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[Senate Treaty Document 106-48]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



106th Congress                                              Treaty Doc.
                                  SENATE                     
 2d Session                                                   106-48
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     



 
  JOINT CONVENTION ON THE SAFETY OF SPENT FUEL AND RADIOACTIVE WASTE 
                              MANAGEMENT

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  FROM

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

THE JOINT CONVENTION ON THE SAFETY OF SPENT FUEL MANAGEMENT AND ON THE 
  SAFETY OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT, DONE AT VIENNA ON 
  SEPTEMBER 5, 1997




September 13, 2000.--Convention was read the first time, and together 
  with the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign 
  Relations and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate.

                               __________

                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
79-118                     WASHINGTON : 2000

                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                               The White House, September 13, 2000.
To the Senate of the United States:
    I transmit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to 
ratification, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel 
Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, 
done at Vienna on September 5, 1997. Also transmitted for the 
information of the Senate is the report of the Department of 
State concerning the Convention.
    This Convention was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference 
convened by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 
September 1997 and was opened for signature in Vienna on 
September 5, 1997, during the IAEA General Conference, on which 
date Secretary of Energy Federico Pena signed the Convention 
for the United States.
    The Convention is an important part of the effort to raise 
the level of nuclear safety around the world. It is companion 
to and structured similarly to the Convention on Nuclear Safety 
(CNS), to which the Senate gave its advice and consent on March 
25, 1999, and which entered into force for the United States on 
July 10, 1999. The Convention establishes a series of broad 
commitments with respect to the safe management of spent fuel 
and radioactive waste. The Convention does not delineate 
detailed mandatory standards the Parties must meet, but instead 
Parties are to take appropriate steps to bring their activities 
into compliance with the general obligations of the Convention.
    The Convention includes safety requirements for spent fuel 
management when the spent fuel results from the operation of 
civilian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste management for 
wastes resulting from civilian applications.
    The Convention does not apply to a Party's military 
radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel unless the Party 
declares it as spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste for the 
purposes of the Convention, or if and when such waste material 
is permanently transferred to and managed within exclusively 
civilian programs. The Convention contains provisions to ensure 
that national security is not compromised and that Parties have 
absolute discretion as to what information is reported on 
material from military sources.
    The United States has initiated many steps to improve 
nuclear safety worldwide in accordance with its long-standing 
policy to make safety an absolute priority in the use of 
nuclear energy, and has supported the effort to develop both 
the CNS and this Convention. The Convention should encourage 
countries to improve the management of spent fuel and 
radioactive waste domestically and thus result in an increase 
in nuclear safety worldwide.
    Consultations were held with representatives from States 
and the nuclear industry. There are no significant new burdens 
or unfunded mandates for the States or industry that should 
result from the Convention. Costs for implementation of the 
proposed Convention will be absorbed within the existing 
budgets of affected agencies.
    I urge the Senate to act expeditiously in giving its advice 
and consent to ratification.

