IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
Agenda Item 4: Nuclear and Radiation Safety
12 September 2022
I thank Deputy Director General Evrard for her introductory remarks, and welcome the Director General’s Nuclear and Radiation Safety Report for 2022.
Australia remains committed to the safety of nuclear facilities and of activities involving the use of radioactive material. It is gratifying to see so much good work captured under this report.
Australia underscores the importance of all the safety conventions. After delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia welcomed the Fourth Extraordinary Meeting and Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Joint Convention that occurred earlier this year.
The Joint Convention continues to be an important mechanism by which we can ensure all countries achieve and maintain a consistently high level of safety in the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, thereby ensuring the protection of people and the environment. We are pleased with the agency’s continued activities in encouraging Member States to become Contracting Parties and in facilitating workshops to ensure that Member States can fully participate in the review process.
Australia welcomes the report’s update on the range of capacity building activities which are critical to ensure that every country can improve their approach to nuclear and radiation safety. In this regard, Australia is proud to be supporting these efforts by hosting an Educational Workshop on Regulatory Challenges in Small Modular Reactors later this year. The workshop will enhance the knowledge of regulatory bodies on relevant challenges, as identified by the Small Modular Reactor Regulators' Forum, and inform them of any necessary changes needed to their regulatory requirements and practices.
Australia commends the valuable leadership role of the Agency regarding standards for radiation safety relating to food and water and recognises these activities as a foremost objective of radiation safety. We thank the Agency for its coordination of important meetings in September 2021 and March 2022 on Radionuclides in Food and Drinking Water in Non-Emergency Situations.
Russia’s ongoing occupation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant remains a grave nuclear safety threat. Australia is concerned about damage to the external power supply to the complex as well as continued reports of conflict and military operations near the facility. We call for Russia to immediately withdraw its forces and all other unauthorised personnel from the plant, restoring its control to Ukrainian authorities, and ensuring no further compromise of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security outlined by the Director General to this Board.
With these comments, Australia notes the Director General’s Nuclear and Radiation Safety Report for 2022.