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EU and IAEA Review Progress and Agree on Priorities in Nuclear Cooperation at Annual Meeting


IAEA and EU representatives at the seventh annual IAEA/EU Senior Officials Meeting held in Luxembourg on 12 February 2019. (Photo: A. Perlin/IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union (EU) reviewed progress achieved in working together on a range of nuclear activities and agreed to further enhance cooperation during their seventh annual Senior Officials Meeting, in Luxembourg, this week.

The talks provided a forum for exchanging views on strengthening collaboration on nuclear safety, security, safeguards and nuclear research, innovation and training. In particular, the two organizations took note of progress they have made in cooperation on nuclear safety and security, as well as nuclear safeguards.  The role of nuclear energy in addressing climate change, for those countries choosing to use it, was among the topics raised in the discussions.

“We took stock of important developments in areas of common interest and steered the direction of our cooperation for the year ahead. The EU is one of our most relevant partners and its support for the IAEA's mandate and work is valued,” said Cornel Feruta, Assistant Director General, Chief Coordinator for the IAEA.

"Nuclear safety and security remain a major priority in the EU”, said Gerassimos Thomas, Deputy Director General in the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission. "In 2018, the EU completed its first ever topical peer review on ageing management of nuclear power plants and research reactors under the amended Nuclear Safety Directive."

To support continuous safety improvements, the EU would continue to support the IAEA's peer review services IRRS and ARTEMIS, which were being widely used by EU Member States to fulfil their legal obligations on nuclear safety and waste management. Developments related to Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), in particular regulatory aspects, were also discussed.

EU support for a variety of IAEA activities has delivered consistent and concrete results over the past year. Officials commended the long-standing and fruitful cooperation under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation and in the Regulatory Cooperation Forum. Joint efforts to address environmental remediation in Central Asia will continue following the successful donors’ conference in 2018.

The EU reiterated its support for the IAEA’s role in verifying and monitoring the implementation of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

During the talks, the EU and the IAEA agreed to further strengthen cooperation in training as well as research and development. In this context, they welcomed progress in advancing activities on nuclear applications under the Practical Arrangements over the second year of their implementation.

The EU reaffirmed its support for the IAEA’s 2018-2021 Nuclear Security Plan, highlighting the importance of the universalisation and implementation of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (A/CPPNM). Implementation of the EU Council Decisions in support of IAEA's activities on nuclear security was also discussed. The two sides also reviewed cooperation on technical matters in the field of nuclear security.

Officials reviewed progress on the implementation of nuclear safeguards in EU Member States and on the European Commission Safeguards Support Programme to the IAEA.

The next Senior Officials Meeting is expected to take place in Vienna in early 2020.

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