The European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to strengthen their cooperation in a range of nuclear activities, including nuclear science applications, during a meeting in Brussels this week.
The fifth annual senior officials meeting was held at the headquarters of the European Commission (EC) on 15 February. The meeting was co-chaired by Cornel Feruta, IAEA chief coordinator and Marco Giacomini, EC deputy managing director for human rights, global and multilateral issues.
The meeting provided a forum to exchange views on enhancing collaboration in nuclear safety, security, safeguards, sustainable development, nuclear energy research and innovation, and nuclear science applications. Discussions were also held on mechanisms to strengthen regional cooperation, including for the environmental remediation of uranium legacy sites in Central Asia.
In a joint statement, the EC and IAEA said nuclear safety "is a key priority that will remain at the centre of cooperation" between them.
The EC said issues such as decommissioning and radioactive waste management "should receive additional attention, and benefit from increased stakeholder involvement with a focus on increasing transparency on funding and processes leading to national and/or shared repositories".
Talks also focused on EU support for IAEA activities in the areas of nuclear security, strengthening the security of nuclear and radioactive materials, and building on the results of the 2016 International Conference on Nuclear Security. Progress on construction of the IAEA's low-enriched uranium fuel 'bank' in Oskemen, Kazakhstan, including continued support from the EU, was also discussed.
On the side lines of the meeting, practical arrangements on cooperation in the field of nuclear science and applications for sustainable development were signed by IAEA deputy director general Aldo Malavasi and Vladimir Sucha, director general of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.
Giacomini said, "The EU continues to attach great importance to the IAEA's core responsibilities in the field of non-proliferation, nuclear energy, nuclear safety, nuclear security and technical cooperation." He added, "The strong political support by the Union and its member states is backed also financially and technically."
Feruta said the meeting was a good opportunity to review progress in cooperation between the EU and the IAEA and to discuss next steps in priority areas. He said these included providing support to EU member states in implementing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News