[Senate Executive Report 108-5]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



108th Congress                                               Exec. Rpt.
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                      108-5

======================================================================



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

                                _______
                                

                 April 1, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

          Mr. Lugar, from the Committee on Foreign Relations,
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                   [To accompany Treaty Doc. 106-48]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations to which was referred 
the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and 
on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon subject to 3 
conditions set forth in this report and the accompanying 
resolution of ratification and recommends that the Senate give 
its advice and consent to ratification thereof.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Summary of the Convention........................................2
III. Background.......................................................5
 IV. Committee Action.................................................6
  V. Article-by-Article Analysis......................................6
 VI. Resolution of Ratification......................................17
VII. Administration Statements and Supplementary Material............20

                               I. Purpose

    The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management 
and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (the 
Convention) was created to achieve a high level of nuclear 
safety worldwide. This is to be accomplished through 
international cooperation and the enhancement of the national 
safety measures of the participating Contracting Parties (the 
Parties). It is anticipated that there will be a thorough 
examination of these national programs through an international 
exchange of views, so that Parties can learn from each other's 
solutions to common and individual safety problems. The process 
is viewed as a mechanism for contributing to improving 
worldwide safety measures against potential radiological 
hazards, so as to protect current and future generations, 
prevent accidents with radiological consequences, and mitigate 
effects should such accidents occur. The promotion of stable 
technical environments and regulatory systems in developing 
countries will also aid these Parties in developing security 
measures to prevent the theft of waste materials, thus 
lessening the risk of their possible use in radiological 
dispersal devices.
    The creation of this Convention fulfills a commitment 
outlined in the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), which 
entered into force on October 24, 1996, and to which the United 
States became a Contracting Party on July 10, 1999. Subsection 
(ix) of the CNS Preamble states that the Contracting Parties 
affirm ``the need to begin promptly the development of an 
international convention on the safety of radioactive waste 
management as soon as the ongoing process to develop waste 
management safety fundamentals has resulted in broad 
international agreement.'' The CNS establishes a legal 
obligation on the part of the Contracting Parties to apply 
certain safety principles to the construction, operation, and 
regulation of civilian nuclear power reactors. Together, the 
Convention and the CNS formulate a joint mechanism to 
strengthen the worldwide safety culture for the complementary 
issues of nuclear power, spent nuclear fuel, and radioactive 
waste.
    The Convention is consistent with United States policy to 
support safety as a top priority in the use of nuclear energy 
worldwide, to promote safe operation of spent nuclear fuel 
management and civilian nuclear waste management facilities, 
and to encourage the implementation of radiation protection 
principles. The pursuit of common strategies for the handling 
of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste is compatible with 
U.S. policy on climate change and the promotion of a 
sustainable global environment. The Convention is a 
particularly important complement to bilateral and multilateral 
safety assistance programs, as it establishes a political 
mechanism to encourage governments to support emerging 
regulatory organizations and other entities responsible for the 
promotion of a nuclear safety culture.
    By becoming a Contracting Party to the Convention, the 
United States will have the opportunity to review and benefit 
from the experiences of other nations; promote and help 
influence a stable technical environment, safety programs and 
regulatory systems in developing countries; identify possible 
areas for bilateral and multilateral technical and regulatory 
cooperation; and minimize the threat of the malicious use of 
radioactive waste, as may occur with disused sealed sources.

                     II. Summary of the Convention

    Structured to parallel the Convention on Nuclear Safety 
(CNS), the Convention establishes a series of broad commitments 
with respect to the safe management of spent nuclear fuel and 
radioactive waste resulting from civilian nuclear applications. 
It also covers such issues as disused sealed sources no longer 
needed, operational radiation protection, management of nuclear 
facilities, decommissioning, emergency preparedness, 
legislative and regulatory frameworks, and transboundary 
movement. The Convention, along with the CNS, fosters a 
constructive multilateral framework to increase safety and 
security at nuclear facilities around the world.
    As with 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 Convention does not delineate mandatory 
standards the Parties must meet; instead, Parties are to 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 in the management of their spent fuel 
and radioactive waste.
    Under the Convention, Parties will submit periodic national 
reports on the steps that they are taking to implement the 
obligations contained in 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 
it is not reflected in the Convention text, the Parties are to 
be organized into groups of five to seven countries. The United 
States will be assigned to a group and will have the 
opportunity to review national reports of other countries 
assigned to this group. Parties can also request and comment on 
the national reports of countries not in their review group 
and, if they do so, may participate in meetings of the groups 
to which those countries are assigned.
    In response to questions for the record, the Administration 
assured the Committee of its intent to look beyond the group to 
which the United States is assigned:

          The United States will request copies of all national 
        reports prepared for the review meeting under the Joint 
        Convention.

          The United States has the right to request this 
        information under the Joint Convention, and it intends 
        to ask for this information.

          We intend to ensure that the United States takes 
        advantage of the availability of information and the 
        opportunity to provide comments as appropriate.

    The Committee recommends that the Senate require, in its 
resolution of ratification for this Convention, that the 
President certify that the United States will both request 
copies of all national reports prepared for each review meeting 
under the Convention and comment, in each review meeting, upon 
aspects of safety significance in any report by a Contracting 
Party that is receiving U.S. financial or technical assistance 
relating to the improvement of its nuclear and radiological 
safety and security practices. The Senate included a similar 
condition in the CNS resolution of ratification, and the 
Administration reports that the process of reviewing and 
commenting on reports under the CNS has proved valuable. In 
response to a question for the record, the Administration wrote 
that this process enabled it:

        . . . to identify key goals and objectives for the 
        safety and regulatory programs in States of the former 
        Soviet Union, such as Russia and Ukraine. The goals and 
        objectives will provide targets for assistance programs 
        to these countries. We also used the process to 
        determine that additional progress can be made in 
        nuclear regulatory oversight programs of Russia and the 
        Ukraine, and identified the nuclear regulatory programs 
        of China, Armenia, and Pakistan as warranting further 
        attention.

    The Committee also recommends that the Senate include in 
its resolution of ratification of the Convention a condition 
ensuring that the legislative branch and the Comptroller 
General of the United States will be given appropriate access 
to information relating to the operation of the Convention. A 
similar condition was included in the CNS resolution of 
ratification.
    The form and structure of the U.S. national report will be 
closely modeled after that of the 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 
(available from existing U.S. Government databases), and a 
listing of existing and proposed Federal, State, and private 
facilities.
    The Convention does not include naturally occurring 
radioactive material, unless a Party declares it as radioactive 
waste for the purposes of the Convention. The Convention 
applies to military radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel 
only 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, therefore, will not 
affect ongoing U.S. military operations in any way. Classified 
information will not be included in the U.S. national report, 
and the Administration has assured the Committee, in response 
to a question for the record, that ``[t]he Joint Convention 
poses no threat to sensitive U.S. information or activities. 
The United States will provide information in the national 
report that is already publicly available.''
    The Department of Energy (DOE) will be the lead agency for 
preparation of the report, in coordination with the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA), and the Department of State. DOE estimates the 
annual cost for preparing the U.S. national report to be 
approximately $200,000. Costs will be absorbed within the 
existing DOE budget. Costs incurred by NRC are not expected to 
be substantial and can be absorbed within the existing budget. 
EPA also expects any costs to be minimal, and will absorb any 
such costs within its existing budget. The review of reports 
submitted by other Parties is expected to cost $6,000 per 
report, and U.S. Agencies will strive to absorb those costs as 
well within existing budgets.
    As a Party to the Convention, one delegate (and any other 
alternates, experts, or advisers as are 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 DOE, NRC, and EPA. An 
interagency working group has already been established for the 
purpose of coordinating Convention activities.
    The Administration believes that review of the national 
reports and the prospect of bilateral cooperation will 
strengthen the DOE's spent fuel and radioactive waste program. 
Possible improvements would relate to the development of 
technological alternatives to current stabilization, storage, 
treatment, and disposal missions at the Department. However, no 
changes are expected in the overall policy and strategy of the 
Department's spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste programs.
    NRC does not anticipate the need to make any significant 
changes to its regulations as a result of the Convention. 
Nonetheless, by providing a mechanism for receiving information 
on other Parties' national programs through the constructive 
exchange of national reports and reviews, the Convention will 
support the Commission's continuing efforts to improve its own 
regulatory program through self-assessment. The Convention is 
not expected to have an effect on the regulatory program of 
EPA.
    Through meetings held with State and industry 
representatives, the Administration determined that no 
significant new burdens or unfunded mandates for States or 
industry will result from the Convention. The Nuclear Energy 
Institute wrote to the Committee to express its strong support 
of U.S. ratification of the Convention, and the Administration 
has assured the Committee that no firms or groups have warned 
it that they will suffer in some way if this Convention is 
ratified and implemented. Parallel consultations with the 
United States Congress led the Administration to conclude that 
no implementing legislation will be necessary for the United 
States to comply with its obligations under the Convention.
    An amendment to this Convention may be approved by 
consensus at a review meeting or at an extraordinary meeting, 
or referred, by a two-thirds vote of the Parties present and 
voting, to a Diplomatic Conference that can adopt it either by 
consensus or by a two-thirds vote of all the Parties. All 
amendments shall be subject to national ratification or 
acceptance processes, and shall enter into force (for ratifying 
or accepting Parties only) 90 days after receipt of the 
relevant instruments from two-thirds of the Parties. In 
response to a question for the record, the Administration 
confirmed its intent to submit to the Senate, for its advice 
and consent to ratification, all amendments that the President 
believes the United States should accept: ``It is important to 
remember that the United States will not be bound by any 
amendment unless the United States affirmatively accepts the 
amendment with the advice and consent of the Senate.''

                            III. Background

    In order to address the commitment contained in subsection 
(ix) of the Preamble of the Convention on Nuclear Safety, a 
Group of Experts was constituted from approximately fifty 
countries to prepare a draft convention on spent nuclear fuel 
and radioactive waste. From 1995 to 1997, the International 
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 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 at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna. The 
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on 
the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management was adopted on 
September 5, 1997. Secretary of Energy Pena signed the 
Convention on that date, making the United States the first 
country to do so.
    On September 13, 2000, President Clinton submitted the 
Convention to the United States Senate for its advice and 
consent to ratification. The Convention was subsequently 
referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
    Pursuant to Article 40, the Convention entered into force 
on June 18, 2001, the ninetieth day after the date of deposit 
with the Depositary of the twenty-fifth instrument of 
ratification, acceptance or approval, including the instruments 
of fifteen States each having an operational nuclear power 
plant. There are currently forty-two Signatories and thirty 
Contracting Parties to the Convention, nineteen of which have 
an operational nuclear power plant.
    Article 29 of the Convention dictates that a preparatory 
meeting is to be held not later than 6 months after entry into 
force. In accordance, the Contracting Parties met in December 
2001 and agreed upon the guidelines for the form and structure 
of the national reports, the guidelines for the review process, 
the Rules of Procedure, and the Financial Rules. The United 
States, not having ratified the Convention, was not in 
attendance.
    The next organizational meeting of the Contracting Parties 
is scheduled for April 7, 2003. Although the United States 
cannot become a Contracting Party by that time, it expects to 
participate in the meeting if the Convention has been ratified 
by that date. The United States would be able to provide input 
on the organization of the formal peer review meeting for the 
safety programs of Contracting Parties, which is scheduled to 
begin November 3, 2003.

                          IV. Committee Action

    The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management 
and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management was referred 
to the Committee on September 13, 2000.
    The Committee received testimony on the Convention at a 
hearing on March 19, 2003. The witness at the hearing was Mr. 
Richard J. K. Stratford, Director of the Office of Nuclear 
Energy Affairs in the Bureau of Nonproliferation at the 
Department of State, who was the principal U.S. negotiator of 
the Convention.
    At a business meeting on April 1, 2003, the Committee 
considered a draft resolution of ratification. After discussion 
and debate, this resolution was approved by a vote of 19-0.

