IAEA celebrates 20 years of waste safety convention

21 September 2017

Member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have celebrated the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Joint Convention on Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Safety. The convention has contributed to a significant level of safety in the management of used fuel and radioactive waste, said IAEA deputy director general Juan Carlos Lentijo.

An event to celebrate the adoption of the convention was held on 18 September during the 61st IAEA General Conference being held in Vienna this week. The convention was adopted in September 1997 and entered into force in June 2001. It currently has 75 contracting parties, with the treaty also set to enter into force in Cuba next month.

The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management is the only legally binding international instrument to address on a global scale the safety of used fuel and radioactive waste management. It aims to achieve and maintain a high level of safety worldwide in used fuel and radioactive waste management through ensuring the availability of effective defences against potential hazards, preventing radiological accidents and mitigating their consequences should they occur.

Through a peer review process that takes place every three years, contracting parties exchange national reports on how they meet their obligations under the convention and discuss continuous improvement to the peer review process.

Lentijo, who is also head of the IAEA's department of nuclear safety and security, said: "The convention has contributed to a higher level of safety worldwide in the management of radioactive waste and spent fuel, and it will continue to do so in the future. This is what we celebrate today."

During the event, representatives from Canada, Cuba, Finland, Ghana and Japan shared their experiences, highlighting the role of the convention as a global instrument for safely managing radioactive waste.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News