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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 19, October 1997

Joint Nuclear Safety Convention: Initial Signatories

'Joint Convention on safety of spent fuel, radioactive waste management opens for signature in Vienna 10 October 1997,' IAEA Press Release, IAEA/1318, 10 October1997

Full text

"The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, the first legal instrument to directly address those issues on a global scale, was opened for signature on 29 September, the first day of the forty-first regular session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). As of one week following the opening for signature, on 6 October, 23 States had signed the Joint Convention.

Those States are: Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Morocco, Norway, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

The Joint Convention applies to spent fuel and radioactive waste resulting from civilian nuclear reactors and applications and to spent fuel and radioactive waste from military or defence programmes if and when such materials are transferred permanently to and managed within exclusively civilian programmes, or when declared as spent fuel or radioactive waste for the purpose of the Convention by the contracting party. The Convention also applies to planned and controlled releases into the environment of liquid or gaseous radioactive materials from regulated nuclear facilities.

The obligations of the contracting parties with respect to the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management are based to a large extent on the principles contained in the IAEA safety fundamentals document 'The Principles of Radioactive Waste Management'. They include, in particular, the obligation to establish and maintain a legislative and regulatory framework to govern the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management and the obligation to ensure that individuals, society and the environment are adequately protected against radiological and other hazards, among other measures, by appropriate siting, design and construction of facilities and by making provisions for ensuring the safety to facilities both during their operation and after their closure.

The Convention imposes obligations on contracting parties in relation to the transboundary movement of spent fuel and radioactive waste based on the concepts contained in the IAEA Code of Practice on the International Transboundary Movement of Radioactive Waste. Also, contracting parties have the obligation to take appropriate steps to ensure that disused sealed sources are managed safely.

The Convention will enter into force on the ninetieth day after the twenty-fifth instrument of ratification is deposited with the IAEA, including the instruments of 15 States that each have an operational nuclear power plant."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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