                     V. Article-by-Article Analysis


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

    The Preamble describes the concerns underlying the 
Convention, recognizing that the operation of nuclear power 
plants generate spent fuel and radioactive waste, and that 
other applications of nuclear technology generate waste. 
Cognizant of the importance to the international community of 
ensuring well regulated and environmentally sound management 
practices for spent fuel and radioactive waste, the Parties 
acknowledge that the same safety objectives apply both to spent 
fuel and radioactive waste management and state their desire to 
promote an effective nuclear safety culture world wide. 
Recognizing that ultimate responsibility for defining its own 
fuel cycle policies rests with the State, Parties recognize 
that some States consider spent fuel a valuable resource that 
may be reprocessed, while others elect to dispose of it. The 
Preamble notes that the Parties are mindful of the needs of 
developing countries and States with economies in transition 
and the need to assist them, in the fulfillment of their rights 
and obligations set out in the Convention. The Parties also 
express the desirability of strengthening the international 
system of transboundary movement and affirm the importance of 
international cooperation for the enhancement of nuclear safety 
through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms and this 
incentive Convention.
    Article 1 sets forth the objectives of the Convention, 
which are to: (1) achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear 
safety worldwide in spent fuel and radioactive waste management 
through the enhancement of national measures and international 
cooperation, including where appropriate, safety-related 
technical cooperation; (2) ensure that during all stages of 
spent fuel and radioactive waste management there are effective 
defenses against potential radiological hazards so that 
individuals, society, and the environment are protected from 
harmful effects of ionizing radiation, now and in the future; 
and (3) prevent accidents with radiological consequences, and 
mitigate such consequences should they occur during any stage 
of management.
    Article 2 contains 21 definitions for the Convention. 
Particular attention is drawn to the following definitions: 
``discharges'' means planned and controlled releases into the 
environment, as a legitimate practice, within limits authorized 
by the regulatory body, of liquid or gaseous radioactive 
materials that originate from regulated nuclear facilities 
during normal operation; ``disposal'' means the appropriate 
facility without the intention of retrieval; ``license'' means 
any authorization, permission or certification granted by a 
regulatory body to carry out any activity related to the 
management of spent fuel or of radioactive waste; a ``nuclear 
facility'' means a civilian facility and its associated land, 
buildings, and equipment in which radioactive materials are 
produced, processed, used, handled, stored, or disposed of on 
such a scale that consideration of safety is required; 
``radioactive waste'' means radioactive material in gaseous, 
liquid, or solid form for which no further use is foreseen by 
the Party or by a natural or legal person whose decision is 
accepted by the Party, and which is controlled as radioactive 
waste by a regulatory body under the legislative and regulatory 
framework of the Party; a ``regulatory body'' for each Party 
means any body or bodies given the legal authority by that 
Party to regulate any aspect of the safety of spent fuel or 
radioactive waste management including the granting of 
licenses; ``sealed source'' means radioactive material that is 
permanently sealed in a capsule or closely bonded and in a 
solid form, excluding reactor fuel elements; ``spent fuel'' 
means nuclear fuel that has been irradiated in and permanently 
removed from a reactor core; ``State of destination'' means a 
State to which a transboundary movement is planned or takes 
place; a ``State of origin'' means a State from which a 
transboundary movement is planned to be initiated or is 
initiated; a ``State of transit'' means any State, other than a 
State of origin or destination, through whose internal waters, 
inland waterways, or land territory a transboundary movement is 
planned or takes place.
    Article 3 specifies that the Convention's scope is to apply 
to the safety of spent fuel management when the spent fuel 
results from the operation of civilian nuclear reactors. It 
also applies to the safety of radioactive waste management when 
radioactive waste results from civilian applications. Unless 
otherwise declared by the Party, military or defense program 
spent fuel or radioactive waste is not covered under the 
Convention, unless such materials are permanently transferred 
to and managed exclusively within civilian programs. Nor does 
it apply to fuel held at reprocessing facilities as part of a 
reprocessing activity unless the party declares reprocessing to 
be part of spent fuel management, or waste containing only 
naturally occurring radioactive materials that do not originate 
from the fuel cycle unless it constitutes a disused sealed 
source (understood to be old or new sources no longer in use or 
which are not intended to be used) or it is declared as 
radioactive waste for the purposes of this Convention by the 
Party. The Convention also applies to discharges as defined in 
Article 2 and as provided for in Articles 4, 7, 11, 14, 24, and 
26.
    Articles 4 to 10 address the safety of spent fuel. Article 
4 requires each Party to take appropriate steps to ensure that 
at all stages of spent fuel management, individuals, society, 
and the environment are adequately protected against 
radiological hazards. Without identifying specific steps the 
Parties should take, and thus leaving such steps to each 
Party's discretion, the Convention enumerates seven goals of 
these steps:

          (i) ensure that criticality and removal of residual 
        heat generated during spent fuel management are 
        adequately addressed;

          (ii) ensure that the generation of radioactive waste 
        associated with spent fuel management is kept to the 
        minimum practicable consistent with the type of fuel 
        cycle policy adopted;

          (iii) take into account interdependencies among the 
        different steps in spent fuel management;

          (iv) provide for effective protection of individuals, 
        society, and the environment, by applying at the 
        national level suitable protective methods as approved 
        by the regulatory body, in the framework of its 
        national legislation which has due regard to 
        internationally endorsed criteria and standards;

          (v) take into account the biological, chemical, and 
        other hazards that may be associated with spent fuel 
        management;

          (vi) strive to avoid actions that impose reasonably 
        predictable impacts on future generations greater than 
        those permitted for the current generation;

          (vii) aim to avoid imposing undue burdens on future 
        generations.

    Article 5 requires each Party to take the appropriate steps 
to review the safety of any existing spent fuel management 
facility and to ensure that, if necessary, all reasonably 
practicable improvements are made to upgrade facility safety.
    Article 6 addresses the siting of spent fuel management 
facilities. Parties are required to take the appropriate steps 
to ensure that procedures are established and implemented for a 
proposed spent fuel management facility: to evaluate all 
relevant site-related factors likely to affect the safety of 
the facility during its operating lifetime; to evaluate the 
likely safety impact of a proposed facility on individuals, 
society, and the environment; and to make such information 
public. Each Party must also take the steps to ensure that 
appropriate procedures are established and implemented, to 
consult Parties in the vicinity of a proposed facility likely 
to be affected by that facility and provide to them, upon 
request, general data to evaluate and assess the likely safety 
impact of the facility upon their own territory, and to ensure 
that these facilities do not have unacceptable effects on other 
Parties by following the general safety requirements of Article 
4.
    Article 7 sets forth obligations associated with the design 
and construction of a spent fuel management facility. Each 
Party is to take appropriate steps to ensure that the design 
and construction of a facility provides for suitable measures 
to limit possible radiation effects on individuals, society, 
and the environment, including those from discharges or 
uncontrolled releases. Each Party must also take the 
appropriate measures to ensure that experience, testing, or 
analysis support technologies incorporated in the design and 
construction of such a facility. Conceptual plans and, as 
necessary, technical provisions for decommissioning must be 
taken into account at the design stage.
    Article 8 obligates each Party to take the appropriate 
steps to ensure that systematic safety and environmental 
assessments appropriate to the hazard presented by the facility 
and covering its operating lifetime are carried out before the 
construction of a spent fuel management facility. These 
assessments must be documented and subsequently updated when 
deemed necessary before the operation of the facility.
    Addressing the safety of operation of spent fuel management 
facilities, Article 9 requires each Party to take the 
appropriate steps to ensure that the license to operate a 
facility is based on the assessments specified in Article 8 and 
is conditions on a commissioning program demonstrating that the 
facility, as constructed, is consistent with design and safety 
requirements. Parties must also take appropriate measures to 
ensure that operational limits and conditions derived from the 
Article 8 safety assessments, tests, and operational experience 
are defined, and revised as necessary. Operation, maintenance, 
monitoring, inspection, and testing of spent fuel facilities 
are to be conducted in accordance with established procedures. 
Under subparagraphs (iv) and (v) of Article 9, Parties must 
also take appropriate steps to ensure that engineering and 
technical support is available in all safety-related fields 
throughout the operating lifetime of the facility, and that 
incidents significant to safety are reported to the regulatory 
body in a timely manner by the holder of the relevant license. 
Subparagraph (vi) obligates Parties to take appropriate steps 
to establish programs to collect and analyze relevant operating 
data. They must also ensure that conclusions of the analysis 
are acted upon where appropriate. Lastly, Parties are required 
under subparagraph (vii) to ensure decommissioning plans for a 
spent fuel management facility are prepared and updated, as 
necessary, using information obtained during the operating 
lifetime of the facility, and reviewed by the regulatory body.
    Under Article 10, if a Party, pursuant to its own 
legislative and regulatory framework, has designated spent fuel 
for disposal, the disposal of such spent fuel must be in 
accordance with the Convention obligations relating to the 
disposal of radioactive waste (Articles 11 to 17).
    Articles 11 to 17 address the safety of radioactive waste 
management. Article 11 requires Parties to take the appropriate 
steps to ensure that at all stages of radioactive waste 
management individuals, society, and the environment are 
adequately protected against radiological and other hazards. 
These steps must:

          (i) ensure that criticality and removal of residual 
        heat generated during radioactive waste management are 
        adequately addressed;

          (ii) ensure that the generation of radioactive waste 
        is kept to the minimum practicable;

          (iii) take into account interdependencies among the 
        different steps in radioactive waste management;

          (iv) provide for effective protection of individuals, 
        society, and the environment, by applying at the 
        national level suitable protective methods as approved 
        by the regulatory body, in the framework of its 
        national legislation which has due regard to 
        internationally endorsed criteria and standards;

          (v) take into account the biological, chemical, and 
        other hazards that may be associated with radioactive 
        waste management;

          (vi) strive to avoid actions that impose reasonably 
        predicable impacts on future generations greater than 
        those permitted for the current generation;

          (vii) aim to avoid imposing undue burdens on future 
        generations.

