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G7 Nuclear Safety and Security Group: Statement

December 9, 2021

Introduction

1. The G7 Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) which was established at the Kananaskis Summit in 2002 and responsible to Leaders, provides technically informed strategic policy advice on issues that could impact safety and security in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology, in close collaboration with multilateral organisations and avoiding duplication of tasks or efforts that are being addressed by existing organisations or entities.

2. The NSSG met 3 times under the United Kingdom's G7 Presidency and were joined in nuclear safety and security policy discussions and exchange of experience by representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS), the European Commission (EC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

3. As like-minded partners guided by shared democratic values and respect for fundamental freedoms, human rights, and the rule of law, the NSSG reaffirms its commitment to promoting the highest standards of nuclear safety and security worldwide, with the view to ensuring the responsible use of nuclear technology.

4. The NSSG respects each country's sovereign right to decide upon its energy mix. The NSSG notes that the highest standards of nuclear safety and security are important to all countries and their respective publics. The Group underlines the responsibility of each country to ensure the safety and security of their nuclear material and their facilities.

Support for diverse nuclear workforces

5. The NSSG recognises the importance of diverse nuclear workforces. We remain actively engaged in the work of the IAEA, NEA, WINS, Women in Nuclear Global (WiN Global), Women in Nuclear Security Initiative (WINSI), young nuclear professional organisations, and others in increasing the representation of women and individuals from historically underrepresented groups at all levels of the nuclear sector. We also recognise the strong commitments made by NSSG members in support of this ambition, including support of the IAEA's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme which was launched to promote gender parity including in the field of nuclear security.

6. The NSSG recognises that there is far more that needs to be done in order to achieve gender parity in G7 nuclear sectors. The NSSG advocates for the development of national policies to improve diversity, equality and inclusivity of nuclear workforces and recruitment campaigns. The NSSG further recognises the need to develop approaches to broaden the talent pool, ensuring it is a truly welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for all staff which therefore translates to more diverse recruitment campaigns and subsequent appointments.

Building public trust

7. The NSSG recognises the importance of working to ensure that all people and communities are effectively informed and consulted regarding nuclear projects. This will help build trust in the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies among the public, including Indigenous peoples.

8. The NSSG notes the work that the IAEA and other international organisations are doing on external communication and the importance of an open dialogue to improve public confidence in nuclear and radiological safety and security.

SMRs and advanced nuclear technology

9. The NSSG recognises that the development and deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) within the next decade will likely contribute to more countries around the world adopting nuclear power as part of their energy mix. The NSSG recognises that this will bring opportunities and challenges and therefore further international collaboration, including between all relevant stakeholders on this matter is needed.

10. The NSSG supports the key role of the IAEA and the need for effective regulation and international guidance in ensuring that SMRs are used safely and securely. The NSSG recognises that, based on its Milestones Approach, the IAEA offers the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) service to both those countries embarking on the use of nuclear power, and those that are expanding their nuclear power programme. The NSSG recognises this will help ensure that the infrastructure required for the safe and secure use of nuclear power is developed and implemented in a responsible and orderly manner.

11. The NSSG welcomes the launch of the IAEA's Agency-wide platform on SMRs that ensures a cross departmental approach and integrated support to Member States on all aspects of their development, deployment and oversight, as a means to ensure the safe and secure operation of SMRs globally.

12. The NSSG also recognises the increased workload SMRs will likely create for the IAEA and supports the IAEA as it adapts to this new reality, in order to maintain the same high standards of safety and security for these new technologies.

13. The NSSG encourages collaboration amongst those undertaking advanced nuclear technology research and development. The NSSG also encourages efforts to scientifically address safety and security challenges, including the concepts of safety and security by design.

Chernobyl decommissioning programme

14. During the course of NSSG meetings, G7 donors and the European Commission received updates from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development regarding the decommissioning of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The NSSG notes that the extension of the Nuclear Safety Account is confirmed until 31 December 2022.

15. While continuing to support the EBRD in the pursuit of safe, secure and efficient progression and finalisation of this important program, the NSSG notes with concern the delays in starting the deconstruction of the unstable structures of the Shelter Object and the risk that it could pose to the future decommissioning program. The NSSG expects Ukraine to ensure that all the necessary organisational and financial provisions have been taken for the operation, the maintenance of the facility and also the dismantling of the unstable structures of the original shelter, as a first step of the decommissioning program inside the NSC.

Source: Gov.UK

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