Nuclear Safety:

Progress Toward International Agreement to Improve Reactor Safety

RCED-93-153: Published: May 14, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the development of a international nuclear safety convention, focusing on: (1) the convention's scope and objectives; (2) how the convention will be implemented and monitored; (3) views of selected country representatives on what provisions should be included in the convention; and (4) the convention's potential benefits and limitations.

GAO found that: (1) the scope of the convention will apply only to civil nuclear power plants dealing with waste management, military activities, and fuel cycle activities; (2) under the current draft, signatory countries will implement the convention; (3) various views exist among country representatives over what facilities and elements of the nuclear fuel cycle should be included in the convention, but the majority of country representatives believe that the final convention should not be limited to civil nuclear power plants; (4) the majority of country representatives support a convention based on general safety principles and are opposed to having an international organization, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), enforce the convention; and (5) development of the draft international nuclear safety convention has been complex, but the convention will promote international nuclear safety and obtain improvements in nuclear reactors located in eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and developing countries.

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