    Under Article 12, each Party is in due course to take the 
appropriate steps to review the safety of radioactive waste 
management facilities existing at the time the Convention 
enters into force for that Party. All reasonably practicable 
improvements are to be made to upgrade the safety of the 
facility. Article 12 also requires that the results of past 
practices be reviewed to determine whether any intervention is 
needed for reasons of radiation protection, bearing in mind 
that the reduction in detriment resulting from the reduction in 
dose should be sufficient to justify the harm and the costs, 
including the social costs, of the intervention.
    Article 13 addresses the siting of radioactive waste 
management facilities. Parties are required to take the 
appropriate steps to ensure that procedures are established and 
implemented for a proposed management facility to evaluate (1) 
all relevant site-related factors likely to affect the safety 
of the facility during its operating lifetime as well as that 
of a disposal facility after closure, and (2) the likely safety 
impact of a proposed facility on individuals, society, and the 
environment, and to make information on the safety of such a 
facility public.
    Each Party must also take the appropriate steps to ensure 
that procedures are established and implemented for consulting 
Parties in the vicinity of a proposed facility likely to be 
affected by that facility and providing to them, upon their 
request, general data to evaluate the likely safety impact of 
the facility upon their own territory. Parties must also take 
the appropriate steps to ensure that such facilities do not 
have unacceptable effects on other Parties by being sited in 
accordance with the general safety requirements of Article 11.
    Article 14 addresses the design and construction of 
radioactive waste management facilities. This article obligates 
a Party to take appropriate steps to ensure that the design and 
construction of a facility provides for suitable measures to 
limit possible radiation impacts on individuals, society, and 
the environment, including discharges or uncontrolled releases. 
Conceptional plans and, as necessary, technical provisions for 
the decommissioning and closure of the facility must also be 
taken into account at the design stage. Each Party must also 
take appropriate steps to ensure that experience, testing, or 
analysis supports technologies incorporated in the design stage 
and construction of a management facility.
    Article 15 obligates each Party to take measures to ensure 
that systematic safety and environmental assessments, 
appropriate to the hazard presented by the radioactive waste 
management facility covering its lifetime, are carried out 
before the construction of the facility. Similar assessments 
must also be carried out before construction for the period 
following closure. In addition, the results of such assessments 
must be evaluated against criteria established by the 
appropriate regulatory body. Before the operation of a 
radioactive waste management facility, updated and detailed 
versions of the safety assessment and of the environmental 
assessment must be prepared when deemed necessary to complement 
the assessments referred to above.
    Article 16 concerns the operational safety of radioactive 
waste management facilities. It requires each Party to take the 
appropriate steps to ensure that the license to operate the 
facility is based upon the safety assessments specified in 
Article 15, conditioned on a commissioning program, that 
demonstrates the facility, as constructed, is consistent with 
design and safety requirements. Parties must also institute 
measures to ensure that operational limits and conditions 
derived from the Article 15 safety analysis, tests, and 
operational experience are defined, and revised as necessary, 
for identifying safe boundaries for operation. The operation, 
maintenance, monitoring, inspection, and testing of radioactive 
waste management facilities are to be conducted in accordance 
with approved procedures, and the results thus obtained used to 
verify and to review the validity of assumptions made and to 
update the assessments as specified in Article 15 for the 
period after closure.
    Under subparagraphs of Article 16, Parties must also take 
appropriate steps to ensure that engineering and technical 
support is available in all safety-related fields throughout 
the operating lifetime of the facility, that incidents 
significant to safety are reported in a timely manner by the 
license holder to the regulatory body, and that procedures for 
characterization and segregation of radioactive waste are 
applied. Subparagraph (vii) obligates Parties to take 
appropriate steps to establish programs to collect and analyze 
relevant operating data and that they ensure that conclusions 
of the analysis are acted upon, where appropriate. Parties are 
required under subparagraphs (viii) and (ix), to ensure 
decommissioning and closure plans for radioactive management 
facilities and disposal facilities, respectively, are prepared 
and updated, as necessary, using information obtained during 
the operating lifetime of the facility. The regulatory body 
must also review these plans.
    Article 17 sets forth the conditions for closure of a 
disposal facility, including record keeping (location, design, 
and inventory), and active or passive institutional controls. 
Parties are to take the appropriate steps to ensure that after 
closure, and during any period of active institutional 
controls, if an unplanned release of radioactive materials into 
the environment is detected, intervention measures are 
implemented, if necessary.
    Articles 18 to 26 address the Convention's General Safety 
Provisions. Article 18 requires each Party to take, within the 
framework of its national law, the legislative, regulatory, and 
administrative measures, and other steps necessary, to 
implement its obligations under the Convention.
    Under Article 19, each Party is obligated to establish and 
maintain a legislative and regulatory framework to govern the 
safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management. The 
framework must provide for the establishment of applicable 
national safety requirements and regulations for radiation 
safety; a system of licensing; the prohibition of the operation 
of facilities without a license; a system of institutional 
control, regulatory inspection; documentation and reporting; 
the enforcement of regulations and the terms of licenses; and a 
clear allocation of responsibilities of bodies involved. When 
considering whether to regulate radioactive materials as 
radioactive waste, Parties must take due account of the 
objectives of the Convention.
    Article 20 requires each Party to establish or designate a 
regulatory body entrusted with the implementation of the 
legislative and regulatory framework created under Article 19, 
to provide that body with adequate authority, competence, 
financial and human resources, and to ensure its effective 
independence in the performance of regulatory functions.
    Under Article 21, each Party is obligated to ensure that 
the prime responsibility for the safety of spent fuel and 
radioactive waste management rests with the holder of the 
relevance license and to take the appropriate steps to ensure 
that each license holder meets its responsibility. If there is 
no such license holder, the responsibility rests with the Party 
having jurisdiction over spent fuel or radioactive waste.
    Article 22 requires each Party to take the appropriate 
steps to ensure that qualified staff are available, as needed, 
for safety-related activities during the operating lifetime of 
a spent fuel and radioactive waste management facility. This 
Article also requires that appropriate steps be taken to ensure 
that adequate financial resources are available to support the 
safety of facilities during their operating lifetime, for 
decommissioning, and for institutional controls and monitoring 
arrangements following closure of a disposal facility for 
whatever period deemed necessary.
    Under Article 23, each Party must take the appropriate 
steps to ensure that safety quality assurance programs are 
established and implemented.
    Article 24 requires Parties to take the appropriate steps 
to ensure that during the operating lifetime of a spent fuel or 
radioactive waste management facility, the radiation exposure 
of the workers and the public caused by the facility shall be 
kept as low as reasonably achievable and that no individual 
shall be exposed in normal situations to radiation doses 
exceeding prescribed national dose limits with due regard to 
internationally endorsed standards on radiation protection. 
This Article also obligates each Party to take the appropriate 
steps to prevent unplanned or uncontrolled releases of 
radioactive material into the environment. Each Party must also 
take the appropriate steps to ensure that during the operating 
lifetime of a regulated nuclear facility, in the event that an 
unplanned or uncontrolled release of radioactive materials into 
the environment occurs, appropriate corrective measures are 
implemented to control the release and mitigate its effects.
    Under Article 25, each Party must ensure that before and 
during operation of a spent fuel or radioactive waste 
management facility, there are appropriate on-site and, if 
necessary, off-site emergency plans covering the activities to 
be carried out in the event of an emergency. Emergency plans 
are to be routinely tested, and each Party must take 
appropriate steps for the preparation and testing of emergency 
plans for its territory insofar as it is likely to be affected 
in the event of a radiological emergency at a facility in the 
vicinity of its territory.
    With respect to safe decommissioning, under Article 26, 
each Party is to take appropriate steps to ensure that 
qualified staff and adequate financial resources are available, 
the radiation protection principles in Article 24 are applied, 
emergency preparedness provisions in Article 25 are applied, 
and records important to decommissioning are kept.
    Under Article 27, each Party involved in transboundary 
movement is to ensure that such movement is undertaken in a 
manner consistent with this Convention and relevant binding 
international instruments. In this connection, Parties 
undertake to take appropriate steps, to ensure authorized 
transboundary movement only with prior notification and consent 
of the State of destination. Under international law, 
notification to or authorization of coastal States is not 
required for passage through territorial seas and exclusive 
economic zones (EEZs); as a result prior notification of a 
State of transit is not required. Movement through States of 
transit is subject to those international obligations, which 
are relevant to the particular modes of transport utilized 
(e.g. IAEA Standards on the Safety of the Transport of 
Radioactive Materials). A Party which is a State of destination 
must consent to a transboundary movement only if it has the 
administrative and technical capacity, as well as the 
regulatory structure, needed to manage the spent fuel or the 
radioactive waste in a manner consistent with the Convention. A 
Party, which is a State of origin, must authorize a 
transboundary movement only if it can satisfy itself in 
accordance with the consent of the State of destination that 
the State of destination requirements are met prior to 
transboundary movement. A Party which is a State of origin must 
take the appropriate steps to permit re-entry into its 
territory, if a transboundary movement is not or cannot be 
completed in conformity with this Article, unless an 
alternative safe arrangement can be made.
    Article 27 also prohibits Parties from licensing the 
shipment of spent fuel or radioactive waste to a destination 
south of latitude 60 degrees South (the Antarctic region) for 
storage or disposal. This Article further provides that nothing 
in the Convention prejudices or affects: (1) the exercise, by 
ships and aircraft of all States, of maritime, river, and air 
navigation rights and freedoms, as provided for in 
international law; (2) rights of a Party to which radioactive 
waste is exported for processing to return, or provide for the 
return of, the radioactive waste and other products after 
treatment to the State of origin; (3) the right of a Party to 
export its spent fuel for reprocessing; and (4) rights of a 
Party to which spent fuel is exported for reprocessing to 
return, or provide for the return of, radioactive waste and 
other products resulting from reprocessing operations to the 
State of origin.
    Article 28 requires that each Party, within the framework 
of its national law, take steps to ensure that the possession, 
remanufacturing or disposal of disused sealed sources takes 
place in a safe manner and to allow for reentry for disposal, 
if in the framework of its national law, it has accepted that 
they be returned to a manufacturer qualified to receive and 
possess the disused sealed sources.
    Articles 29, 30, and 31 establish timetables for meetings 
of the Parties. Article 29 provides for a Preparatory Meeting 
to be held not later than 6 months after the date of entry into 
force of this Convention. At that meeting, Contracting Parties 
will establish a date for the first Review Meeting, to be held 
not later than 30 months after the date of entry into force, 
and prepare and adopt Rules of Procedure and Financial Rules. 
Guidelines are to be established regarding the form and 
structure of the national reports, a date of submission of such 
reports, and the process for reviewing reports. Article 29 
allows any State or regional organization of an integration or 
other nature which ratifies, accepts, approves, accedes to or 
confirms this Convention and for which the Convention is not 
yet in force may attend the preparatory meeting as if it were a 
Party to the Convention.
    Article 30 provides for Review Meetings of the Parties for 
the purpose of reviewing the national reports submitted 
pursuant to Article 32. At these meetings, each Party is to 
have a reasonable opportunity to discuss and seek clarification 
of the national reports submitted by others. At each Review 
Meeting, the Parties must also determine the date for the 
succeeding Review Meeting, at an interval of no more than 3 
years and, if appropriate, amend by consensus the Rules of 
Procedure and the Financial Rules.
    Article 31 specifies that Extraordinary Meetings of the 
Parties shall be held only if agreed to by a majority of the 
Parties present and voting at a meeting, or at the timely 
written request of a Party, to the other Parties and the 
Secretariat, which is supported by a majority of the Parties.
    Article 32 obligates each Party to submit for review, prior 
to each Article 30 Review Meeting, a report on the measures it 
has taken to implement its obligations under the Convention. 
Reports must address or include the following:

          (i) spent fuel management policy;

          (ii) spent fuel management practices;

          (iii) radioactive waste management policy;

          (iv) radioactive waste mangement practices;

          (v) criteria used to define and categorize 
        radioactive waste;

          (vi) a list of spent fuel management facilities 
        subject to this Convention, their location, main 
        purpose, and essential features;

          (vii) an inventory of spent fuel that is subject to 
        this Convention and that is being held in storage and 
        of that which has been disposed of and, if available, 
        information on its mass and its total activity;

          (viii) a list of radioactive waste management 
        facilities subject to this Convention, their location, 
        main purpose and essential features;

          (ix) an inventory of radioactive waste that is 
        subject to this Convention that is being held in 
        storage at radioactive waste management and nuclear 
        fuel cycle facilities, has been disposed of, or has 
        resulted from past practices, including available 
        information such as volume or mass, activity, and 
        specific radionuclides;

          (x) a list of nuclear facilities in the process of 
        being decommissioned and the status of decommissioning 
        activities at those facilities.

    Article 33 provides that each Party must attend meetings of 
the Parties and be represented at such meetings by one 
delegate, and by alternates, experts, and advisers as it deems 
necessary. Parties may, by consensus, invite 
intergoverernmental organizations to attend, as observers, any 
meetings or specific sessions thereof, who are competent in 
matters relating to the Convention, provided they accept in 
writing the provisions of Article 36.
    Under Article 34, summary reports addressing the issues 
discussed and conclusions reached during a meeting are to be 
adopted by the Parties by consensus and made available to the 
public.
    Article 35 specifies that the languages of meetings in the 
Parties are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and 
Spanish, unless otherwise provided in the Rules of Procedure 
(Article 29). Reports may be prepared in the national language 
of the submitting Party, or in a single designated language 
agreed upon in the Rules of Procedure, although in the former 
case the Party must also provide a translation into the 
designated language.
    Article 36 provides that the Convention does not affect the 
rights and obligations of the Parties under their own laws to 
protect information from disclosure. Information is defined to 
include, inter alia, personal data, information protected by 
intellectual property rights or industrial or commercial 
confidentiality, and information relating to national security 
and physical protection of nuclear materials. When, in the 
context of the Convention, a Party provides information 
identified by it as protected, such information is to be used 
only for the purposes for which it has been provided and its 
confidentiality is to be respected. Similarly, the contents of 
discussions of national reports held at Review Meetings are to 
be kept confidential.
    With respect to information relating to spent fuel or 
radioactive waste falling within the scope of this convention 
by virtue of paragraph 3 of Article 3, Article 36 provides for 
exclusive discretion of a concerned Party to decide: (1) 
whether such information is classified or otherwise controlled 
to preclude release; (2) whether to provide such information in 
the context of the Convention; and (3) what conditions of 
confidentiality are attached to such information if it is 
provided in the context of the Convention.
    Under Article 37, the Secretariat functions for meetings of 
the Parties under the Convention are to be provided by the 
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA is to pay 
the costs of performing these functions out of its regular 
budget. The Secretariat's duties are to convene, prepare, and 
service the meetings of the Parties, and transmit to the 
Parties information received or prepared under the Convention.
    Article 38 addresses dispute resolution. In the event of a 
disagreement between Parties concerning the interpretation or 
application of the Convention, the Parties must consult within 
the framework of a meeting of the Parties with a view to 
resolving the disagreement by consensus. If those consultations 
do not resolve the disagreement, then Article 38 provides that 
recourse can be made to the mediation, conciliation, and 
arbitration mechanisms provided for in international law, 
including the rules and practices prevailing within the IAEA. 
During the Diplomatic Conference in 1997 that considered and 
adopted the Convention, it was made clear during the 
discussions leading to the adoption of the final text of 
Article 38 that the words ``recourse can be made'' were 
deliberately chosen to avoid any implication that the dispute 
resolution mechanisms referred to in the Article were 
mandatory. Thus, Article 38 does not commit the United States 
to binding mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.
    As provided in Article 39, the Convention was opened for 
signature by all States at the Headquarters of the IAEA in 
Vienna on September 29, 1997. After the Convention has entered 
into force, it is to be open for accession. Under this Article, 
regional organizations constituted by sovereign States and with 
competence in respect of negotiation, conclusion, and 
application of international agreements in matters covered by 
this Convention may become Parties to the Convention. In 
matters within their competence, which shall be detailed in a 
declaration communicated to the Convention's depositary, such 
organizations may exercise the rights and fulfill the 
responsibilities of the Convention on their own behalf, but do 
not have any vote additional to those of their member States.
    Article 40 provides that the Convention will enter into 
force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit with the 
Depositary of the twenty-fifth instrument of ratification, 
acceptance or approval, including the instruments of fifteen 
States each having an operational nuclear power plant. It will 
enter into force for each additional adhering State or regional 
organization on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit 
with the Depositary of the appropriate instrument by such a 
State or organization.
    Procedures for amendment of the Convention are included in 
Article 41. Under Article 41, any Party may propose an 
amendment to this Convention. Proposed amendments must be 
considered at a Review Meeting or at an Extraordinary Meeting. 
The text of any proposed amendment must be communicated by the 
Depositary to the Parties at least 90 days before the meeting 
for which it is submitted for consideration. The Parties may 
adopt the proposed amendment by consensus, or, in the absence 
of consensus, provided that at least one half of the Parties 
are present at the time of voting, may decide, by a two-thirds 
majority vote of the Parties present and voting, to submit the 
proposed amendment to a Diplomatic Conference. The Conference 
shall make every effort to ensure that amendments are adopted 
by consensus. However, should that not be possible, amendments 
are adopted by a two-thirds majority of all Parties. All 
amendments are subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or 
confirmation by the Parties and shall enter into force for 
those Parties having satisfied or otherwise accepted the 
amendment 90 days after two-thirds of the Parties have 
deposited instruments of acceptance. Amendments will only enter 
into force for other Parties 90 days after that Party has 
deposited its relevant instruments accepting the amendment.
    Under Article 42, a Party may denounce the Convention by 
written notification to the Depositary, effective one year 
following the Depositary's receipt of the notification or at 
such later date as specified in the notification.
    Under Article 43, the IAEA Director General is the 
Depositary of the Convention, charged with the duty of 
notifying all Parties of signatures and deposits of instruments 
in accordance with Article 39; the date on which the Convention 
enters into force; notifications of denunciation under Article 
42; and proposed amendments under Article 41.
    Under Article 44 the original of the Convention, of which 
the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish 
texts are equally authentic, must be deposited with the 
Depositary.

