Statement at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting on the Nuclear Safety Review 2020





DELIVERED BY: Ambassador Küntzle


Board of Governors

Vienna, March 2020

AGENDA ITEM 3: Nuclear Safety Review 2020

- as delivered –

Madam Chair,

1. Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by Croatia on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Please allow me to add some additional remarks in my national capacity.

2. First of all, I would like to thank the Director General for including Nuclear safety among his priorities.

3. As is well known, Germany is phasing-out nuclear power generation, thus we are and will be all the more active in the fields of decommissioning and waste management for many years to come – and in cooperating with the IAEA to that effect. Likewise Germany will continue to play an active role in the continuous development and improvement of nuclear safety and security. Germany will also continue to support the IAEA strongly in ensuring that nuclear technologies are used safely and securely.

4. The large number of decommissioning projects running simultaneously for nuclear power plants in Germany is quite unique in the world. I won’t deny that this is a major challenge for all involved: especially the operators, specialist service providers, and the licensing and supervisory authorities of the facilities to be decommissioned. Expertise, competence and technical know- how in this field is in fact needed while priorities shift towards decommissioning, pre-disposal waste management and disposal. We will continue to adhere to the high standards for nuclear safety and radiation protection and we will share them with our partners in Member States.

5. Germany is currently working on a concept to preserve and develop expertise and personnel in the field of nuclear safety. We want to maintain and develop the competence needed for the tasks of radioactive waste management, interim storage and final disposal as well as for the independent assessment and improvement of the safety of nuclear facilities in the operation and decommissioning phase, both in our country and by making this competence available to other interested Member States.

6. We congratulate the IAEA to the great success of the ICONS 2020. For Germany, nuclear security remains an indispensable prerequisite for effective nuclear non-proliferation and the effective suppression of nuclear terrorism. Therefore we strongly support all efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to improve sustainable global nuclear security.

Madam Chair,

7. The Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management are key international instruments in strengthening and expanding international nuclear safety cooperation. We therefore welcome that the number of Contracting Parties to both conventions continued to grow since their last review cycles and encourage other Member States to contract to both conventions. Germany reaffirms its full support in conducting the upcoming 8th Review meeting of the CNS Contracting Parties.

8. Recent experiences by conducting combined or back-to-back IRRS and ARTEMIS missions provided valuable lessons for their further improvement. We understand that this type of missions presented some organisational challenges; therefore, we welcome that the IAEA has carried out a preliminary analysis of experience feedback gained and identified ways to increase the efficiency of implementation of such combined missions. We encourage the Agency to also use this  preliminary analysis to improve the IRRS-ARTEMIS missions conducted back to back in order to reduce the burden of preparing and conducting such missions as well as current overlaps. By improving the IAEA Service Missions for Member States we also encourage the Agency to take into account the present initiative of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group.

Madam Chair,

9. Finally I would raise a technical issue covered in the report which is currently discussed by Member States. The IAEA does mention that dozens of small modular reactors (SMR) concepts are under development. However, to date none has reached the stage of commercial operation. As yet, it is still a matter of speculation whether and to what extent SMRs will play a role in the international arena. Germany is observing the international developments in the field of SMR and will carefully examine the special challenges of this new technique, above all the aspect of safety and security.

Thank you Madam Chair.


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