Statement of the President at the Seventh Review Meeting of the CNS

Ramzi Jammal
As you have likely noticed, based on my numerous communications over the last months, my primary objectives leading up to this Seventh Review Meeting have been increased participation and transparency. I am hopeful that these efforts will advance global nuclear safety and demonstrate to the international community the commitment of Contracting Parties to worldwide nuclear safety.

Our demonstration of this commitment culminates at this review meeting – the work of so many comes together for two weeks of peer review, open and frank discussions about each other’s programs, working group discussions on any number of topics, plenary sessions, and report writing.

I would like to begin by thanking IAEA staff. They have been instrumental in the planning of this review meeting and will continue to provide support over the next two weeks. Without their facilitation, a meeting on such a scale would not be possible.

The Country Group Officers have been preparing for the Country Group sessions since the organizational meeting one and a half years ago. Their commitment to ensuring that the Country Group sessions run smoothly will continue over the course of the meeting as peer review gets underway and reports are prepared.

The two Vice-Presidents have been actively involved in all preparations for this two-week meeting. They will continue to play an active role in the plenary sessions with Mr. Schwarz conducting the sessions for the Open Ended Working Group and Mr. Emi-Reynolds placing focus on our new/embarking countries and on those countries that do not have nuclear power plants.

To all Contracting Parties, your work up to now has been outstanding. As I mentioned earlier, only one Contracting Party failed to submit its national report. We have 76 Contracting Parties that are planning to attend the peer review sessions. As President, I committed to ensuring increased and active engagement, and our witnessing this new level of participation together signals a true achievement for the Seventh Review Meeting of the CNS. Your work, however, will continue over the next two weeks.

You will need to present an informative report to your Country Group. While some of the national reports shared very little, your national presentation provides another opportunity to demonstrate to other Contracting Parties what your country has been doing.

You must actively participate in your Country Group sessions by responding to questions and by asking questions to other members of your group. At minimum, I ask that you attend and participate in all presentations by the members of your own Country Group.

You will be asked to actively participate in OEWG discussions that may lead to an improved peer review process and to attend the plenary sessions in the second week, during which larger issues will be discussed.

Your active participation in the entire peer review process is the only way to achieve our goal of global nuclear safety.

For the first time, with the goal of transparency in mind, all national reports will be posted on the CNS public website 90 days after the review meeting, unless a request to not do so is received. Our commitment to transparency can be demonstrated by each Contracting Party proactively posting their national report, as well as their questions and answers report, on the public CNS website.

Additional transparency is achieved by inviting the media to the opening and closing plenaries. A press conference will also be held at the end of the meeting to share key findings. These sessions will also be webcast to the public. This is the first time that any part of the review meeting will be webcast, increasing accessibility to those who otherwise may not be able to attend. I want to thank all the Contracting Parties for agreeing to allow the webcast to proceed.

And of course, sharing these sessions with other Member States that have not yet ratified the Convention will further our goal.

As President, I have specific objectives for the Seventh Review Meeting:

  • First and foremost, full participation by all Contracting Parties in the discussions within the Country Groups; ideas must be exchanged between Contracting Parties with NPP programs, embarking Contracting Parties and Contracting Parties without an NPP program.
  • Contracting Parties need to be clear on improvements made, especially over the last three years.
  • “Areas of good performance” are to be recognized and truly unique “good practices” clearly identified and shared.
  • Lastly, recognition of the areas that require improvement or additional focus, both at the individual Contracting Party level and collectively; specifically, we expect that challenges and planned measures to improve nuclear safety will be clearly identified for follow-up at future review meetings.

Since the 6th Review Meeting, the IAEA Director General’s Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident has been released. This review meeting will provide the opportunity to discuss actions taken to address this critical document, as well as challenges identified by the Special Rapporteur in relation to the Fukushima Daiichi accident from the Sixth Review Meeting of the CNS.

Also in the time since the Sixth Review Meeting of the CNS, a diplomatic conference was held during which the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety was adopted. The declaration includes three principles to guide Contracting Parties in implementing the objectives of the CNS. The declaration specifically states that the Seventh Review Meeting of the CNS will address the incorporation of appropriate technical criteria and standards used by Contracting Parties for addressing these principles in national requirements and regulations. I encourage all Contracting Parties to have these discussions within your Country Groups and to attend the special session in the plenary next week.

Focusing on continuous improvement and learning from each other is essential to avoiding complacency. We must use this peer review process to ensure that complacency is not accepted. Our path must be based on continuous safety enhancements and efficiencies. The next two weeks offer us the opportunity to renew and refocus our collective commitment to global nuclear safety.

By renewing our commitment every three years, we are building and maintaining public trust and ensuring that today’s and future generations are protected.

I wish you all a successful and productive review meeting and look forward to talking with you throughout the next couple of weeks.

Thank you!