                     VI. Resolution of Ratification

    The resolution of ratification, with its conditions, is as 
follows:

    Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring 
therein),

SECTION 1. SENATE ADVICE AND CONSENT SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS.

    The Senate advises and consents to the ratification of 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 (Treaty Document 106-48), subject to the 
conditions of section 2.

SEC. 2. CONDITIONS.

    The advice and consent of the Senate to ratification of the 
Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the 
Safety of Radioactive Waste Management is subject to the 
following conditions, which shall be binding upon the 
President:
          (1) Commitment to request and review reports.--Not 
        later than 45 days after the deposit of the United 
        States instrument of ratification, the President shall 
        certify to the appropriate committees of Congress that 
        the United States will:
                  (A) request copies of all national reports 
                submitted pursuant to Article 32 of the 
                Convention; and
                  (B) comment in each review meeting held 
                pursuant to Article 30 of the Convention 
                (including each meeting of a subgroup) upon 
                aspects of safety significance in any report 
                submitted pursuant to Article 32 of the 
                Convention by a Contracting Party that is 
                receiving United States financial or technical 
                assistance relating to the improvement of its 
                nuclear and radiological safety and security 
                practices.
          (2) Complete review of information by the legislative 
        branch of government.--
                  (A) Understanding.--The United States 
                understands that neither Article 36 nor any 
                other provision of the Convention shall be 
                construed as limiting the access of the 
                legislative branch of the United States 
                Government to any information relating to the 
                operation of the Convention, including access 
                to information described in Article 36 of the 
                Convention.
                  (B) Protection of information.--The Senate 
                understands that the confidentiality of 
                information provided by other Contracting 
                Parties that is properly identified as 
                protected pursuant to Article 36 of the 
                Convention will be respected.
                  (C) Certification.--Not later than 45 days 
                after the deposit of the United States 
                instrument of ratification, the President shall 
                certify to the appropriate committees of 
                Congress that the Comptroller General of the 
                United States shall be given full and complete 
                access to--
                          (i) all information in the possession 
                        of the United States Government 
                        specifically relating to the operation 
                        of the Convention that is submitted by 
                        any other Contracting Party pursuant to 
                        Article 32 of the Convention, including 
                        any report or document; and
                          (ii) information specifically 
                        relating to any review or analysis by 
                        any department, agency, or other entity 
                        of the United States, or any official 
                        thereof, undertaken pursuant to Article 
                        30 of the Convention, of any report or 
                        document submitted by any other 
                        Contracting Party.
                  (D) Reports to congress.--Upon the request of 
                the chairman of either of the appropriate 
                committees of Congress, the President shall 
                submit to the respective committee an 
                unclassified report, and a classified annex as 
                appropriate, detailing--
                          (i) how the objective of a high level 
                        of nuclear and radiological safety and 
                        security has been furthered by the 
                        operation of the Convention;
                          (ii) with respect to the operation of 
                        the Convention on an Article-by-Article 
                        basis--
                                  (I) the situation addressed 
                                in the Article of the 
                                Convention;
                                  (II) the results achieved 
                                under the Convention in 
                                implementing the relevant 
                                obligation under that Article 
                                of the Convention; and
                                  (III) the plans and measures 
                                for corrective action on both a 
                                national and international 
                                level to achieve further 
                                progress in implementing the 
                                relevant obligation under that 
                                Article of the Convention; and
                          (iii) on a country-by-country basis, 
                        for each Contracting Party that is 
                        receiving United States financial or 
                        technical assistance relating to 
                        nuclear or radiological safety or 
                        security improvement--
                                  (I) a list of all nuclear 
                                facilities within the country, 
                                including those installations 
                                operating, closed, and planned, 
                                and an identification of those 
                                nuclear facilities where 
                                significant corrective action 
                                is found necessary by 
                                assessment;
                                  (II) a review of all safety 
                                or security assessments 
                                performed and the results of 
                                those assessments for existing 
                                nuclear facilities;
                                  (III) a review of the safety 
                                and security of each nuclear 
                                facility using facility-
                                specific data and analysis 
                                showing trends of safety or 
                                security significance and 
                                illustrated by particular 
                                issues at each facility;
                                  (IV) a review of the position 
                                of the country as to the 
                                further operation of each 
                                nuclear facility in the 
                                country;
                                  (V) an evaluation of the 
                                adequacy and effectiveness of 
                                the national legislative and 
                                regulatory framework in place 
                                in the country, including an 
                                assessment of the licensing 
                                system, inspection, assessment, 
                                and enforcement procedures 
                                governing the safety and 
                                security of nuclear facilities;
                                  (VI) a description of the 
                                country's on-site and off-site 
                                emergency preparedness; and
                                  (VII) the amount of financial 
                                and technical assistance 
                                relating to nuclear or 
                                radiological safety or security 
                                improvement expended as of the 
                                date of the report by the 
                                United States, including, to 
                                the extent feasible, an 
                                itemization by nuclear 
                                facility, and the amount 
                                intended for expenditure by the 
                                United States on each such 
                                facility in the future.
          (3) Treaty interpretation.--The Senate reaffirms 
        condition (8) of the resolution of ratification of the 
        Document Agreed Among the States Parties to the Treaty 
        on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) of 
        November 19, 1990 (adopted at Vienna on May 31, 1996), 
        approved by the Senate on May 14, 1997, relating to 
        condition (1) of the resolution of ratification of the 
        Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, 
        approved by the Senate on May 27, 1988.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this resolution:
          (1) Appropriate committees of congress.--The term 
        ``appropriate committees of Congress'' means the 
        Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the 
        Committee on International Relations of the House of 
        Representatives.
          (2) Contracting party.--The term ``Contracting 
        Party'' means any nation that is a party to the 
        Convention.
          (3) Convention.--The term ``Convention'' means the 
        Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and 
        on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, done at 
        Vienna on September 5, 1997 (Treaty Document 106-48).
          (4) Nuclear facility.--The term ``nuclear facility'' 
        has the meaning given the term in Article 2(f) of the 
        Convention.
          (5) United states instrument of ratification.--The 
        term ``United States instrument of ratification'' means 
        the instrument of ratification of the United States of 
        the Convention.

                              ----------                              


       VII. Administration Statements and Supplementary Material


   WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. RICHARD J. K. STRATFORD, SENATE FOREIGN 
             RELATIONS COMMITTEE HEARING OF MARCH 19, 2003

    Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee I appreciate this 
opportunity to discuss with you the importance of timely Senate 
action on the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel 
Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. 
We greatly appreciate your scheduling a hearing on this 
important Convention. On September 13, 2000, the prior 
Administration sent the Joint Convention to the Senate for 
advice and consent. This Administration fully supports the 
Joint Convention and also desires your advice and consent to 
the ratification of the Convention, so that the United States 
can participate in worldwide efforts to ensure the safety of 
spent fuel and radioactive waste management for the benefit of 
current and future generations. A favorable action at this time 
is necessary, so that the United States can join the Parties as 
they gather this year to implement the Joint Convention. 
Otherwise we will be excluded from the process.
    The Joint Convention is a companion convention to the 
Convention on Nuclear Safety 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. With the United 
States' participation, the Convention on Nuclear Safety is 
successfully raising the level of nuclear safety at civilian 
nuclear power plants throughout the world. It is the goal of 
the Joint Convention to extend similar efforts to spent nuclear 
fuel and waste management facilities.
    The objectives of the Joint Convention are to achieve and 
maintain a high level of nuclear safety worldwide in spent 
nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management through the 
enhancement of national measures and international cooperation, 
to ensure that at all stages of spent fuel and radioactive 
waste management there are effective safety measures against 
potential radiological hazards so that current and future 
generations are protected, to prevent accidents with 
radiological consequences and to mitigate effects should such 
accidents occur.
    The United States played a key role in developing the Joint 
Convention, and ratification will ensure our continued 
leadership in its worldwide implementation. The Joint 
Convention was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference convened by 
the International Atomic Energy Agency in September 1997. The 
United States was the first nation to sign the Joint 
Convention, when the U.S. Secretary of Energy signed it at the 
International Atomic Energy Agency's General Conference on 
September 29, 1997. To date, 42 nations have signed the Joint 
Convention, of which 30 nations have become Parties to it. The 
Joint Convention entered into force on June 18, 2001, after the 
requisite 25 nations became Parties, including at least 15 
nations that had an operational nuclear power plant. The 
following nations are currently Parties to the Joint 
Convention: Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, 
Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, 
Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Republic of Korea, Latvia, 
Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, 
Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and 
United Kingdom. In addition to the United States, the following 
nations have signed the treaty, but have yet to ratify, accept, 
or approve it: Australia, Brazil, Estonia, Indonesia, Italy, 
Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Peru, Philippines, and the 
Russian Federation.
    The Joint Convention is important to U.S. foreign policy. 
It supports safety as the top priority in use of nuclear power 
worldwide. It promotes the safe operation of spent nuclear fuel 
and radioactive waste management facilities and the application 
of radiation protection principles. It is an incentive 
convention that was carefully drafted to encourage 
participation by countries, such as the Newly Independent 
States and Central and Eastern European countries, so that they 
can adhere to the Joint Convention even as they develop their 
domestic infrastructure. The Joint Convention provides a 
mechanism for the United States to continue to work with other 
countries to promote objectives, consistent with U.S. policies 
and the U.S. legislative and regulatory framework, that ensure 
the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management for 
the benefit of current and future generations. By becoming a 
Party to the Joint Convention, the United States will have an 
opportunity to: review and benefit from the experience of other 
nations, promote and help influence a stable technical 
environment, safety programs, and regulatory system in 
developing countries; identify possible areas for bilateral and 
multilateral technical and regulatory cooperation; and 
strengthen the worldwide safety culture, including the 
management of radioactive waste, to minimize the threat of the 
malicious use of radioactive waste, as may occur with disused 
sealed sources.
    Based on the successful format of the Convention on Nuclear 
Safety, the Joint Convention establishes a series of broad 
commitments with respect to the safe management of spent 
nuclear fuel and radioactive waste without prescribing specific 
or mandatory standards for its Parties. Parties to the Joint 
Convention are required to take appropriate steps to bring 
their activities into compliance with the Convention's general 
obligations related to the safety of spent fuel and radioactive 
waste management. However, the specific steps that Parties 
should take are not prescribed but are left to each Party's 
discretion. In addition, the Joint Convention adopts a review 
process similar to that established in the Convention on 
Nuclear Safety to apply to spent nuclear fuel and radioactive 
waste management activities. Each Party is obligated to prepare 
a national report covering the scope of the Joint Convention 
and subject it to review by other Parties. Such review has 
proven very successful for implementation of the Convention on 
Nuclear Safety.
    The Joint Convention applies to spent nuclear fuel 
resulting from operation of civilian nuclear reactors, 
radioactive waste from civilian applications, and disused 
radioactive sealed sources. For such material, the Joint 
Convention seeks to ensure safety is a consideration in 
virtually all aspects, including the legislative and regulatory 
framework, operational radiation protection, management of 
nuclear facilities, decommissioning, emergency preparedness, 
and transport between nations. The Joint Convention does not 
apply to naturally occurring radioactive materials, unless the 
Party declares this material as waste for purposes of the Joint 
Convention.
    The Joint Convention does not apply to military radioactive 
waste or military spent nuclear fuel unless the Contracting 
Party declares it as waste for purposes of the Convention. The 
Joint Convention does apply to military radioactive waste or 
military spent nuclear fuel that is permanently transferred to 
and managed within exclusively civilian programs. In this way, 
the Joint Convention ensures that national security is not 
compromised and Parties have absolute discretion as to what 
information is reported from military sources. In the United 
States, military radioactive waste is disposed of at U.S. 
Department of Energy facilities, and military spent nuclear 
fuel will eventually be disposed of in a Department of Energy 
geologic repository along with civilian spent fuel and defense 
high-level waste. The U.S. national report will cover the 
military radioactive waste that has been transferred to an 
exclusively civilian program, and will not cover military spent 
nuclear fuel that has not been transferred to and managed 
within exclusively civilian programs. The Joint Convention will 
not affect U.S. military operations in any way, nor will 
classified information be included in the U.S. national report.
    The Joint Convention is non-controversial and has broad 
support from U.S. industry groups and U.S. States. It has the 
full support of the Department of State, the Department of 
Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission. There is no overlap or duplication of 
efforts with any other international convention or agreement. 
In addition to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint 
Convention is complementary to the Basel Convention on the 
Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their 
Disposal and the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine 
Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter.
    As a Party to the Joint Convention, the United States would 
be represented by a delegate, a representative of the 
Department of State, with alternate delegates from the 
Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Consistent with its foreign 
policy responsibilities, the State Department will lead U.S. 
representation at meetings of the Parties and coordinate 
activities with Congress. The Department of Energy is the lead 
agency responsible for collection of information and 
preparation of the U.S. national report and technical 
coordination with the other agencies, including review of other 
Parties' national reports. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
and the Environmental Protection Agency will provide 
information on the regulatory perspectives in the U.S. national 
report and will participate in reviews of other Parties' 
national reports. An interagency working group has been 
established to coordinate Joint Convention activities.
    The United States has taken the initial steps to prepare a 
national report in anticipation of becoming a Contracting 
Party. We do not envision any changes in our regulatory 
programs resulting from the Joint Convention. However, it is 
likely that information received through the constructive 
review and information exchange with other nations will help 
with our continuous improvement process.
    During the national report preparation process, the 
Department of Energy will use existing information so that 
there is no burden on governmental or commercial spent-fuel and 
waste management activities. The report will follow a format 
arrived at by consensus of the Parties. The Department of 
Energy will utilize information from existing sources, e.g., 
Spent Nuclear Fuel Database, Central Internet Database, 
Manifest Information Management System, and commercial spent 
fuel information available from the Office of Civilian 
Radioactive Waste Management.
    From December 10-14, 2001, the Joint Convention Parties 
convened a meeting in Vienna, Austria, to take the first steps 
in the reporting process. The United States was not in 
attendance because we had not ratified the Convention. During 
this meeting the Contracting Parties reached consensus on the 
procedures, report preparation schedule, report format, and 
review process details.
    An organizational meeting of the Parties is scheduled for 
April 7, 2003. This meeting is significant because it will 
determine the makeup of the review groups and the selection of 
a meeting Chairman and review group Chairmen. The first Review 
Meeting is scheduled to take place November 3, 2003. We 
anticipate that the Parties will be organized into subgroups of 
five to seven nations. Members of the subgroups will exchange 
reports for review and have an opportunity to ask questions and 
request clarification during the subgroup meetings. The process 
will allow written questions and comments to be made on all 
national reports, whether in the assigned subgroup or not, 
prior to the review meetings. Results of the subgroup meetings 
will be reported to a plenary review meeting, at which time all 
Parties will have an opportunity to further discuss the 
national reports. The plenary meeting will develop a summary 
review report for public release, addressing the issues 
discussed and conclusions reached without providing details 
from national reports or review debates. Following completion 
of this process, the next review meeting will be held within 3 
years.
    Let me next address the amount of resources required and 
availability of reports. Costs incurred once every 3 years may 
be considered to fall into three categories: (1) preparation of 
the U.S. national report, (2) preparation and participation by 
the four agencies in organizational and review meetings, and 
(3) review and analysis of other national reports. We expect to 
absorb these costs within each agency's budget and that 
expenditure will occur on a 3-year cycle.
    With regard to availability of information, the United 
States will receive national reports from members of the review 
subgroup and any other reports it requests. We will request a 
copy of all national reports be provided to the United States. 
Reports provided by Parties will be available to the Committee 
and General Accounting Office subject to any confidentiality 
conditions expressed by the Parties. Once submitted, the U.S. 
national report will be publicly available.
    The Parties to the Joint Convention are proceeding with the 
process of preparing national reports for the first review 
meeting. The Administration seeks advice and consent to the 
Joint Convention so that the United States can participate 
fully with the other Contracting Parties to accomplish the 
goals of this Convention. An organizational meeting of the 
Parties is scheduled for April 7, 2003. Although the United 
States cannot become a Party by that time, it expects to 
participate in the meeting if it has ratified the Joint 
Convention by that date. We are eager to continue the important 
U.S. role in promoting safety in worldwide spent nuclear fuel 
and radioactive waste management activities by fully 
participating in this process.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Joint 
Convention, and let me introduce my colleagues from the 
Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who are here with me to answer 
any questions that you may have.

