The European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) took steps to strengthen their cooperation in a range of nuclear activities including nuclear science applications during the fifth annual Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Brussels this week.
The talks on 15 February 2017 at the EU headquarters provided a forum to exchange views on enhancing collaboration in nuclear safety, security, safeguards, sustainable development and nuclear energy research and innovation and nuclear science applications. In addition, mechanisms to strengthen regional cooperation were discussed, including for the environmental remediation of uranium legacy sites in Central Asia. There were exchanges on the 2017 PrepCom of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
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. The strong political support by the Union and its Member States is backed also financially and technically.
The EU and the IAEA continue to strengthen their cooperation. The SOM was a good opportunity to review progress and to discuss next steps in priority areas, in particular support to Member States in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting was co-chaired by Marco Giacomini, Deputy Managing Director for Human Rights, Global and Multilateral Issues on side of the European Union and Cornel Feruta, Chief Coordinator for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Senior officials of DG Energy and DG DEVCO also participated.
The SOM acknowledged that nuclear safety is a key priority that will remain at the centre of cooperation between the EU and the IAEA. The EU looks forward to an ambitious implementation of the Vienna Declaration supporting continuous safety improvements for countries that operate or are building new nuclear power plants, including in the EU neighbourhood. The EU emphasized that issues linked with the back end of the life cycle of nuclear facilities, 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.