaining national and international trust is important. This trust depends to a large extent on the regulatory body: how effective, independent, competent and well-networked it is," he said.
Conference co-president, Ramzi Jammal, Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer, Regulatory Operations Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), stressed the importance of adhering to the outcomes of this Conference.
"As the outcomes of the last meeting in South Africa were being implemented, the Fukushima Daiichi incident occurred," said Mr. Jammal. "We now need to focus on the results from this Conference and ensure that regulatory oversight of nuclear safety gets transformed from recommendations into actions as part of a continuous enhancement to global nuclear safety."
The International Conference on Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems convenes in Ottawa, Canada, from 8 to 11 April 2013. The Conference theme is Transforming Experience into Regulatory Improvements. Additionally, this Conference is being organized in connection with the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety as the first experts meeting for regulators following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
This four-day Conference is hosted by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The Ottawa Conference is the third in a series of meetings for regulators that began in 2006 in Moscow, Russian Federation.