                                ------                                


Interagency-Cleared Questions and Answers on the Convention, March 19, 
                                  2003


                               I. PURPOSE

    Question 1. What is the purpose of the Waste Convention?

    Answer. The purpose of the Waste Convention on the Safety 
of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste 
Management (Waste Convention) is to achieve a high level of 
safety worldwide in spent fuel and radioactive waste 
management. This is to be accomplished through the enhancement 
of national measures and international cooperation. It is 
anticipated that there will be a thorough examination of 
national programs through an exchange of views, so that 
Contracting Parties can learn from each other's solutions to 
common and individual safety problems. The process is viewed as 
a mechanism for contributing to improving worldwide safety.

    Question 2. Is there a relationship between the purpose of 
the Waste Convention and the Convention on Nuclear Safety 
(CNS)?

    Answer. Yes. The CNS, which establishes a legal obligation 
on the part of the Contracting Parties to apply certain safety 
principles to the construction, operation, and regulation of 
civilian nuclear power reactors, contains a preambular 
statement affirming a commitment by Parties to develop a 
similar convention on the safe management of radioactive waste. 
Together, the Waste Convention and the CNS formulate a joint 
mechanism to strengthen the worldwide safety culture.
    Both Conventions are consistent with U.S. policy. The 
United States became a Contracting Party to the CNS on July 10, 
1999 and signed the Waste Convention on September 29, 1997.

                               II. SCOPE

    Question 3. What is the scope of the Waste Convention?

    Answer. The Waste Convention applies to the safety of spent 
fuel and radioactive waste management resulting from civilian 
nuclear applications. It also covers such issues as radioactive 
waste management resulting from civil applications; disused 
sealed sources no longer needed; operational radiation 
protection; management of nuclear facilities; decommissioning; 
emergency preparedness; legislative and regulatory frameworks; 
and transboundary movement. It does not include naturally 
occurring radioactive materials (NORM), unless a Contracting 
Party declares it as radioactive waste for the purposes of the 
Waste Convention.

    Question 4. Does the Waste Convention apply to military 
radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel?

    Answer. The Waste Convention does not apply to a 
Contracting Party's military radioactive waste or spent nuclear 
fuel unless the Contracting Party declares it as spent nuclear 
fuel or radioactive waste for the purposes of the Convention. 
The Waste 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 Waste Convention contains provisions to ensure 
that national security is not compromised and that States 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 Waste Convention will not, however, affect 
ongoing U.S. military operations in any way, nor will 
classified information be covered in the U.S. national report.

    Question 5. Does the Waste Convention lay out international 
standards Contracting Parties must meet?

    Answer. No. The Waste Convention in and of itself does not 
delineate standards the Contracting Parties must meet. 
Contracting Parties are required to take ``appropriate steps'' 
to ensure safe management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive 
waste and to report on their activities as described within the 
articles of the Waste Convention.

    Question 6. What are the obligations of Waste Convention 
Contracting Parties with respect to internationally endorsed 
standards and criteria?

    Answer. The Waste Convention obligates Contracting Parties 
to consider internationally endorsed standards and criteria, 
however a Contracting Party is not bound by them in setting 
national protective methods and radiation standards which will 
govern even as to transboundary effects.

    Question 7. What are the Waste Conventions obligations with 
respect to transportation and how do they relate to the 
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Practice on 
International Movement of Radioactive Waste?

    Answer. Waste Convention obligations regarding 
transboundary movement are a restatement of relevant provisions 
of the non-legally-binding IAEA Code of Practice on 
International Movement of Radioactive Waste.

    Question 8. What are the implications of Article 27, 
Transboundary Movement, for:

   1(v): a Contracting Party which is a State of origin 
        shall take the appropriate steps to permit re-entry 
        into its territory, if a transboundary movement is not 
        or cannot be completed in conformity with this Article, 
        unless an alternative safe arrangement can be made.''

    Answer. A State of origin must take the appropriate steps 
to permit re-entry of a shipment that cannot be completed 
unless other safe arrangements can be made. This avoids 
situations of stranded shipments. The Convention recognizes 
that any State has the right to ban foreign radioactive waste 
and spent fuel import into its territory.

   ``3(ii): . . . a Contracting Party to which 
        radioactive waste is exported for processing to return, 
        or provide for the return of, the radioactive waste and 
        other products after treatment to the State of 
        origin;''

    Answer. The Convention does nothing to prejudice or affect 
the rights of the Contracting Party to return wastes to their 
State of origin.

   ``3(iii): . . . a Contracting Party to export its 
        spent fuel for reprocessing;''

    Answer. The Waste Convention does nothing to prejudice or 
affect this right. For U.S. origin fuel, other countries are 
required, under the terms of the applicable Agreement for 
Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation with the United States, to seek 
the consent of the United States prior to the export for 
reprocessing of any U.S.-obligated spend fuel. The Waste 
Convention has no effect upon these U.S. legal requirements nor 
does it affect U.S. consent rights under Agreements for 
Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation.
    Most international or regional facility proposals focus on 
the nuclear program in Taiwan and the Republic of Korea as 
potential customers. Switzerland and Japan have also been 
mentioned. The United States has retransfer consent rights on 
all the spent fuel on Taiwan and much of the spent fuel in the 
ROK. The United States also has certain consent rights over 
much of the fuel in Switzerland and Japan.

    Question 9. Does the Waste Convention's obligation to 
minimize radioactive waste generation limit a Contracting 
Party's nuclear fuel cycle options?

    Answer. No. Contracting Party obligations under the Waste 
Convention do not limit a Contracting Party's nuclear fuel 
cycle options or decisions to opt for higher enrichment or 
increased fuel burn up, even if options selected may generate 
more waste than other available options. The Convention 
explicitly states that this obligation is to keep the 
generation of wastes to the minimum practicable, consistent 
with the type of fuel cycle policy adopted.

    Question 10. Does the Waste Convention obligate a 
Contracting Party to obtain views, approval, or permission on 
the safety impacts of other Contracting Parties in the vicinity 
of a proposed spent fuel or radioactive waste facility?

    Answer. No. Although Contracting Parties in the vicinity of 
a proposed spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste facility 
should be consulted, and thus would have an opportunity to 
provide their views on the facility's likely safety impact, 
there is no requirement to obtain their views, approval or 
permission on the likely safety impact of a nearby proposed 
facility.

                      III. IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS

    Question 11. What are U.S. obligations under the terms of 
the Waste Convention?

    Answer. Structured similarly to the Convention on Nuclear 
Safety, the Waste Convention identifies a range of issues with 
respect to the safe management of spent nuclear fuel and 
radioactive waste and Contracting Parties commit to take 
appropriate steps to address such issues. The specific steps to 
be taken are left to each Contracting Party's discretion. In 
addition, as a Contracting Party to the Convention, the United 
States is obligated to submit a national report and participate 
in the review meetings on measures taken to meet Waste 
Convention commitments by the United States and other 
countries.

    Question 12. Who represents the United States at the Review 
meetings of the Contracting Parties?

    Answer. As a Contracting Party to the Convention, the 
United States would be represented by one delegate and any 
other alternates, experts, advisers, or observers as the United 
States deems necessary.

   The U.S. delegate would be a representative of the 
        Department of State.

   U.S. Alternate delegates would be representatives of 
        the Department of Energy (DOE), the Nuclear Regulatory 
        Commission (NRC), and the Environmental Protection 
        Agency (EPA).
   Experts and advisers may possibly be invited to be 
        part of the U.S. delegation if determined to be needed. 
        It is a possible, but not likely, that this could 
        include representatives from Non-Government 
        Organizations (NGO), industry, or utilities as 
        appropriate. Intergovernmental organizations may, as 
        appropriate, be invited to attend a meeting or session 
        as an observer.

    Question 13. The Convention entered into force June 18, 
2001, 90 days after adherence by 25 signatories, including 15 
which have an operational nuclear power plant. According to 
Article 29, a preparatory meeting is to be held not later than 
6 months after entry into force. Has a meeting been held and 
did the United States attend?

    Answer. Yes, a preparatory meeting was held in December 
2001. The United States, not having ratified the Convention, 
was not in attendance. An organizational meeting of the 
Contracting Parties is scheduled for April 7, 2003. Although 
the United States cannot become a Contracting Party by that 
time, it expects to participate in the meeting if it has 
ratified the Waste Convention before that date. The United 
States would need to be a Contracting Party to review national 
reports of other States and participate in the November 2003 
review meetings.

    Question 14. What happened at the preparatory meeting?

    Answer. In December 2001, the Contracting Parties met and 
agreed upon the guidelines for the form and structure of 
national reports; the guidelines for the review process; Rules 
of Procedure and Financial Rules.

    Question 15. What role do U.S. Agencies and Departments 
play in the Waste Convention process?

    Answer. The Departments of State and Energy, the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) all have responsibilities in support of U.S. 
participation in the Waste Convention process:

   U.S. Department of State
          The State Department's foreign policy 
        responsibilities include representation of the United 
        States to, and conducting negotiations with, other 
        countries and international organizations. These 
        responsibilities also include strengthening 
        Congressional and public understanding of, and support 
        for, the goals, objectives, and approaches of the 
        President and the Secretary in the area of foreign 
        policy. International peaceful nuclear cooperation 
        policy is primarily a foreign affairs issue. For that 
        reason, the State Department's function, in 
        implementation of the Waste Convention, is to lead the 
        U.S. delegation at meetings of the Contracting Parties.

