Opening remarks by Ramzi Jammal at the Convention on Nuclear Safety Officers’ Turnover Meeting at IAEA Headquarters

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Vienna, Austria

Ramzi Jammal at the Convention on Nuclear Safety Officers' Turnover Meeting, March 1, 2016

It is an honour to have been elected as President of the 7th Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety. With the assistance of the two Vice-Presidents, Mr. Georg Schwarz and Mr. Geoffrey Emi-Reynolds, I want to make the 7th Review Meeting a successful one, and this meeting is the beginning of this process. As I indicated to all Contracting Parties in my guidance letter, I want to demonstrate to the world the effectiveness of the CNS in maintaining and improving global nuclear safety.

I would like to thank my predecessor, M. André-Claude Lacoste, for the work he did at the 6th Review Meeting and in preparation for this next meeting. Many excellent changes to the guidance documents and additional recommendations have come out of the 6th Review Meeting.

I would also like to thank Miro Svab and the IAEA Secretariat staff for their efforts in coordinating this turnover meeting as well as the upcoming review meeting. I welcome all new and returning officers (as well as any national points of contact) to this turnover meeting and training session that will take place over the next few days. The role you will play at the 7th Review Meeting will be essential to the success of the meeting. I ask that you learn from those with experience and that you engage in this process.

As President of the 7th Review Meeting, I am committed to:

  • supporting effective regulatory frameworks and key review processes that achieve tangible improvements in nuclear safety
  • assisting countries with writing national reports by providing training or assistance as requested
  • following up at the appropriate national level with Contracting Parties who do not meet their CNS obligations and who do not fully participate in the CNS process

I would like to share with you my objectives for the 7th Review Meeting:

  • successful peer reviews for all Contracting Parties
  • meaningful, focused discussions on nuclear safety
  • highest attendance and participation by Contracting Parties
  • full transparency of the CNS process (while bearing in mind the provisions of article 27)
  • highlighting of deficiencies and strengths in national programs

I ask that you keep these objectives in mind as you move through the process.

I have sent a letter to all national contacts with guidance to assist them in writing the reports and to encourage the development of good quality reports. This letter included references to:

  • existing national report guideline
  • the Vienna Declaration
  • Fukushima lessons learned and addressing the observations and lessons in the IAEA Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
  • peer review missions and associated action plans
  • the five challenges identified by the Special Rapporteur at the 6th Review Meeting
  • the importance of reporting on used fuel and waste management in article 19 (viii)
  • the use of templates for reporting on articles 17 and 18
  • publicly posting national reports and associated questions and comments
  • the offer of assistance in drafting national reports to those who request it

I have taken time to meet with some diplomatic representatives in Canada to encourage the full participation of countries in the CNS process. These meetings indicated a willingness at the diplomatic level to meet their obligations. I intend to meet with permanent representatives of these same countries here in Vienna to promote the importance of participation at the CNS Review Meeting.

My intent is also to reach out, at the national level, to those countries not meeting their obligations in an effort to increase the participation at the upcoming and future review meetings.

I ask the officers of the 7th Review Meeting, as well as national points of contact, to support me in this important work. I don’t want to do this alone.

I would like to encourage those countries that are signatories but have not ratified the CNS to ratify and actively participate in the CNS process. As President of the 7th Review Meeting, I would also like to encourage any nuclear countries that are not signatories to sign on to the CNS and to fully participate in the CNS process.

I understand that the introduction of “country review reports” has raised some concerns with certain Contracting Parties. We will hear more about this later in the day from Mr. Schwarz. Like any new process, there will be room to learn and further refine the process over time. While it will be the responsibility of the rapporteurs to write these reports, input should be provided by the chairs, vice-chairs and coordinators. While the intent is that the report will be drafted before the meeting, it is important to note that changes will be made following discussion in the country group. This country review report will also provide an opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of the national report as well as to acknowledge a country’s major achievements (those that do not necessarily meet the definition of a good practice). A template for the country review reports would assist with ensuring consistency, and as such, an officers’ meeting will be arranged in the fall of 2016 to complete this task. It is my view that the introduction of the country review report is a positive step because it is more transparent and collaborative than the Rapporteurs’ working document, which it replaces.

With regard to good practices, I propose to call on the General Committee to review the proposed good practices from the country review reports before each day’s review sessions to offer their views on which should or could be adopted by the country groups. However, this is not intended to pre-empt or override the discussions and conclusions of the peer reviewers at the country group review sessions.

With the new obligations related to reporting on the incorporation of technical criteria and standards used by Contracting Parties for addressing the three principles of the Vienna Declaration in national requirements and regulations, I will be naming a Special Rapporteur to coordinate the peer review of this topic. A procedure will be developed for this peer review, as well guidance for Contracting Parties with regard to what to include in their presentations. I challenge all of the CNS officers to participate in the development of this guidance.

To conclude, I wish you a successful turnover meeting and training session over the next few days.