                                                William J. Clinton.
                          LETTER OF SUBMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                       Department of State,
                                         Washington, July 13, 2000.
The President,
The White House.
    The President: I have the honor to submit to you the Joint 
Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the 
Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, done at Vienna on 
September 5, 1997. Accompanying this Report, for the 
information of the Senate, is an Article-by-Article analysis of 
the Convention. I recommend that this Convention be transmitted 
to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification.
    This Convention is an important part of the efforts to 
raise the level of nuclear safety around the world. The 
Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), to which the United States 
became a Party on July 10, 1999, applies only to civilian 
nuclear power installations. Other nuclear facilities, spent 
fuel, and fuel-cycle activities are not covered under the CNS. 
The Preamble of the CNS does, however, recognize the need to 
develop a waste convention and contains a preambulary statement 
affirming a commitment by the Parties to develop a similar 
convention on the safe management of radioactive waste.
    To this end, a Group of Experts was constituted from 
approximately 50 countries to prepare a draft convention on 
spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. From 1995 to 1997, 
the International Atomic Energy Agency convened seven meetings 
of the Group in which the United States participated. A draft 
text was completed in March 1997 and submitted for review by 
the Board of Governors at its June 1997 meeting. The Board 
subsequently authorized the Director-General to convene a 
Diplomatic Conference in Vienna. The Joint Convention on the 
Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive 
Waste Management was adopted on September 5, 1997. Secretary of 
Energy Pena signed the Convention for the United States on that 
date.
    The Convention will enter into force 90 days after 25 
states have ratified the Convention, 15 of which must have one 
operational nuclear power plant. A Preparatory Meeting is to be 
held no later than six months after entry into force. The first 
Review Meeting is to be held no later than 30 months after 
entry into force. The interval between review meetings is not 
to exceed three years. To date, the Convention has been signed 
by 41 countries and ratified by 15 countries. Of these 15 
countries, 10 are states with at least one operational nuclear 
power reactor.
    Structured similarly to the CNS, the Convention establishes 
a series of broad commitments with respect to the safe 
management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. The Convention 
does not delineate mandatory standards the Parties must meet, 
but instead Parties are to take appropriate steps to bring 
their activities into compliance with the obligations of the 
Convention.
    Under the Convention, Parties will submit periodic national 
reports on the steps that 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. Although 
not reflected in the Convention text, as currently proposed the 
Parties are to be organized into subgroups of five to seven 
countries. The United States will be assigned a group and will 
have the opportunity to review national reports of other 
countries assigned to this group. Parties also can comment on 
national reports of countries not in their review group.
    The U.S. national report form and structure will be closely 
modeled after the national report submitted for the CNS. As 
required under the Convention, the report will include, inter 
alia, the U.S. legislative and regulatory framework, spent 
nuclear fuel and radioactive waste inventory data (from 
currently available Federal Government databases) and a listing 
of types of existing and proposed facilities, whether Federal, 
State, or private. The United States believes its management 
and safety practices meet all Convention commitments.
    The Department of Energy is the lead agency for preparation 
of the report in coordination with the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the 
Department of State. An interagency working group was 
established for the purpose of coordinating Convention 
activities.
    The scope of the Convention includes safety requirements 
for spent fuel management when the spent fuel results from the 
operation of civilian nuclear reactors; radioactive waste 
management resulting from civilian applications; disused sealed 
sources no longer needed; operational radiation protection; 
management of nuclear facilities; decommissioning; emergency 
preparedness; a legislative and regulatory framework; and 
transboundary movement. It does not include naturally occurring 
radioactive materials (NORM), unless a Party declares it as 
radioactive waste for the purposes of the Convention.
    The scope of the Convention does not apply to a Party's 
military radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel unless the 
Party declares it as spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste 
for the purposes of the Convention.
    The Convention would apply to military radioactive waste 
and spent nuclear fuel if and when such material is permanently 
transferred to and managed within exclusively civilian 
programs. The Convention contains provisions to ensure that 
national security is not compromised and that Parties have 
absolute discretion as to what information is reported on 
material from military sources. In the United States, all 
military radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel is normally 
transferred to civilian programs for disposal. The Convention 
will not, therefore, affect ongoing U.S. military operations in 
any way, nor will classified information be covered in the U.S. 
national report.
    As does the CNS, this Convention encourages broad 
participation through its elaboration as an incentive process, 
under which Parties take appropriate steps to bring their 
activities into compliance with the obligations of the 
Convention. The goal is that over time, through processes of 
self-improvement, acceptance of the obligations under the 
Convention, and periodic reviews of their Convention-related 
activities, all the Parties will attain a higher level of 
safety with the management of their spent fuel and radioactive 
waste.
    As a Party to the Convention, one delegate and any other 
alternates, experts, or advisers as is deemed necessary may 
represent the U.S. Government. The U.S. Delegate will be a 
representative of the Department of State. U.S. Alternate 
Delegates will be representatives of the Department of Energy, 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Environmental 
Protection Agency.
    The Department of Energy estimates costs for preparing the 
U.S. national reports to be $200,000 forfiscal year 2000 and 
$200,000 incurred annually thereafter. Costs will be absorbed within 
the existing Department of Energy budget. The Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission costs are not expected to be substantial and can be absorbed 
within the existing budget. The Environmental Protection Agency expects 
costs to be minimal and can be absorbed within the existing budget.
    Consultations were held with the representatives from 
States, industry, and the U.S. Congress. There are no 
significant new burdens or unfunded mandates for the States or 
industry that should result from the Convention.
    No implementing legislation will be necessary for the 
United States to comply with its obligations under the 
Convention.
    The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency join the 
Department of State in recommending that the Convention be 
transmitted to the Senate with a view to receiving its advice 
and consent to ratification at the earliest possible time.
    Respectfully submitted,
                                                       Alan Larson.
    Enclosure: As stated.