   U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
          Implementation of U.S. obligations under the Waste 
        Convention will be carried out primarily by the DOE as 
        the U.S. agency responsible for the safe storage, 
        treatment, and disposition of the majority of U.S. 
        high-level radioactive waste, as well as low-level 
        radioactive waste generated by DOE. DOE is responsible 
        for the cleanup of the legacy waste from the Cold War 
        era. In this respect, DOE will be responsible for the 
        preparation of the U.S. national report and the 
        representation of this information. DOE will also be 
        responsible, for working with other U.S. agencies, in 
        the proposal and strategy for U.S. participation in the 
        Waste Convention.

   U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
          The NRC has responsibility for regulating all 
        commercial spent fuel storage and all spent fuel and 
        high-level radioactive disposal activities. NRC and/or 
        Agreement States (i.e., States to which the NRC has 
        relinquished regulatory authority over certain nuclear 
        activities and facilities) also have responsibility for 
        regulating waste management for commercial low-level 
        radioactive waste. NRC's role in implementation of U.S. 
        obligations under the Waste Convention is to provide 
        information on the regulatory perspective for spent 
        nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management for the 
        U.S. national report.

   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
          EPA establishes generally applicable environmental 
        standards for protection of the general environment 
        from radioactive material. In addition, EPA has 
        regulatory authority for storage, management, and 
        disposal of transuranic wastes at DOE's Waste Isolation 
        Pilot Plant (WIPP). EPA also is responsible for 
        implementation of the London Convention provisions 
        associated with prohibiting ocean dumping of 
        radioactive wastes. EPA's role in implementation of 
        U.S. commitments under the Waste Convention is to 
        provide information on the regulatory perspective for 
        transuranic waste management for the U.S. national 
        report.

            IV. NATIONAL REPORTS AND THE CONVENTION PROCESS

    Question 16. What is the process by which the Contracting 
Parties to the Waste Convention will review national reports?

    Answer. Contracting Parties are to submit national reports 
addressing measures taken to implement the obligations of the 
Convention, their relevant national policies and factual 
information about their facilities and materials. The 
Contracting Parties will hold meetings for the purpose of 
reviewing national reports. The first review meeting is to be 
held beginning November 3, 2003. The interval between review 
meetings is not to exceed three years.

    Question 17. How will the United States participate in the 
review of national reports of other countries at the review 
meeting?

    Answer. As currently proposed, the Contracting Parties are 
to be organized into subgroups of five to seven countries with 
a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and a Rapporteur. The United States 
will be assigned to a group. Membership of each group will be 
rotated from review meeting to review meeting. In subgroup 
meetings, members will exchange national reports for the 
purpose of conducting a detailed review. Each country will have 
a reasonable opportunity to ask questions and request 
clarification of reports submitted during meetings of the 
subgroups. The Rapporteur will prepare a reporting document, 
which will be used as the basis for a subgroup report to the 
Plenary Session.

    Question 18. Will the United States have an opportunity to 
comment on national reports from countries not in the U.S. 
assigned country subgroup?

    Answer. Yes. A Contracting Party has additional 
opportunities to comment on national reports of all other 
Contracting Parties, by sending written comments and questions 
before the review meeting, by attending the subgroup meeting in 
which a particular report is discussed, and by addressing a 
Plenary Session.
    However, the United States must first become a Contracting 
Party to be entitled to participate in the review of any 
Contracting Party's national report, unless the IAEA and the 
Contracting Party voluntarily permitted such a review.
    The guidelines adopted at the preparatory meeting (December 
2001) propose that the Contracting States should review all 
country reports. The review process allows formal comment by 
Contracting States on all reports, whether inside or outside 
the reporting group.

    Question 19. In the U.S. view, what countries have what 
problems?

    Answer. There is a wide range of problems and differences 
between States party to the Waste Convention. Some emerging 
nations have issues associated with lack of regulatory systems 
and requirements. Laws and regulations need to be structured to 
increase safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management 
if they do not exist. Not all countries have operational 
nuclear power plants and spent fuel, their problems will focus 
on waste management issues and disused sealed sources. Most 
nations, including the United States, have difficulties siting 
disposal facilities.

    Question 20. Will any activity under the Waste Convention, 
including U.S. advice or comments on other country national 
reports through the review process provide a basis for any U.S. 
liability?

    Answer. It is unlikely that adherence to the Waste 
Convention could provide a basis for United States government 
liability. The Convention does not purport to affect 
international nuclear liability. Under the Waste Convention, 
the responsibility for safety of spent fuel or radioactive 
waste management rests with the Contracting Party which has 
jurisdiction over the spent fuel or over the radioactive waste. 
The Waste Convention provides for no private right of action 
and does not waive the sovereign immunity of Contracting 
Parties.

    Question 21. Under Article 32, Reporting, for 2(ii) an 
inventory of spent fuel that is subject to this Convention and 
that is being held in storage and of that which has been 
disposed of. This inventory shall contain a description of the 
material and, if available, give information on its mass and 
its total activity; will the Russian Federation report include 
spent fuel inventories?

    Answer. Like the United States, the Russian Federation has 
not yet become a Contracting Party. Once they complete their 
ratification process and become a Contracting Party, the 
Russian Federation will be subject to the terms of Article 32, 
including the requirement to report its inventory of spent fuel 
held in storage or disposed of. Article 32 would also apply to 
any future regional or international repository in the Russian 
Federation.

    Question 22. Under Article 36, Confidentiality, what are 
the implications for Congressional information interests?

    Answer. Under the terms of Article 36, information will be 
available, but its confidentiality is to be respected. The 
Convention does not affect the rights and obligations of the 
Contracting Parties, under their laws, to protect information 
from disclosure. This includes a range from national security 
to industrial property protection. The Contracting Party has 
exclusive discretion to denote ``information'' as classified or 
otherwise controlled. The Administration will make information 
available to the fullest extent possible. The Convention on 
Nuclear Safety (CNS) will serve to some extent as a paradigm 
for implementation of the Waste Convention.

    Question 23. Will there be a review meeting summary report? 
Will it be available publicly?

    Answer. Yes. Under Article 34 of the Waste Convention, 
Contracting Parties are obligated to adopt by consensus, and 
make available to the public, a summary report addressing the 
issues discussed and the conclusions reached during the 
meeting. However, no specific national report will be 
identified, nor will details of debates be available. The 
summary report is prepared from the subgroup Rapporteur 
reports.

                    V. U.S. NATIONAL REPORT PROCESS

    Question 24. What is the process by which the United States 
will prepare a national report?

    Answer. Each Contracting Party is required to submit a 
national report for review on measures taken to meet its 
commitments under the articles of the Waste Convention, prior 
to the review meeting. The United States will follow the 
guidelines for the form and structure of national reports 
established by the Contracting Parties at the December 2001 
preparatory meeting.

   DOE will be the lead agency for preparation of the 
        U.S. national report in coordination with the NRC, EPA, 
        and the Department of State.

   The U.S. national report form and structure will be 
        closely modeled after the U.S. national report 
        submitted for the Convention on Nuclear Safety, 
        although the Waste Convention elaborates on the content 
        of the report in more detail than the CNS. Appendices 
        to the Report will include detailed data tables. 
        Generic summary documents, standard DOE, NRC, and EPA 
        documents, and other appropriate documents and reports 
        will be cited by reference.

   An interagency working group (IWG), The Executive 
        Steering Committee for the Convention on Spent Fuel and 
        Radioactive Waste Convention, chaired by the Department 
        of Energy, was established for the purpose of 
        coordinating U.S. Waste Convention activities in 
        anticipation of ratification and in preparation for the 
        review meetings. Other members include NRC, EPA, and 
        the Department of State.

    Question 25. Will Agreement States and Low-Level 
Radioactive Waste Compacts (Compacts are States that band 
together with a plan to have one disposal facility per compact 
in a selected host State) (Compacts), and others have an 
opportunity to review and comment on the U.S. national report 
prior to submittal?

    Answer. No formal opportunity for Agreement State or Low-
Level Radioactive Waste Compact review and comment of the U.S. 
national report is expected prior to submittal to the IAEA. 
Likewise, there is no obligation for review or comment on the 
part of any or all Agreement States or Compacts to contribute 
or review the U.S. national report or the report of any other 
Contracting Party.

    Question 26. Will the Comptroller General and the General 
Accounting Office have access to U.S. analyses and documents 
prepared under the Waste Convention Process?

    Answer. Yes. In accordance with the law.

    Question 27. Once submitted, would the U.S. national report 
be publicly available?

    Answer. Yes. The U.S. national report will be made 
available to the U.S. public.

    Question 28. Will other Contracting Party national reports 
be available to the U.S. public?

    Answer. Contracting Parties are entitled to designate 
certain information to be protected against public disclosure. 
The United States must respect such confidentiality 
designations. As a Contracting Party, the United States would 
be entitled to receive national reports of all other 
Contracting Parties. However, because of the enormity in the 
quantity of documentation of national reports from all 
Contracting Parties, reports for only those States 
participating in a specific subgroup will be transmitted to 
members of the group. Other reports will be provided by the 
Secretariat upon request.
    Following the first review under the Convention on Nuclear 
Safety, many national reports were posted on the IAEA web site 
and thus are publicly available. We anticipate a similar 
practice to be implemented for national reports under the Waste 
Convention.

                      VI. NATIONAL REPORT ELEMENTS

    Question 29. What spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste 
inventories will be included in the U.S. national report?

    Answer. The U.S. national report inventory data, which will 
be taken from currently available Federal Government databases, 
is to cover spent nuclear fuel stored or disposed of and 
radioactive waste stored at certain facilities or which has 
been disposed of or has resulted from past practices. 
Radioactive waste from hospitals, medical institutions, 
research facilities and the like would be covered in the 
inventory after shipment to a radioactive waste facility. 
Specific waste materials included are to be itemized in the 
report's inventory list.

    Question 30. What specific spent nuclear fuel and 
radioactive waste databases will be used as the source for 
inventory data in the U.S. national report? Who maintains the 
databases? What is the source of funding?

    Answer. In preparing the U.S. national report, three 
databases will be used as the source for identifying U.S. 
inventory:

   DOE Spent Nuclear Fuel Inventory (SNF). The National 
        Spent Nuclear Fuel Database is maintained at the Idaho 
        National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory 
        (INEEL), National Spent Fuel Program Office. The DOE 
        Office of Environmental Management funds the database.

   Commercial SNF Inventory. Data on the commercial SNF 
        inventory will be obtained from the DOE Office of 
        Civilian Radioactive Waste Management's Environmental 
        Impact Statement (EIS) entitled, ``Geologic Repository 
        for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level 
        Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, 
        Nevada.'' The DOE Office of Civilian and Radioactive 
        Waste Management (OCRWM) funded the collection of 
        inventory data for this EIS. OCRWM funds the collection 
        of commercial SNF inventory information on a periodic 
        basis.

   Commercial Low-Level Waste Disposal Volumes. 
        Commercial low-level waste disposal volumes are 
        collected by DOE through the Manifest Information 
        Management System. The DOE Office of Environmental 
        Management funds this program and collection of data.

   DOE Low-Level Inventory. The DOE low-level inventory 
        is collected in DOE's Environmental Management 
        Corporate Database. This system is maintained and 
        funded by the DOE Office of Environmental Management. 
        The Office updates DOE's low-level radioactive waste 
        inventory every two years. Waste information is 
        collected annually.

    Question 31. What facilities will be included in the 
national report inventory?

    Answer. The U.S. national report will cover existing and 
proposed facilities, whether Federal, State, or private. The 
report's list of sites identifies which types of sites are 
included.

    Question 32. How many spent fuel and waste management 
facilities in the United States come under the Convention?

    Answer. Numerous facilities in both commercial and 
government sectors in the United States will be included in the 
report under the Convention. In terms of sites where the 
facilities are or will be located, there are:

   Three existing low-level waste disposal sites 
        (Barnwell, Hanford, and Clive) and four closed low-
        level waste disposal sites (Beatty, Sheffield, Maxey 
        Flats, and West Valley) in the commercial sector. Any 
        future Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact site would 
        be included in the report under the Waste Convention.

   Currently, there are 26 operating independent spent 
        fuel storage installations (ISFSI) in the United States 
        However, facilities within the controlled area at 
        operating reactors will not be included in the report.

   Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage facilities are 
        located at 21 commercial reactor sites, however 
        facilities within the perimeter at operating reactors 
        will not be included in the report.

   DOE facilities located at 30 different sites across 
        the nation for government waste, including operating 
        and planned disposal facilities for transuranic (WIPP) 
        and low-level waste, treatment facilities, and storage 
        facilities.

   Mill tailings sites include 39 under NRC 
        jurisdiction and 9 under Agreement States. There are 5-
        10 Uranium/Thorium sites.

   The planned Yucca Mountain high-level waste site and 
        any other site for commercial spent nuclear fuel.

   Twenty-eight contaminated materials facility sites.

    Question 33. Is a nuclear power reactor in decommissioning 
to be included in the inventory of facilities?

    Answer. Yes, the Joint Convention's Article 32.2(v) 
specifies that the National Report is required to provide a 
list of nuclear facilities (which include nuclear power 
reactors) in the process of being decommissioned, as well as 
the status of decommissioning activities at those facilities.

