IAEA Board of Governors
Statement by Mr Jarrod Powell, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA
Australian Statement: Nuclear and radiation safety
9 September 2019
Thank you, Chair.
Australia welcomes the Director General’s Nuclear and Radiation Safety report, and thanks Deputy Director General Lentijo for his introductory remarks.
The Agency’s efforts to maintain and strengthen nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, and emergency preparedness and response (EPR) capabilities are of high importance to Australia.
The Agency’s safety standards provide the basis for a rigorous nuclear safety framework. We thank the Commission on Safety Standards, the Safety Standards Committees and the Interface Group for their continuing efforts to ensure the Agency’s standards and guidance are well maintained. We note that with the publication of the Safety Requirement SSR-1, Site Evaluation for Nuclear Installations, we now have a complete set of Safety Requirements.
We also recognise the improvements made to the publication process, which have facilitated the publication of all draft safety standards endorsed by the CSS between April 2015 and June 2018. We trust that these improvements will ensure that the publication of future safety standards documents continues effectively and efficiently.
Australia is highly supportive of the close collaborative relationship between the Agency and other international nuclear and radiation safety organisations, including the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the World Association of Nuclear Operators, and the International Commission on Radiological Protection. We encourage the Agency to maintain these valuable engagements.
Australia is looking forward to the Eighth Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, to be held in March 2020. CNS Review Meetings provide Contracting Parties with opportunities to undergo expert peer review, fostering best practice nuclear safety around the world. We are honoured that Carl-Magnus Larsson, CEO of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, will serve as vice president of the Eighth Review Meeting, underscoring our commitment to nuclear safety.
Australia commends the efforts of the Agency in encouraging Member States to become Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. We are hopeful that the upcoming Fourth Extraordinary Meeting of Contracting Parties will generate improvements to the procedural mechanisms of the Joint Convention. Australia has made two such proposals aimed at developing and agreeing such improvements. We will continue to work closely with our fellow Contracting Parties to ensure these and other improvements can achieve consensus and lead to a more effective Joint Convention review process.
Australia acknowledges the importance of the Agency's peer review services in ensuring nuclear safety worldwide. In November 2018, Australia hosted the first International Regulatory Review Service mission to undertake a comprehensive multi-jurisdictional review, which incorporated the regulatory regimes in place in Australia’s six states and two territories, as well as at the federal level. This mission, which was the third IRRS mission to Australia, provided valuable observations and recommendations that will help us as we strive to maintain a nuclear and radiation safety regime commensurate with international best practice.
We thank the Secretariat for the comprehensive briefing on its work related to transportable nuclear power plants on 30 August 2019. The briefing was helpful in highlighting the progress being made towards and challenges involved in the deployment and regulation of these reactors. We look forward to working with the Agency to ensure that any gaps or deficiencies in the existing safety standards, as they relate to TNPPs, are addressed, and we encourage the Secretariat to keep Member States informed of progress and obstacles in this area.
Australia strongly supports the Agency’s work on civil liability for nuclear damage, and the work of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX). We welcome the detailed reporting on INLEX’s deliberations included in this year’s Nuclear and Radiation Safety report, and welcome the progress made by INLEX in clarifying the application of the liability conventions to TNPPs and cyber security incidents.
With these comments, the Australian delegation takes note of the Director General’s report on Nuclear and Radiation Safety.