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  Library Treaties Non-Proliferation Treaty, Cluster 3 Austria, May 14, 1999

Cluster 3

Mr Chairman,

Let me open my remarks by reiterating the Austrian opinion that a prerequisite for international co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is the observance of proper management of the nuclear non-proliferation commitments such as safeguards and export controls.

Austria considers Article IV of the NPT an important feature of the treaty as it allows all NPT member countries to share the benefits of nuclear developments by co-operating among member states as well as with the IAEA.

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Any use of nuclear technology for the benefit of individual states also requires the observance of relevant safety standards. One practical problem we are faced with over the last years relates to the proper management of radiation sources. One large accident and a number of smaller incidents recall its significance in the past years. In this regard, we commend the IAEA for its activities in this field and its intention to strengthen them even further.

With regard to technical co-operation at large, it is once more for the IAEA to play a crucial role through its technical co-operation program and other activities in the field of technical assistance. We commend the IAEA for its efforts in implementing this large program. This is not the right moment to go into any details, but let me highlight the activities in the field of radiation protection, the safety of nuclear installations and the field of medical applications. In this regard, we also welcome the imminent opening of the new IAEA - FAO reference laboratory for food analysis in Seibersdorf, Austria.

Mr. Chairman,

In the field of nuclear safety, we would like to point to the recently held First Meeting of the States Parties to the Nuclear Safety Convention in Vienna. This gathering was an impressive exercise of almost 50 states, allowing for a frank exchange of opinions as well as responses to questions posed. As is always the case with first-time events, possible improvements could be identified, and we are confident that their implementation will allow for an even more effective gathering the next time.

With regard to the substantial debate having taken place, we would like to identify three clear understandings regarding the process:

· information provided clearly showed the existence of safety deficits

· the implementation of measures for improvement can and will be expected the role of the IAEA as org aniser is to be commended

In detail, let me state that the review process has indeed identified problems with regard to safety features in individual countries. These safety flows should be remedied, and we express the strong expectation that respective NSC Member States will do their utmost to take appropriate action. In this regard, we also see an important role for the IAEA to play in supporting these national efforts.

Looking into the future, I would like to state that we have three years to review approaches and find solutions for deficiencies clearly visible in particular countries and with regard to particular types of nuclear power plants. In this context, we consider Article IV of the NPT an important basis to provide such safety co-operation among countries.

In preparing the next meeting of States Parties, I would like to underline that one of the lessons learnt from the first meeting relates to the necessity of a continuing review. In this regard, we imagine that the activities established in the frame-work of the IAEA such as Operational safety Review Teams (OSART), Teams for the Assessment of Safety Significant Events in Nuclear Power Plants (ASSET) and Teams td Review Regulatory Systems in Member States (IRRT) and their results can provide an important input for future review meetings. The next three years offer an appropriate time frame to put these ideas into effect for the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Nuclear Safety Convention.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.