    Question 34. Does the Convention include disused sealed 
sources no longer needed?

    Answer. Disused sealed sources no longer needed are covered 
to the extent that they are disposed in a radioactive waste 
facility and that a Contracting Party should permit reentry if 
such a source is being returned to a manufacturer licensed to 
receive and possess it. The Contracting Party should also have 
a framework for safe management of disused sources. There is no 
requirement that a source be registered or tracked throughout 
its life cycle.

    Question 35. Will the national reports include inventories 
of disused sealed sources?

    Answer. There is no specific requirement in the Waste 
Convention to report inventories of disused sources. In some 
countries, disused sealed sources may be included in their 
waste inventories as waste. Those sources returned for re-
manufacturing would not be subject to the reporting 
requirements, unless the Contracting Party voluntarily reported 
such inventories. However, those disused sealed sources which 
are to be disposed of would be considered radioactive waste and 
should be reported under the radioactive waste inventory.
    The IAEA has ongoing programs (Net-Enabled Waste Management 
Data Base) in place for reporting disused sealed sources. Also, 
the IAEA is in the process of revising the non-legally-binding 
Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive 
Sources to address security concerns raised in the wake of 
September 11. The Code identifies activities important for 
strengthening national controls on cradle-to-grave management 
of radioactive sources. National registries of radioactive 
sources is being considered as a possible addition to the Code.

    Question 36. How does ratification of the Waste Convention 
support U.S. efforts to minimize the threat of malicious use of 
radioactive waste, such as disused sealed sources?

    Answer. Article 28 of the Waste Convention, entitled 
``Disused Sealed Sources'', commits Contracting Parties to the 
Convention to take the appropriate steps to ensure that the 
possession, re-manufacturing or disposal of disused sealed 
sources, in the framework of national law, takes place in a 
safe and secure manner. The Waste Convention offers an 
opportunity for the United States, as a Contracting Party, to 
review other nations' progress through national report reviews 
and reviews. U.S. concerns about control and intentional misuse 
of radioactive waste or disused sealed sources can be raised in 
the context of the national report review meeting. In this way, 
the United States can influence globally the safe management of 
spent fuel and radioactive waste and urge nations to enact new 
laws and controls on disused sealed sources, where they now do 
not exist.

                       VII. U.S. PROGRAM EFFECTS

    Question 37. Will the Waste Convention improve or 
strengthen DOE's spent nuclear fuel and waste program? How or 
Why not?

    Answer. Yes. Review of the national reports and the 
prospect of bilateral cooperation will strengthen DOE's spent 
fuel and radioactive waste program. Lessons learned from other 
countries both from how they manage their spent nuclear fuel 
and their experiences in resolving common and individual safety 
problems could be used to improve DOE's programs.

    Question 38. Does DOE anticipate any changes in its spent 
nuclear fuel or waste program in the near-term, long-term? What 
is the anticipated nature of the changes?

    Answer. No changes are expected in the policy and strategy 
of DOE's spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste programs. Any 
changes would be related to developing technological 
alternatives to current stabilization, storage, treatment, and 
disposal missions at DOE. Alternative technical solutions are 
often needed to meet environmental compliance requirements and 
to reduce the cost of operations.

    Question 39. Will the Convention improve or strengthen 
NRC's regulatory and licensing program? How or Why not?

    Answer. The Waste Convention is not expected to result in 
major changes to the NRC's regulatory program. Nonetheless, by 
providing a mechanism for receiving information on other 
national programs through the constructive exchange of national 
reports and reviews, the Waste Convention will support the 
NRC's own continuing efforts to improve its regulatory program 
through self-assessment.

    Question 40. Does NRC anticipate any changes in its 
regulatory program for radioactive waste management and/or 
spent nuclear fuel management in the near-term, long-term? What 
is the anticipated nature of the changes?

    Answer. The NRC does not anticipate the need to make any 
significant changes to its regulations as a result of the Waste 
Convention. Changes, if any, will be publicly vetted as part of 
the NRC's rulemaking process.

    Question 41. Will the Waste Convention improve or 
strengthen EPA's regulatory program? How or Why not?

    Answer. The Waste Convention is not expected to have an 
effect on EPA's regulatory program.

    Question 42. Does EPA anticipate any changes in its 
regulatory program in the near-term, long-term? What is the 
anticipated nature of the changes?

    Answer. EPA does not anticipate any changes to its 
regulatory program either in the near-term or the long-term.

                         VIII. POST 9-11 ISSUES

    Question 43. Does the Waste Convention address security and 
diversion from terrorist attacks?

    Answer. No, the Waste Convention does not directly address 
security and diversion from terrorist attacks. However, the 
Convention, along with the CNS, does foster a constructive 
multi-lateral framework to increase safety and security at 
facilities throughout the world. It is an incentive convention 
that addresses safety issues primarily associated with spent 
nuclear fuel management and radioactive waste management. 
Promoting a stable technical environment and regulatory systems 
in developing countries through the Convention will assist 
contracting States to increase security and diversion from 
terrorist attacks.

                               IX. COSTS

    Question 44. What costs are associated with participating 
in the Waste Convention?

    Answer. The costs to the United States as a Contracting 
Party to the Waste Convention include:

   Preparation of the U.S. national report every three 
        years

   Reviewing national reports of other countries

   U.S. delegation participation in the preparatory, 
        organizational, and review meetings.

    Question 45. What are the anticipated costs for preparing 
the U.S. national report? Will there be any additional costs to 
licensees?

    Answer:

   For DOE, anticipated costs for preparing the U.S. 
        national report is estimated at $200,000 for FY-2003 
        and an estimated $200,000 incurred annually thereafter. 
        Costs will be absorbed within the existing DOE budget.

   For NRC, costs to prepare information on the 
        commercial regulatory perspective for the national 
        report are not expected to be substantial and can be 
        absorbed within the existing budget. There are no 
        expected additional costs to licensees.

   For EPA, costs are expected to be minimal and can be 
        absorbed within the existing budget. No additional 
        costs to licensees are anticipated.

    Question 46. Under the NRC's regulatory regime Agreement 
States subsume certain of the NRC's regulatory authority 
subject to oversight. Will there be any additional costs to 
Agreement States?

    Answer. In countries having a federal system of government 
such as the United States, States may carry out convention 
provisions. For the United States there are no significant new 
burdens or unfunded mandates for the Agreement States that are 
anticipated to result from the Waste Convention.

    Question 47. Under U.S. law, States are responsible for the 
disposal of low-level radioactive waste and permitted to 
formulate compacts for this purpose. Will there be any 
additional costs to Low-Level Waste Compacts?

    Answer. No additional costs are expected to States or Low 
Level Waste Compacts, because the regulatory program to which 
such entities are subject is not expected to change as a result 
of the Convention.

    Question 48. Will the DOE National Laboratories be involved 
in preparing the U.S. national report? What are the anticipated 
costs?

    Answer. No. National Laboratories will not be involved in 
preparation of the U.S. national report. There are no 
anticipated costs.

    Question 49. What is the total number of national reports 
the United States anticipates it will review from the assigned 
country subgroup process? What are the anticipated costs for 
the United States to review and comment on national reports 
within this group?

    Answer. The United States as part of the country subgroup 
will review five to seven reports within its group and others 
of interest. Costs will be absorbed within existing agency 
budgets.

    Question 50. In addition to the national reports received 
as part of the assigned country subgroup process; does the 
United States anticipate requesting other national reports for 
the purpose of review and comment? If yes, for what countries? 
What is the anticipated additional cost?

    Answer. Similar to its practice with respect to the CNS, 
the United States will review national reports for all 
countries which receive nuclear and radiation safety assistance 
from the United States or for which it has special safety 
concerns. The costs will be absorbed within existing agency 
budgets.

    Question 51. What are the anticipated costs for U.S. 
representatives to participate in the meetings?

    Answer. Representatives from the Department of State, DOE, 
NRC, and EPA are attending all associated Waste Convention 
meetings to be held at the IAEA headquarters office in Vienna. 
The delegation will include up to 12 delegates, with associated 
full-time equivalent (FTE), per diem and travel costs.

    Question 52. Are representatives from DOE National 
Laboratories, Agreement States, Low-Level Waste Compacts, or 
the private sector anticipated to attend meetings of the 
Contracting Parties as experts, advisors or observers? If part 
of the U.S. delegation, how would such participation be funded?

    Answer. No. Representatives from National Laboratories, 
Agreement States, Low-Level Waste Compacts, and the private 
sector are not expected to attend any meetings of the 
Contracting Parties.

    Question 53. Are there any costs for the United States if 
it is not a Contracting Party?

    Answer. Yes. The IAEA is the Secretariat for the 
Contracting Parties, including preparing and servicing of the 
meetings and transmitting information associated with the Waste 
Convention. Cost for these Secretariat services are included in 
the annual IAEA budget. The United States is obligated to pay 
its annual IAEA membership assessment of 25% of the total IAEA 
regular budget. Therefore whether or not the United States is a 
Contracting Party to the Waste Convention, a portion of the 
U.S. membership assessment will be used to fund Secretariat 
services in support of the Convention.

                              X. BENEFITS

    Question 54. How does the United States benefit from 
participation as a Contracting Party to the Convention?

    Answer. As a Contracting Party to the Convention, the 
national report review process benefits the United States by 
providing inter alia:

   An opportunity to review the national spent nuclear 
        fuel and radioactive waste management programs of other 
        Contracting Parties and to benefit from their 
        experience;

   A vehicle, through the drafting of the U.S. national 
        report, to help harmonize management and assessment 
        techniques used by DOE, NRC, and EPA's programs 
        associated with the safe management of spent nuclear 
        fuel and radioactive waste management;

   An opportunity to promote a stable technical 
        environment and safe regulatory system in developing 
        countries, thereby supporting trade services and 
        products of U.S. companies;

   A means to identify possible areas for bilateral and 
        multilateral technical and regulatory cooperation;

   An opportunity to influence the development of 
        nuclear safety programs in other countries, through 
        international cooperation on the life cycle management 
        of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste; and

   A means to help harmonize, in a nurturing forum, 
        international approaches to assessing and managing 
        risks and raising the target level of safety associated 
        with spent fuel and radioactive waste, thus 
        strengthening the worldwide safety culture.

    Question 55. What are the benefits or value (direct/
indirect) of the Waste Convention to Agreement States and Low-
Level Radioactive Waste Compacts?

    Answer. Improvements to the national regulatory program 
from U.S. participation in the Convention will carry over to 
benefit the individual U.S. States' and Low-Level Radioactive 
Waste Compacts' regional regulatory programs.

    Question 56. What are the benefits or value (direct/
indirect) to licensees, industry and utilities?

    Answer. Through U.S. review of other Contracting Parties' 
national reports, the United States benefits from lessons 
learned and in the opportunities which it provides to identify 
areas for trade in services and products, as well as bilateral 
cooperation in technology development.

    Question 57. The United States participated in the 
Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) second review process.

   What benefits did the United States receive from 
        participation in the CNS review process?

          Answer. As a result of participating in the second 
        CNS review meeting held in Vienna, Austria, April 15-
        26, 2002, U. S. participants concluded that it was a 
        very important and effective venue for promoting 
        nuclear safety worldwide. Participation in reviews 
        provided wide-ranging benefits to the United States, 
        for example based on interactions with other CNS 
        Parties, the NRC will more closely examine the 
        potential benefits of performing periodic safety 
        reviews of licensed activities as part of its 
        regulatory program.

   Has the CNS process been influential on other 
        nations' nuclear safety programs? How?

          Answer. Most significantly and as noted during the 
        conduct of the second review meeting, the CNS process 
        has clearly influenced the safety and regulatory 
        programs in States of the former Soviet Union, such as 
        Russia and Ukraine, in positive ways. Assistance 
        programs in these countries are taking into 
        consideration key goals and objectives identified as 
        part of the CNS process. In addition, based on its 
        participation in the 2nd review meeting, the NRC has 
        also determined that additional progress can be made in 
        nuclear regulatory oversight programs of the Russian 
        Federation and Ukraine, and identified the programs of 
        China, Armenia, and Pakistan, as warranting further 
        attention.
          In preparing the national report, each country must 
        demonstrate how it complies with the Articles of the 
        Convention. This exercise alone, documenting how the 
        Articles of the Convention are met, and submitting the 
        report for scrutiny by other Contracting Parties in an 
        international forum, exerts pressure on a Contracting 
        Party To improve its safety practices. But perhaps more 
        importantly is the review process itself where 
        countries must respond to the questions of other 
        Contracting Parties. Two examples will demonstrate how 
        the CNS review process influences signatory countries. 
        One of the major concerns addressed by the Articles of 
        the Convention is the independence of the regulatory 
        body. Many of the former Soviet Union and Eastern 
        European countries reported in their initial 1998 CNS 
        reports that their regulatory bodies were not 
        independent from organizations that promoted nuclear 
        power. However, because of the many questions that were 
        raised during the review process, most of these 
        countries reported significant progress in making their 
        regulatory bodies more independent in the 2001 reports, 
        with hopes to report further achievements on regulatory 
        independence in the 2004 reports. A second example 
        concerns the Russian Federation's schedule for 
        completing safety enhancements at many of its aging 
        nuclear power plants. The 1998 Russian Federation 
        report stated that many safety enhancements would be 
        performed but was vague on the enhancements to be 
        performed at specific plants and schedules for when 
        these enhancements would be completed. The 2001 report 
        provided very little detail as well. However, because 
        of the many written questions received from other 
        Contracting Parties during the review process, the 
        Russians provided a complete list of the enhancements 
        for each plant and the schedule for their completion 
        during its presentation at the 2002 CNS national report 
        review meeting.

