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Joint statement: Seventh review meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management

Vienna, 27 June – 8 July 2022

We thank the Presidency and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for hosting the Seventh Review Meeting of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (Joint Convention) and recognize the hard work of the meeting officers, staff, and Contracting Parties in endeavouring to support a successful Review Meeting. We acknowledge that Contracting Parties made excellent progress in addressing some objectives of the Joint Convention such as completing productive peer review, reporting successes and challenges in managing spent fuel and radioactive waste, making some improvements to the Joint Convention process, and preparing for the next Review Meeting.

Unfortunately, the Summary Report for the Seventh Review Meeting does not accurately reflect some important discussions that occurred, due to the refusal of the Russian Federation and certain other Contracting Parties to permit a proper record of the candid discussions regarding the nuclear safety implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A number of the Contracting Parties recognized that Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine - which is a violation of international law and has involved military assaults impacting civilian nuclear power plants and spent fuel and radioactive waste facilities - constitutes a blatant disregard for international nuclear safety as well as the objectives of the Joint Convention. In particular, these actions by the Russian Federation have caused or threatened to cause damage to radioactive waste management facilities and spent fuel management facilities, undermined the ability to maintain safe operations, interrupted communications with facilities, compromised regulatory oversight and control, and in doing so, have endangered the population of Ukraine, its neighbouring countries and the international community. While Ukraine has kept up emergency preparedness and regulatory supervisory activities under exceptionally difficult circumstances, the continuation of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine presents a clear and present danger to Ukraine’s ongoing ability to meet its obligations under the Joint Convention and significantly increases the risk of an accident or incident involving spent fuel or radioactive waste.

We take this opportunity to recognise and commend the Ukrainian nuclear safety personnel who continue to work tirelessly to ensure the protection of both people and the environment and maintain the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and its spent fuel and radioactive waste management facilities. We reiterate our continued strong support for the IAEA’s efforts to ensure the ongoing safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, while fully respecting Ukrainian sovereignty over its territory and infrastructure. We encourage the IAEA to continue this critical work.

We regret the refusal of the Russian Federation to join consensus on an accurate account of these discussions in the Summary Report, despite numerous Contracting Parties expressing their views and concerns on the extraordinary situation in Ukraine. We therefore issue this Joint Statement to clarify the discussions that took place during the Seventh Review Meeting of the Joint Convention. We continue to champion international efforts to maintain the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management under the Joint Convention and express our shared commitment to do what we can to help Ukraine and the IAEA in this regard.

This statement is issued on behalf of:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Korea
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

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