Statement by the Co-Presidents of the
Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety
Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Mr. Fadillah bin Hj. Yusof, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia
15 December 2012
Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
The Government of Japan, in co-sponsorship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is holding the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety from 15 to 17 December 2012 in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, following the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in June 2011, which led to the unanimous adoption of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety (the Action Plan) by the IAEA General Conference in September 2011.
The principal objective of the Conference is to contribute to strengthening nuclear safety worldwide. The Conference is to provide yet another opportunity to share with the international community, at the ministerial and expert levels, further knowledge and lessons learned from the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (the Fukushima Daiichi accident); to further enhance transparency; and to discuss the progress of international efforts aimed at strengthening nuclear safety, including through the implementation of the Action Plan, as well as of the measures to protect people and the environment from ionizing radiation.
The Conference is attended by IAEA Member States, many of whom are represented at the ministerial level, as well as by relevant international organizations. It was opened by Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who made a statement on behalf of the host country, followed by the statement by Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA.
At the Conference, international solidarity with Japan and its people affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident as well as by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami was reiterated, with the Government of Japan expressing its deep gratitude for this solidarity. The role and activities of the IAEA since the accident were commended, as was the continued cooperation with Japan, in particular with Fukushima Prefecture. Appreciation was expressed by participants for the valuable opportunity to visit Fukushima Prefecture and learn about the current situation and the life of people in Fukushima.
At the close of the first day of the Conference, having considered the contributions by the delegations in the Plenary Session and reflecting their substance and thrust, the Co-Presidents decided to issue the following statement.
[Fukushima Daiichi accident and Japan's response]
- The tremendous efforts made by the people and the Prefecture of Fukushima for recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi accident were highly commended.
- The tangible progress in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, including the achievement of the present stable status of the nuclear power station and the significant decrease of radioactive releases at the accident site since the time of the accident, as reported by the Government of Japan, was welcomed.
- The progress made on the off-site remediation and waste management, including the setting up of legal and policy frameworks and the strengthening of institutional arrangements in national and local governments for this purpose, was acknowledged.
- The importance of continuous sharing and dissemination of objective information on and lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which also contributes to a further increase in transparency, was emphasized. In this regard,
- 1) The reports disseminated internationally by Japan and by the IAEA international fact finding and peer review missions on the situation of the accident and the restoration efforts after the accident were noted with appreciation. Japan was encouraged to continue to share information on: the progress of decommissioning TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station; on-site and off-site remediation; and waste management; including by hosting international fact finding and peer review missions and by leading an international effort to obtain data from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. The lessons learned from these activities, through their dissemination and related cooperation with the international community, are expected to contribute to enhancing the safety and effectiveness of future decommissioning and remediation activities worldwide.
- 2) The establishment of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in September 2012 and Japan's intention to host an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission were welcomed.
- 3) The reports by the IAEA Director General on the topics of the three International Experts' Meetings (IEMs) held so far were welcomed, and expectations were expressed for the IAEA to publish a comprehensive report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2014, as announced by the Director General at the 56th regular session of the IAEA General Conference.
[Strengthening nuclear safety worldwide]
- It was stressed that nuclear safety is a prerequisite for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, that strengthening nuclear safety is a continuous process and that there should be no complacency in safety matters.
- The importance of strengthening the central role of the IAEA in promoting international cooperation, in coordinating enhanced international efforts, in providing expertise and advice, in developing the IAEA Safety Standards to be implemented as broadly and effectively as possible, and in promoting nuclear safety culture worldwide, in order to strengthen global nuclear safety was emphasized.
- The importance of the Declaration adopted unanimously by the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, held in Vienna in June 2011, and the subsequent Action Plan approved unanimously by the Board of Governors and endorsed at the 55th regular session of the IAEA General Conference in September 2011, was emphasized.
- The progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan was welcomed. The importance of strengthening efforts to fully implement the Action Plan through the effective and active cooperation and participation of Member States, including through their national plans, measures and initiatives, and the involvement of other relevant stakeholders was stressed.
- The utmost importance of establishing and sustaining competent national regulatory authorities with effective independence and adequate human and financial resources was emphasized. In this connection, the measures taken by Member States to strengthen their respective national regulatory authorities were welcomed.
- National assessments of the design of nuclear power plants against site specific extreme natural hazards and the measures undertaken or in progress to implement the necessary corrective actions to enhance protection against these hazards, including improvements to the plant design, procedures, and processes, were welcomed.
