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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 12, 1995
                           ON NUCLEAR SAFETY

To The Senate Of The United States:

I transmit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to ratification, the Convention on Nuclear Safety done at Vienna on September 20, 1994. This Convention was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference convened by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in June 1994 and was opened for signature in Vienna on September 20, 1994, during the IAEA General Conference. Secretary of Energy O'Leary signed the Convention for the United States on that date. Also transmitted for the information of the Senate is the report of the Department of State concerning the Convention.

At the September 1991 General Conference of the IAEA, a resolution was adopted, with U.S. support, calling for the IAEA secretariat to develop elements for a possible International Convention on Nuclear Safety. From 1992 to 1994, the IAEA convened seven expert working group meetings, in which the United States participated. The IAEA Board of Governors approved a draft text at its meeting in February 1994, after which the IAEA convened a Diplomatic Conference attended by representatives of more than 80 countries in June 1994. The final text of the Convention resulted from that Conference.

The Convention establishes a legal obligation on the part of Parties to apply certain general safety principles to the construction, operation, and regulation of land-based civilian nuclear power plants under their jurisdiction. Parties to the Convention also agree to submit periodic reports on the steps they are taking to implement the obligations of the Convention. These reports will be reviewed and discussed at review meetings of the Parties, at which each Party will have an opportunity to discuss and seek clarification of reports submitted by other Parties.

The United States has initiated many steps to deal with nuclear safety, and has supported the effort to develop this Convention. With its obligatory reporting and review procedures, requiring Parties to demonstrate in international meetings how they are complying with safety principles, the Convention should encourage countries to improve nuclear safety domestically and thus result in an increase in nuclear safety worldwide. I urge the Senate to act expeditiously in giving its advice and consent to ratification.

William J. Clinton

The White House,
May 11, 1995