IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Statement by Mr Jarrod Powell, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Agenda item 2 – Nuclear Safety Review 2019
4 March 2019
Thank you, Chair.
Australia thanks Deputy Director General Lentijo for his introductory remarks, and the Secretariat for the briefing it provided to Member States on 11 February. We welcome the opportunity to comment on the Director General’s report Nuclear Safety Review 2019 (GOV/2019/3)
Australia also welcomes the draft Safety Requirements: Site Evaluation for Nuclear Installations, Revision of IAEA Safety Standards Series Number NS-R-3 (Revision 1), as provided in document GOV/2019/2. We actively participated in the development of the revised requirements and are satisfied with the outcome.
Australia supports the strengthening of the Agency’s peer review and advisory services. In 2018, we hosted our second full-scope Integrated Regulatory Review Service mission. This was the largest multi-jurisdictional IRRS mission ever undertaken by the Agency, having included the participation of all Australian States and Territories, which have responsibility for the regulation of the use of radioactive sources in Australian industry, healthcare and education. Australia received four notes of good practice from the IRRS mission, highlighting our commitment to best practice nuclear safety and radiation protection regulation.
We welcome the recommendations and suggestions, and will work towards implementation ahead of a follow-up mission in three years’ time.
Australia welcomes the recognition within the Nuclear Safety Review 2019 of the increasing interest of Member States in small and medium sized or modular reactors, including transportable nuclear power plants. We note the Agency’s ongoing work to understand and address key nuclear safety and other matters associated with the development and deployment of SMRs and TNPPs.
As we have said in previous meetings of the Board, Australia attaches importance to the Agency’s work in the preparation of a strategic approach regarding transportable reactors and welcomes interaction between the IAEA and the International Maritime Organisation to define roles and responsibilities.
We also welcome the commitment of the Secretariat to providing a comprehensive briefing on its work related to TNPPs in the near future.
Australia has had an active and successful research reactor program for over 60 years. The reliability and predictable performance of the OPAL research reactor, which operates safely for more than 300 days each year, will allow Australia to reliably meet up to 25 per cent of the global need for molybdenum-99 once Australia’s new nuclear medicine processing facility enters full operations this year.
Australia conducts periodic safety and security reviews of its research reactor and nuclear medicine and waste management facilities, to ensure compliance with international best practice. We strongly encourage other Member States to adopt this practice.
Over the last twelve months, Australian experts participated in several meetings relevant to research reactor safety, including:
- a Training Workshop on Online Monitoring, Non-destructive Examination and In-service Inspection of Research Reactors in June 2018.
- a Technical Working Group Meeting on Research Reactors in September 2018;
- the Annual Meeting of the Regional Advisory Safety Committee for Research Reactors in Asia and the Pacific in October 2018; and
- an expert mission for Operation and Maintenance Assessment for Research Reactors in November 2018.
Our delegation welcomes the reporting on the valuable contributions of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability, INLEX, to the establishment and strengthening of a global nuclear liability regime. We note the sound conclusions reached by INLEX on complex nuclear liability issues, including on transportable nuclear power plants, and support the Agency’s priorities and activities related to INLEX, which are noted in paragraph 309 of the Nuclear Safety Review.
We note with anticipation that preparations have commenced for the Eighth Review Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. Australia is honoured to be taking a leadership role at this meeting, with Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, CEO of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency elected Vice President.
We place great priority on the success of this important meeting, and look forward to working constructively and collaboratively with the other Contracting Parties to the CNS to further strengthen international approaches to nuclear safety.
With these comments, Australia takes note of document (GOV/2019/3).