- The importance of measures for the prevention and mitigation of severe accidents was emphasized. It was also stressed that nuclear power plants should be designed, constructed and operated with the objectives of preventing accidents, and, should an accident occur, mitigating its effects and especially avoiding off-site contamination.
- The increased utilization by Member States of international peer reviews, including notably IAEA peer reviews such as the IRRS, the Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) and the Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV), as well as their follow-up reviews, was welcomed. Referring to the Action Plan in which Member States are strongly encouraged to voluntarily host IAEA peer reviews, including follow-up reviews, on a regular basis, views were expressed that in doing so Member States are expected to use a systematic approach covering all the key safety areas, to implement the recommendations of such reviews, as well as to consent to make publicly available in a timely manner the results of such reviews.
- The importance of promoting the IAEA Safety Standards to be implemented as broadly and effectively as possible by Member States was stressed. The activities undertaken and those to be undertaken in the future regarding the review of the IAEA Safety Standards were welcomed, and the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) and the Secretariat were encouraged to make further progress in reviewing, and revising as necessary, the relevant IAEA Safety Standards.
- The importance of strengthening emergency preparedness and response arrangements and capabilities at operator/licensee, local, national, regional and international levels, and cooperation in this regard, was emphasized. In this context, the Secretariat's efforts to enhance the Response and Assistance Network (RANET), which is an operational tool for the implementation of the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, including planned expansion of functional areas and the improvement of the list of resources, were welcomed. Views were expressed to encourage Member States that have not yet done so to join RANET and register their capabilities, and to strengthen the IAEA's role and capabilities in supporting the international emergency preparedness and response framework.
- The importance of enhancing transparency and effectiveness as well as further developing and strengthening of communication with the public in a nuclear or radiological emergency was emphasized so that adequate and timely responses could be taken, based on scientific and objective information. Continued dissemination of factually correct and objective information in a transparent and easily understandable manner is also important so that individual, local, national and international actors may take informed and science-based actions.
- The importance of broadest adherence to the relevant international instruments on nuclear safety, in particular the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), and of strengthening those instruments by enhancing their implementation or amending them as necessary, was stressed. In this context, the outcomes of the 2nd Extraordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the CNS were taken account of, including the Action-Oriented Objectives for Strengthening Nuclear Safety and the establishment of the “Effectiveness and Transparency" working group with the task of reporting to the next Review Meeting on a list of actions to strengthen the peer review process and on proposals to amend, when necessary, the CNS. It was stressed that their steady implementation is necessary for promoting nuclear safety worldwide.
- The work of the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX) in the framework of the Action Plan towards establishing a global nuclear liability regime was appreciated.
- The importance of assisting Member States that are embarking on a nuclear power programme in their development of infrastructure and human resources, including in their effort to establish the highest level of safety based on the IAEA Safety Standards, was emphasized. The hosting of IAEA peer reviews such as the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) and Site and External Events Design review service (SEED) by such Member States was welcomed and their wider use was encouraged.
- The importance of research and development, as well as education and training by Member States and other relevant stakeholders in the area of nuclear safety and related areas, including for decommissioning, remediation and the protection of people and the environment from ionizing radiation, was stressed.
- The importance of international cooperation for assessing the environmental and human impact of radioactive releases by a nuclear accident was emphasized. In this regard, the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) for issuing reports on the preliminary dose estimation and on the preliminary health risk assessment from the Fukushima Daiichi accident was noted with appreciation. Appreciation was also expressed for the ongoing work by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) on an assessment of the levels of exposure and radiation risks attributable to the accident.
- The work of the Secretariat on a review of the generic criteria for radioactive material in food, animal feed and drinking water, in cooperation with WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) including the Codex Alimentarius Commission, as well as other relevant international organizations, was noted with appreciation. Support was expressed for this work, which will identify ways to clarify, harmonize and update, if appropriate, the existing guidance documents on contamination levels in these items after nuclear or radiological emergencies.
- Closer cooperation among the relevant networks of regulatory authorities, nuclear operators, technical support organizations and the IAEA in the field of nuclear safety, including in the implementation of the IAEA Safety Standards, was encouraged. The progress made in this regard was welcomed, in particular the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the IAEA and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). Operating organizations were encouraged to implement nuclear safety measures and to fully support and actively contribute to international efforts to enhance nuclear safety.
Back to Index