|The IAEA’s Department of Technical Cooperation and the Department of Nuclear Energy co-organized a side event on ‘Supporting New Nuclear Power Programmes in Developing Countries’ on 4 May 2012 for delegates of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) Conference for the 2015 Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The conference is taking place at the IAEA’s Headquarters in Vienna from 30 April – 11 May 2012.
The side event highlighted IAEA Member States’ opportunities under NPT Article IV to develop nuclear power programmes and covered recent developments in some national nuclear power programmes as well as international cooperation and partnerships.
Speakers during the side event included Ali Boussaha, Director for the Asia and the Pacific Division, Department of Technical Cooperation, who provided an overview of IAEA’s services and technical cooperation activities supporting newcomers to nuclear power, and Wolfram Tonhauser, Section Head at the Office of Legal Affairs, who focused on IAEA’s legislative assistance provided to Member States in the context of developing new nuclear power programmes. The session was moderated by Anne Starz, Head of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Group at the Department of Nuclear Energy.
Article IV of the NPT stipulates that all Parties to the NPT have an inalienable right to undertake research, and produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, without discrimination.
Increasing global demand for energy, as well as concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and security of energy supply have maintained high interest among many IAEA Member States in considering the inclusion of nuclear power to their energy mix.
While it is up to each country to decide whether or not to opt for nuclear power, the IAEA’s role is to ensure that the development of nuclear power programmes takes place in a safe, efficient, responsible and sustainable manner. In turn, Member States have the responsibility to fulfil their national and international undertakings and obligations through commitment and investment in time and resources to their nuclear power programme.
In his presentation, Ali Boussaha explained in detail how the IAEA assists newcomer countries in building nuclear power infrastructure through the TC programme and elaborated on the requirements that must be met for a project to be realised. “The IAEA recommends to Member States taking a comprehensive phased approach to building national nuclear infrastructure”, said Mr Boussaha. “This approach is documented in the IAEA Nuclear Energy Series publication “Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power”, he said.
The IAEA supports newcomers to nuclear power in a whole range of fields, including energy planning, legal issues, capacity building and human resources development, safety and security, environmental monitoring, waste, transportation, emergency response and decommissioning, and provides advisory and review services to help in assessing progress in national nuclear infrastructure development programmes.
The side event was concluded with a Q & A session, where the audience raised questions and engaged in a discussion with the panellists principally focusing on legal aspects of nuclear power infrastructure and the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme.