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Topnews, Statements

02. März 2021

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY AMBASSADOR RAPULANE MOLEKANE, RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE/GOVERNOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, AT THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS, 02 MARCH 2021, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Agenda Item 4: Nuclear Safety Review 2021

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.

We thank the Director General for the review before us, and we wish to thank the Secretariat for the new format, which is indeed more user-friendly.  More importantly, the report did not sacrifice quality or quantity, which we welcome.

South Africa also fully supports the priorities and objectives outlined by the Agency under the various sections of the report and we would like to assure the Secretariat of our full support in the implementation of these. Our National Nuclear Regulator and its Centre for Nuclear Safety and Security (CNSS) is available to support the IAEA in its planned activities in the implementaiton of these objectives.

Madam Chairperson,

As others before me, we wish to express our appreciation to the Agency for the support it has provided to Member States in the area of nuclear and radiation safety during this past year despite the limitations and challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Even though nuclear safety is primarily a national responsibility, South Africa, as a Contracting Party strongly supports the Agency’s efforts in promoting the universalisation of the various international legal instruments in this important area, namely the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and the Joint Convention of the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and we fully support the universalisation of both instruments. 

Furthermore, 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.

Regarding the Code of Conduct on the Safety of Research Reactors, we wish to reiterate our support for this important voluntary instrument as can be seen in our operation of our Research Reactor, SAFARI-1 which is a highly used reactor and central to our nuclear programme.

We also look forward to working with the Agency and Member States as the world moves forward in the development and operationalisation of Small Modular Reactors.  In this regard, South Africa, is well prepared and has good infrastructure and technical capacity in this area due to our development of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) and we have been sharing our experiences and knowledge through our active participation in the Small Modular Reactors Regulators Forum.

A crucial area for all is the strengthening of Emergency and Response Preparedness (EPR) and we note with satisfaction the continued work of the Agency in this regard as well as its priorities moving forward, including the continued implementation and and active exercise programme at the international level to test EPR and in support of national EPR exercise programmes.

In this regard we are pleased to announce that South Africa’s National Nuclear Regulator’s Regulatory Emergency Response Centre (RERC) has been upgraded to improve the capabilities of the Centre related to radiation monitoring instrumentation, online monitoring system, plant data transfer, display system, communication system and emergency procedures.

In conclusion, South Africa wishes to thank the IAEA for the completion of the work related to the incorporation of the lessons learned from the he Fukushima-Daiichi accident it is essential that we maximise the lessons learned from that tragic event, and with that in mind, we look forward with interest to the forthcoming International Conference on on a Decade of Progress after Fukushima-Daiichi: Building on the Lessons Learned to Further Strengthen Nuclear Safety, scheduled to take place in November this year. South Africa will actively participate in this important event.

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of document  GOV/2021/3

I thank you.

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