Convention on Nuclear Safety to evaluate two National Reports from Switzerland

IAEA Building in Vienna
IAEA Building in Vienna

Preliminary information from 17 March 2023

ENSI will be participating in the Ninth Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, scheduled to take place from 20 to 31 March. This year’s conference will be evaluating Switzerland’s Eighth and Ninth National Reports.

The 2023 Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) is of particular importance as it will be discussing two National Reports for the first time: the Eighth Review Meeting of 2020 had to cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2022 Switzerland had already submitted the Ninth National Report. Consequently, at the end of March, the CNS will be evaluating Switzerland’s Eighth and Ninth National Reports. Both reports show that Switzerland complies with requirements defined by the International Convention on Nuclear Safety.

ENSI Director Marc Kenzelmann is heading up the Swiss delegation which also comprises representatives from various ENSI divisions. ENSI will present the Swiss National Reports and will then participate in the peer review process as well as the technical and political negotiations.

During the first week of the ninth CNS, country presentations will take place in seven country groups. Both the presentation and the discussion of the Swiss National Reports will take place on 22 March.

The second week will be devoted to the summaries from the country groups and the discussion of the specific focus areas “Safety Culture” and “Ageing Management”. In addition, the final negotiations will take place in the plenary session of the conference which will focus on the Summary Reports.

Convention on Nuclear Safety CNS

The CNS is an international agreement that establishes globally binding safety standards for world nuclear safety and undergoes a regular review process. It was the first legally binding instrument to deal with the safety of nuclear power plants at an international level.

Switzerland is one of the founding states that signed the 1995 Convention and it is actively committed to ensuring that safety standards are complied with and strengthened. Alongside Switzerland, 90 other countries are currently committed to submitting a specific National Report to the IAEA every three years on the state of implementation of the Convention and to participating in the subsequent international review meeting in Vienna.

At Switzerland’s initiative, a diplomatic conference was held in 2015 under the Convention. In 2013, Switzerland had submitted a proposal for an amendment to the Convention to adapt the requirements for the design of nuclear power plants to be in line with the latest state of the art of science and technology. According to the proposal, new nuclear power plants must be designed and built in compliance with the latest safety standards and technologies, while existing nuclear power plants should be subject to a backfitting obligation, as has been implemented in Switzerland and other European countries. This so-called “Vienna Declaration” was adopted by the contracting countries of the CNS and has been an integral part of the Convention and its review process since the last Review Meeting in 2017.