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Concluding Statement to IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety

Vienna, Austria

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety has achieved its main goal, which was to pave the way for an enhanced post-Fukushima global nuclear safety framework.

The result, in the words of the Ministerial Declaration agreed by you on Monday, will be a strengthening of nuclear safety, emergency preparedness, and radiation protection of people and the environment worldwide.

I am grateful to all of you for your active participation and for the constructive spirit seen throughout the week's deliberations.

The Ministerial Declaration outlines a number of measures to improve nuclear safety and expresses the firm commitment of IAEA Member States to ensure that these measures are actually implemented.

Collectively, our Member States have expressed their sense of urgency, as well as their determination that the lessons of Fukushima Daiichi will be learned and that the appropriate action will be taken.

I am grateful to you, Mr. President, and to the Chairs of the three Working Groups, for steering the Conference to its constructive conclusions. I also thank the keynote speakers, panellists and all participants for their valuable contributions. We have seen differences of opinion in some areas, which is entirely natural, but I am struck by how much broad agreement there has been on the fundamentals.

I am particularly encouraged by the fact that the proposals I made in my opening statement on Monday enjoyed widespread support.

As you may recall, these were:

  • to strengthen IAEA Safety Standards;
  • to systematically review the safety of all nuclear power plants, including by expanding the IAEA's programme of expert peer reviews;
  • to enhance the effectiveness of national nuclear regulatory bodies and ensure their independence;
  • to strengthen the global emergency preparedness and response system; and
  • to expand the Agency's role in receiving and disseminating information.

Mr. President,

This is not about process - it is about results. The Declaration agreed here this week must be translated into action - and it will be. This will require hard work from all Member States, and from the IAEA, in the years ahead.

This week's deliberations will give me valuable guidance as I prepare the Action Plan on the way ahead, which will be submitted to the IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference in September. Important meetings on nuclear safety are already planned in the next 18 months.

The primary goal is to make nuclear power plants as safe as humanly possible, as quickly as possible. But it is also important to rebuild long-term public confidence in the safety of nuclear power. For that, tangible outcomes are needed, and we must maintain our sense of urgency. We must also be fully transparent.

I have been in touch with the Commission on Safety Standards to suggest that it begin reviewing IAEA standards on the basis of the views expressed by Member States this week. Likewise, I am inviting the INES Advisory Committee to consider ways of making the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale more effective as a communication and information tool.

We will also press ahead with detailed proposals in other areas for which we have direct responsibility, such as implementing an expanded programme of expert peer reviews.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to conclude by thanking you once again for making this Ministerial Conference a success, for your support for the work of the IAEA and for your guidance.

I am confident that, as a result of your work here this week, measurable and lasting improvements will be made in the safety of all nuclear power plants throughout the world.

Thank you.


Last update: 25 Nov 2019

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