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04. März 2015


Agenda Item 3: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety (a) Nuclear Safety Review 2015


South Africa associates itself with the statement made by H.E. Ambassador Andereya, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and by H E Ambassador Ayoko on behalf of the African Group and would like to highlight the following issues in our national capacity.

We thank the Director General for his introductory statement, as well as Deputy Director-General Denis Flory for the technical briefing to Member States on 17 February 2015.

This year South Africa marks an important milestone in the history of its nuclear industry. Our research reactor, Safari-1 will on 18 March celebrate its 50th anniversary.  Indeed we are proud of this strategic asset, especially its proud record of safe operational history despite its age. We thank the Agency for its guidance and support in the management of the aging reactors, including our own.

As we may all be aware, this reactor, Safari-1 has positioned South Africa as the leading supplier of critical radioactive isotopes to the global radio-pharmaceutical Industry. One of the many radioisotopes products supplied by South Africa is the Molybdenum-99 which we export to over 60 countries.In conjunction with other partners, South Africa has played a leading role in ensuring continuous supply of this critical radioisotope particularly during recentoutagesin other Molybdenum producing countries.

As for life after 50, we have negotiated an extension of its lifetime for another 10 years with the South African Independent National Nuclear Regulator, after which it is envisaged that the reactor will be replaced as part of our nuclear build.

Madame Chairperson,

My delegation attaches great importance to nuclear safety and supports the Agency’s continued efforts in strengthening activities, programmes and action plans related to nuclear, radiation, transport safety and waste management. In this context South Africanotes with satisfaction the Agency’s observation in the Nuclear Safety Review 2015, that throughout the year 2014, there was steady progress in improving nuclear safety in the world and that the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Safety progressed well.

The Diplomatic Conference of Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety which took place in Vienna on 09 February this year, to consider the proposal by Switzerland  to amend the Convention on Nuclear Safety, significantly heightened the international communities’ attention to nuclear safety through the Vienna Declaration. Contracting Parties have recommitted to effectively implement the commitments in the CNS. We thank Ambassador Grossi of Argentina who successfully steered the Diplomatic Conference to a successful conclusion.

My delegation welcomes the progress made in 2014 in the assessment of safety vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants, strengthening Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) capabilities, the strengthening of capacity building, and of reviewing the Agency's safety standards.

After the Fukushima accident,safety re-assessments were carried out on nuclear installations worldwide. South Africa also conducted safety re-assessments of its nuclear installations, which confirmed the fundamental safety and integrity of the installations.   In February 2014 an EPREV mission was conducted in South Africa to review, and provide recommendations for further improvement of our preparedness and response capabilities for nuclear emergencies.Safety reassessments revealed no major shortcomings in the safety of the Koeberg nuclear power plant and the Safari research reactor, including additional studies beyond the current design basis.  A limited scope Safety Aspects of Long Term Operation(SALTO) peer review mission has been conducted in South Africa and South Africa has initiated the process for a full SALTO mission in 2016.  South Africa continues to engage internationally on lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and looks forward to the release of the Agency’s final report on the accident, in which South African experts participated.

Madame chairperson,

As is the case in many other countries, nuclear energy is an important part of South Africa’s energy mix and my Government is currently exploring the procurement of the 9 600 megawatts nuclear build programme as approved in the Integrated Resource Plan 2010-2030. Our target is to connect the first unit to the grid by 2023. 

South Africa notes with special appreciation the Agency’s activities aimed at supporting nuclear safety infrastructure development in Member States introducing nuclear power or expanding their existing programmes.   South Africa continues to avail itself of the Agency’s expertise in this regard.   In preparation of our nuclear build an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission has been conducted and the recommendations of the report are being implemented. 

Madame chairperson,

South Africa continues to participate and contribute actively to the implementation of the Agency’s interregional TC project on “cradle-to-grave” control of radioactive sources.  In 2014 South Africa hosted an IAEA a hands-on training course for the conditioning of high activity Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources using the Mobile Hot Cell which was developed by South Africa and the Agency.  The Mobile Hot Cell (MHC) is designed specifically for the handling and conditioning of disused high activity sealed radioactive sources and is used worldwide in countries without the required infrastructure to handle these high activity sources. 

Furthermore South Africa is working with the Agency on a project to integrate its Mobile Hot Cell with our Borehole Disposal Concept (BDC), which aims to provide a solution for the disposal of all categories of Disused Sealed Radioactive Sources.  It is expected that the project will be completed with a concept demonstration by the end of 2015. 

South African experts also developed Safety Cases and Safety Assessments for Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. The purpose of the project was to develop Safety Cases for the respective countries for managing their Disused Sealed Source inventories.  

With these remarks, my delegation takes note of the Nuclear Safety Review 2015, as contained in document GOV/2015/9.  My delegation also takes note of the revised Safety Requirements; and agrees to the establishment of these Safety Standards, in accordance with Article III.A.6 of the Statute, as Agency safety standards, and authorizes the Director General to promulgate these Safety Requirements, and to issue them as Safety Requirements publications in the IAEA Safety Standards Series.

Thank you.



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