Topnews, Statements

04. März 2019

STATEMENT BY MS MONÉ DYE, COUNSELLOR,  REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 04 MARCH 2019, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

AGENDA ITEM 2: (A) AND (B)

STRENGTHENING THE AGENCY’S ACTIVITIES RELATED TO NUCLEAR, RADIATION, TRANSPORT AND WASTE SAFETY

Madam Chairperson,

South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered by the African Group, and the Group of 77 and China.

From the outset, let me reiterate that South Africa attaches great importance to Nuclear Safety and Security, and remains committed to continue implementing the highest safety and security standards at all of our nuclear facilities.

Madam Chairperson,

We are pleased to note that the Agency is responding to the high demand from Member States for support and advisory services from the Agency in developing safety standards and techniques. We also welcome the numerous meetings and training events aimed at strengthening Member States’ capacity related to nuclear safety during the period under review.  South Africa has in itself participated in various scientific visits and fellowships to strengthen its own regulatory framework, under the auspices of South Africa’s 2016 Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) recommendations.  

It should also be noted that in addition to updating its Self-Assessment Action Plan, my country is also developing, reviewing and implementing internal processes and procedures of new draft regulations and guidance documents.

South Africa participated in the IAEA Expert Missions on the Improvement of Public Communication Programmes and the review of our regulator’s Ageing Management and Long Term Operation (LTO) guidelines. With regard to the latter, the Agency has supported South Africa to develop a Long Term Operation plan for the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, which will be 40 years of age in 2024.  Accordingly, the LTO programme for Koeberg, includes IAEA SALTO Missions and it should be noted that the first Koeberg Pre-SALTO Mission was conducted in September 2018 with the next one scheduled for September 2019

Furthermore, the South African National Nuclear Regulator participated in the Agency workshop held in Luxembourg wherein there was an exchange of information, sharing of experiences and lessons learned on self-assessment and logistical planning for IRRS Missions.

Madam Chairperson,

Even though nuclear safety is primarily a national responsibility, South Africa, as a Contracting Party strongly supports the Agency’s efforts in promoting international legal instruments such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS).  We therefore welcome the growth in the number of Contracting Parties from 85 to 87 by December 2018.

My country also supports the full implementation and universalization of the Joint Convention of the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.  We are therefore pleased to note that the review meeting of the Joint Convention held from May to June 2018 here in Vienna, was attended by an unprecedented, 850 delegates from 69 Contracting Parties.  Eight of these Contracting Parties, participated in a review meeting for the first time. In an effort to implement these legal instruments, South African experts also participated in the October 2018 Nuclear Safety Organisational Meeting that sought to provide feedback on the Peer Review mechanism of the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety.

As a major producer and exporter of radioactive sources, South Africa endorsed the multilateral Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and its associated Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources. The Code of Conduct ensures that radioactive sources are used within an appropriate framework of radiation safety and security. The guidelines given in the Code should also assist in the development of national strategies for regaining long-term control over radioactive sources.

Madam Chairperson,

My delegation notes that there is a global increase in the use of sealed radioactive sources in medicine, industry, agriculture and research. This has resulted in increased demand for the development of appropriate arrangements for the management of sources that are no longer in use.  Consequently, numerous Member States have requested the Agency’s support in developing and implementing plans for the disposal of radioactive waste. South Africa therefore welcomes the initiation of the Agency’s regional and international projects on the “cradle-to-grave” control of sealed radioactive sources, with a specific focus on the management of sources at the end of their life.  My delegation also takes note of the Agency’s assistance to Member States that are actively pursuing borehole disposal as an option for disused sealed radioactive sources. South Africa through our Nuclear Energy Corporation has highly specialised skills in this disposal technology as well as in Mobile Hot Cell technology.  In collaboration with the IAEA, South Africa has been able to provide valuable technical assistance and expertise in this area and we look forward to expanding our role in this important area.

Madam Chairperson,

With regard to item 2 (b) on the: “Draft Safety Requirements: Site Evaluation for Nuclear Installations; Revision of IAEA Safety Standards Series”, South Africa acknowledges that Agency publications such as this are an important instrument in assisting Member States to identify natural and human induced external hazards that could affect the safety of nuclear installations. South Africa also agrees that these requirements assist Member States to ensure the safety of people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Thus, my delegation supports the Director General’s intention to promulgate these Safety Requirements and to issue them as a publication in the IAEA Safety Standard Series.

Madam Chairperson,

In conclusion, let me reiterate that South Africa will continue to make effective use of all Agency training programmes and mechanisms for capacity building in all relevant nuclear fields, as part of our deep commitment to the safe and secure use of nuclear energy and technology.

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of document GOV/2019/3.

I thank you.

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