IAEA Board of Governors
Statement by Dr Kath Smith, Alternate Resident Representative to the IAEA
Agenda Item 4: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety
10 September 2018
Thank you, Chair.
Australia welcomes the report of the Director General entitled, “Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety”. The work of the Agency in this field remains of high importance to Australia, and we thank DDG Lentijo for his introductory remarks.
The Agency's safety standards are a major part of a rigorous international nuclear safety framework for the application and use of nuclear energy and technology. Consequently, Australia encourages the continuing efforts of the Commission on Safety Standards, the five Safety Standards Committees and the Interface Group, and welcomes the two Safety Requirements and four Safety Guides that were issued during the reporting period.
Australia also welcomes the close collaborative relationship between the Agency and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and the Agency's involvement in the activities of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, and encourages the Agency to continue these valuable engagements.
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 (the Joint Convention). We also commend the Agency for its successful organisation of the Sixth Review Meeting of the Joint Convention, in Vienna, from 21 May to 1 June 2018. Australia was honoured to provide one of the two Vice Presidents for the meeting, and that we were recognised for four areas of “good performance”. We strongly supported the call for an Extraordinary Meeting to discuss Joint Convention processes, and were pleased to see that call gain consensus.
Australia strongly supports the Agency's role in promoting the safe management of radioactive waste. In this context, Australia is pleased to advise the Board that this year, we have issued a national policy for the full life cycle management of radioactive waste: the Australian Radioactive Waste Management Framework. This framework sets out principles and long-term goals for radioactive waste management in Australia. Within this context, the Australian Government is continuing its community consultations and the assessment of potential sites for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility for the disposal of low-level waste and for the storage of intermediate level waste. Additionally we have commenced construction of the first industrial-scale facility for the treatment of liquid intermediate level waste arising from the production of molybdenum-99. When this facility comes on line in 2020-21, it will further demonstrate the viability of Australia’s Synroc technology as a modern, stable, proliferation-resistant, and low-volume waste form.
Australia acknowledges the important role played by the Agency's peer review services in ensuring nuclear safety worldwide. We appreciate the ongoing work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these services. Australia is hosting an Integrated Regulatory Review Service ‘IRRS’ mission in November this year, with the participation of not only the Commonwealth regulator ARPANSA, but also regulators from each of our six states and two territories.
Australia supports the Agency's engagement with other relevant international organisations including the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, the World Association of Nuclear Operators, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the World Nuclear Association.
Australia notes that around the world there are many projects to construct, deploy and sell small and medium, or modular reactors (SMRs) and transportable (floating) nuclear power plants (TNPPs). Consequently, we are pleased to note that the Agency has been conducting work related to these types of reactors and look forward to coordinated briefings and reports on the outcomes of this work.
Australia is an active supporter of international initiatives to ensure the safety of research reactors. In December 2017, we hosted the 18th Conference of the International Group on Research Reactors and, in its margins, an Agency Workshop on the “Safety Reassessment of Research Reactors in Light of Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Daiichi Accident”. In February 2018, we hosted the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN) Regional Workshop on “Regulatory Inspection Programmes for Research Reactors”. We continue to be an active participant in the Regional Advisory Safety Committee for Research Reactors in Asia and the Pacific (RASCAP).
Australia endorses the Agency's ongoing work and activities on safety in uranium mining and processing, decommissioning and environmental remediation. In this context, we were pleased to make significant contributions to the development of the draft Safety Report entitled “Occupational Radiation Protection in Uranium Mining and Processing Industry” that was submitted for publication in February 2018.
Australia also is actively supportive of the Agency’s work on emergency preparedness and response (EPR). Australia hosted a regional workshop for Radiological Assessors in a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency in Melbourne from 20-24 August 2018.
Australia strongly supports the Agency’s work in the field of civil liability for nuclear damage, and the work of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX), which we continue to Chair. We welcome discussion in the Director General’s report this year of both the topics and outcomes of INLEX’s deliberations. We look forward to this practice continuing in future years.
With these comments, the Australian delegation takes note of the Director General’s report on “Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety”.
Thank you, Chair.