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IAEA and EU Review Progress on Cooperation, Agree on Next Steps at Annual Meeting

Vienna, Austria

Cornel Feruta (centre), Chief Coordinator for the IAEA, making opening remarks at the sixth annual IAEA/EU Senior Officials Meeting held in Vienna on 8 February 2018.

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 sixth annual Senior Officials Meeting in Vienna.

The talks on 8 February at the IAEA’s headquarters provided a forum for exchanging views on strengthening collaboration on nuclear safety, security, safeguards, sustainable development, nuclear energy research and increasing innovation. The two organizations welcomed the fruitful cooperation and progress achieved over the past years. They agreed to deepen cooperation in several areas, particularly in the promotion of nuclear applications for sustainable development.

“The EU is a significant partner for the IAEA and these annual gatherings of senior officials serve an important role in helping to coordinate our activities,” said Cornel Feruta, Chief Coordinator for the IAEA. “We have been pleased by progress made in working together on several nuclear-related issues, and look forward to deepening our cooperation, in particular in the area of nuclear applications for sustainable development.”

"Nuclear safety and security remain our key priorities, both in Europe and globally,” said Gerassimos Thomas, Deputy Director General in the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission. “In 2018, the EU will conduct its first ever topical peer review on ageing management of nuclear power plants under the amended Nuclear Safety Directive. It will also advance its strategic agenda on non-power applications in medicine, industry and research. We are working in close cooperation with the IAEA on these matters.”

The EU and the IAEA reaffirmed support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) based on their respective mandates. The EU High Representative, as Coordinator of the Joint Commission established under the JCPOA, will remain in close contact with the IAEA regarding continued implementation of the agreement.

EU support for a variety of IAEA activities has delivered consistent and concrete results over the past year. Officials commended the long-standing and successful cooperation under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. The EU also welcomed joint efforts to address environmental remediation in Central Asia and the upcoming donors’ conference in fall 2018.

During the talks, the EU and the IAEA agreed to further strengthen cooperation in training as well as research and development. They welcomed progress in advancing activities on nuclear applications since the signing of Practical Arrangements in this field last year. The EU also reaffirmed its support for the implementation of the IAEA’s 2018-2021 Nuclear Security Plan. 

The sides welcomed the launch of the IAEA’s new ARTEMIS peer review service of national decommissioning and waste management programmes, to which the European Commission contributes. First reviews have taken place in some EU Member States under the EU waste directive. The safe long-term operation of nuclear power plants and developments related to Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) were also discussed.

Officials reviewed progress on the implementation of nuclear safeguards in EU Member States and on the European Commission Support Programme to the IAEA. Exchanges took place on the 2018 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), scheduled to be held 23 April to 4 May 2018 at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The next Senior Officials Meeting is expected to take place in Luxembourg in early 2019. 

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