VIENNA – For more than two decades, EM has provided technical leadership to the U.S. government’s interagency working group implementing the Joint Convention, an international treaty on the safety of spent fuel management and radioactive waste management. The treaty, adopted in 1997, marked its 25th anniversary this year.
Over 700 delegates representing 76 of the 88 Contracting Parties across the globe participated in the Seventh Review Meeting of the Joint Convention, held June 27-July 8 in Vienna.
Patricia Metz, deputy director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Safety and Security at the Department of State, led the U.S. delegation composed of experts from the National Nuclear Security Administration, DOE program offices, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency. EM delegates included Julia Donkin, Jomaries Rovira and Doug Tonkay.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), welcomed the delegates and highlighted the current war in Ukraine, a country with nuclear power where IAEA experts are assisting with technical assessments, disposal of disused orphan sources and safe transport of radioactive sources. The U.S. and several other delegations submitted statements regarding the impact of military actions on the ability of Contracting Parties to meet treaty obligations. The U.S. statement was read as part of the U.S. national presentation.
Tonkay was among the U.S. delegates who delivered the U.S. national presentation, which highlighted significant progress despite the pandemic, since the last national report was issued in 2019. U.S. experts also participated in peer review sessions of all country groups.
Tonkay also discussed EM stakeholder engagement efforts as part of a program that also included participants from Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Delegates showed particular interest in EM activities, such as its citizens advisory boards, efforts in environmental justice and engagement with tribal nations.
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