                   XI. FOREIGN POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

    Question 58. Why is the Waste Convention important to U.S. 
foreign policy interests?

    Answer. The Waste Convention is consistent with U.S. policy 
to support safety as a top priority in the use of nuclear 
energy worldwide; to promote safe operation of spent nuclear 
fuel management and civilian nuclear waste management 
facilities and radiation protection principles. Pursuing common 
strategies for the handling of spent nuclear fuel and 
radioactive wastes are also harmonious with U.S. policy on 
climate change and promoting a sustainable global environment. 
The Waste Convention is a particularly important complement to 
bilateral and multilateral safety assistance programs, because 
it provides a crucial political mechanism to encourage 
governments to support emerging regulatory organizations and 
other entities responsible for nuclear safety culture.

    Question 59. What consideration does the Waste Convention 
give to the needs of developing countries and countries in 
transition, particularly to the Newly Independent States (NIS) 
and Central and Eastern European countries (CEE), to assist in 
fulfillment of their rights and obligations?

    Answer. The Waste Convention is a particularly important 
complement to these bilateral and multilateral safety 
assistance programs, because similar to the CNS it is an 
incentive convention. This means that the Convention was 
carefully drafted to encourage early participation by countries 
such as the Newly Independent States and Central and Eastern 
European countries, so that they can adhere without potentially 
being in a state of non-compliance while they further develop 
their domestic infrastructure. As such it provides a crucial 
political mechanism to encourage such governments to become 
Contracting Parties at an early date. It also provides a nexus 
for technology transfer to assist developing countries to 
better facilitate the transition to more effective regulatory 
infrastructures and waste safety management strategies.

    Question 60. What goals and objectives does the United 
States hope to achieve as a Contracting Party?

    Answer. The Waste Convention reflects all of the U.S. goals 
and objectives in the negotiations. The United States will 
continue to work with other countries to promote objectives, 
consistent with U.S. policies and legislative and regulatory 
framework to:

   Ensure commitment to the principles of a worldwide 
        safety culture, through the enhancement of national 
        measures and international cooperation.

   Increase international understanding and develop 
        common philosophies on the storage, treatment, and 
        disposal of radioactive waste.

   Take appropriate steps to ensure that during the 
        lifetime of a spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste 
        management facility, radiation exposure is kept as low 
        as reasonably achievable.

   Take appropriate steps to ensure no individual or 
        population is exposed to radiation which exceed 
        national standards.

   Take appropriate measures to prevent unplanned or 
        uncontrolled releases of radioactive material into the 
        environment.

   Assure appropriate corrective measures are 
        implemented to control unplanned or uncontrolled 
        releases and mitigate effects in the event of a 
        release.

   Pursue common strategies for the handling of spent 
        nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes harmonious with 
        U.S. climate change policies and the promotion of a 
        sustainable global environment.

   Maintain minimal cost to the United States for 
        carrying out Contracting Party obligations under the 
        Waste Convention.

    Question 61. Has other international recognition been given 
to the Waste Convention?

    Answer. Yes. The Waste Convention is of high-level 
importance to other foreign States many of which have signed 
and/or ratified the Convention. The Convention also received 
support at several of the G-7 Economic Summit meetings, 
including mention in the 1997 Denver Summit Communique, in 
addition to reaffirmation at the 1996 Moscow Nuclear Safety and 
Security Summit. An International IAEA Waste Conference was 
held in Cordoba, Spain in 2000, and a second in Vienna in 2002.

    Question 62. What considerations does the Waste Convention 
give to other international instruments, international law, and 
other multilateral mechanisms?

    Answer. The Waste Convention recalls the desirability of 
strengthening the international control system and recognizes 
principles laid out in international instruments, international 
law, and multilateral mechanisms applying to radioactive waste 
and spent fuel, including inter alia:

   Basel Convention (1989) on the Control of 
        Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their 
        Disposal;

   Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by 
        Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (1972, as amended) 
        (London Convention on Ocean Dumping);

   Convention on Nuclear Safety (1994);

   Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear 
        Accident (l986);

   Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear 
        Accident or Radiological Emergency (l986);

   Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear 
        Material (l979);

   IAEA Code of Practice on Transboundary Movement of 
        Radioactive Waste (1989);

   IAEA Safety Fundamentals, The Principles of 
        Radioactive Waste Management (l995);

   International Standards relating to the Safety of 
        the Transport of Radioactive Materials;

   International Basic Safety Standards for Protection 
        Against Ionizing Radiation and for the Safety of 
        Radiation Sources (l996); and

   Rio de Janeiro (1992) UN Conference on Environment 
        and Development (Agenda Chapter 21, Chapter 22, Sound 
        Management of Radioactive Waste).

    Question 63. Does the Convention overlap or duplicate any 
other international Convention or Agreement?

    Answer. No. The Waste Convention is complimentary to:

   The Basel Convention (1989) on the Control of 
        Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their 
        Disposal. Article 1 (3)) specifically excludes 
        radioactive wastes. This Article states: ``Wastes 
        which, as a result of being radioactive, are subject to 
        other international control systems, including 
        international instruments, applying specifically to 
        radioactive materials, are excluded from the scope of 
        the Convention.''

   The Convention on Nuclear Safety (1996). The CNS 
        contains a preambular statement affirming the need for 
        a Waste Convention. Subsection (ix) states: ``Affirming 
        the need to begin promptly the development of an 
        international convention on the safety of radioactive 
        waste management as soon as the ongoing process to 
        develop waste management safety fundamentals has 
        resulted in broad international agreement.''

   The London Convention on Ocean Dumping (1972, as 
        amended) prohibits the dumping of radioactive wastes. 
        Radioactive waste does not apply to wastes or other 
        materials containing de minimus (exempt) levels of 
        radioactive waste as defined by the IAEA and adopted by 
        the Contracting Parties.

                                ------                                


 Responses of Mr. Richard J. K. Stratford to Questions for the Record 
                   from the hearing of March 19, 2003

    Question 1. Mr. Stratford provided the Committee with a 
very informative set of questions and answers regarding the 
Joint Convention. This document states that the Joint 
Convention ``contains provisions to ensure that national 
security is not compromised and that States have absolute 
discretion as to what information is reported on material from 
military sources.'' The document goes on to state that the 
Joint Convention ``will not . . . affect ongoing U.S. military 
operations in any way, nor will classified information be 
covered in the U.S. National Report.''

   Were these questions and answers interagency-
        approved?

   Are the Department of Defense and the Department of 
        Energy confident that the Joint Convention poses no 
        threat to sensitive U.S. information or activities?

    Answer:

   Yes. The Department of Energy, the Nuclear 
        Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection 
        Agency participated in the drafting of the questions 
        and answers, and interagency approval of the final 
        version was obtained through the U.S. Office of 
        Management and Budget.

   Yes. The Joint Convention poses no threat to 
        sensitive U.S. information or activities. The United 
        States will provide information in the national report 
        that is already publicly available. The Joint 
        Convention does not apply to military or defense 
        programs, with the exception of spent fuel and 
        radioactive waste permanently transferred to civilian 
        programs.

    Question 2. Recently, the government of Iran indicated that 
it intends to develop an indigenous capability to manufacture 
nuclear reactor fuel and to reprocess spent fuel. While Iran 
has not signed the Joint Convention, there is nothing to 
prevent it from doing so. What is the risk that a country could 
use technical advice and assistance, including nuclear safety 
advice, to develop capabilities that were actually intended to 
contribute to a nuclear weapons program--even though the 
country might operate under IAEA safeguards until the decision 
was made to commence the production of fissile material for 
weapons purposes?

   How will the Administration minimize the risk that 
        advice given under the Joint Convention will be used by 
        other countries to develop a ``full fuel cycle'' that 
        is really intended as part of a nuclear weapons 
        program?

   Are there steps that the international community 
        should take to guard against such misuse of peaceful 
        nuclear assistance? If so, are there recommendations in 
        this regard that the Senate could usefully make in a 
        resolution of ratification of the Joint Convention?

    Answer. The Joint Convention does not involve advice or 
cooperation in sensitive areas of the nuclear fuel cycle. The 
type of information that will be considered by the Contracting 
Parties to the Joint Convention is not associated with nuclear 
weapons development. Indeed, the information being presented in 
the U.S. National Report is publicly accessible from U.S. 
government and other public sites. No internal or security-
related information is being included in the U.S. National 
Report being prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, with 
the assistance and cooperation of the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the 
Department of State. In addition, any comments the United 
States might have on other country's submissions would be 
limited to non-sensitive information. We believe that one of 
the benefits of the Joint Convention is that it operates on the 
basis of transparency as it makes information on other 
country's waste activities widely known. We see no need for the 
Senate to take further action in this regard in the resolution 
of ratification.

    Question 3. Under the Joint Convention, country reports 
will be reviewed by subgroups--and the United States will 
receive only the reports of countries in its subgroup, unless 
it asks for others as well. Will the United States ask for all 
reports?

   Is there any reason why the Senate should not 
        require this?

    Answer. The United States will request copies of all 
national reports prepared for the review meeting under the 
Joint Convention.
    The United States has the right to request this information 
under the Joint Convention, and it intends to ask for this 
information. We do not believe that this should be a 
requirement in the resolution of ratification.

    Question 4. In its resolution of ratification for the 
Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Senate required that the 
United States formally comment on every report from a country 
that is a recipient of U.S. nuclear safety assistance. Under 
that convention--and also under the Joint Convention--such a 
formal comment is needed if the United States wants to attend 
the subgroup discussion of that report and the country is not a 
member of the same subgroup as the United States. Has the 
United States benefited from commenting on such reports in the 
Convention on Nuclear Safety?

   Is there any reason why the Senate should not 
        require this approach to the Joint Convention as well?

    Answer:

   Yes. We used the CNS process to identify key goals 
        and objectives for the safety and regulatory programs 
        in States of the former Soviet Union, such as Russia 
        and Ukraine. The goals and objectives will provide 
        targets for assistance programs to these countries. We 
        also used the process to determine that additional 
        progress can be made in nuclear regulatory oversight 
        programs of Russia and the Ukraine, and identified the 
        nuclear regulatory programs of China, Armenia, and 
        Pakistan as warranting further attention.

   We intend to ensure that the United States takes 
        advantage of the availability of information and the 
        opportunity to provide comments as appropriate. We do 
        not believe that this should be a requirement in the 
        resolution of ratification.

    Question 5. The Department of State indicates, in its 
questions and answers document, that the Department of Energy 
will absorb the $200,000 cost of preparing the U.S. report 
every few years and that the Department of State will absorb 
the cost of sending a 6-person delegation to meetings under the 
Convention. If we require the Executive branch to read and 
comment on all country reports, or at least on all reports from 
countries that receive U.S. nuclear safety assistance, will the 
cost of preparing for ant attending meetings go up 
substantially?

   Will additional funds be needed for this, or will 
        you still be able to handle those costs under current 
        budget allocations?

    Answer:

   There will be additional preparation cost associated 
        with reviewing all national reports. We estimate the 
        cost at $6,000 per additional report. We do not 
        anticipate any additional costs for attending the 
        meetings, since we are planning to have coverage for 
        all the review subgroups.

   We will strive to keep costs at a minimum and within 
        the current budget allocation.

    Question 6. Article 41 of the Joint Convention (on 
Amendments to the Convention) allows a meeting of the 
Contracting Parties to adopt an amendment by consensus, or to 
refer it to a Diplomatic Conference by a two-thirds vote of 
those present and voting.
    When the Senate considered an identical provision in the 
Convention on Nuclear Safety, it required that the United 
States cast a vote on each proposed amendment, and submit each 
approved amendment to the Senate for its advice and consent to 
ratification. This was done to avoid a situation in which the 
Executive branch could refrain from voting on an amendment that 
it knew the Senate would oppose, or refrain from submitting it 
to the Senate, and still have it enter into effect for most of 
the Contracting Parties. Do you see any serious problem with 
our enacting similar language in the resolution on the Joint 
Convention?

   Under what circumstances might the United States not 
        want to vote on a proposed amendment?

   Do you interpret the resolution of ratification for 
        he Convention on Nuclear Safety as preventing the 
        United States from allowing an amendment to be approved 
        by consensus? If so, is that the Administration's 
        concern?

   Under what circumstances might the President not 
        want to submit an approved amendment to the Senate for 
        its advice and consent to ratification?

   How would the Executive Branch handle a situation in 
        which most of the Contracting Parties supported an 
        amendment, but the United States did not? In that 
        situation, why not submit it to the Senate with a 
        recommendation to reject it?

    Answer:

   It is important to remember that the United States 
        will not be bound by any amendment unless the United 
        States affirmatively accepts the amendment with the 
        advice and consent of the Senate. Moreover, the single 
        vote of the United States is unlikely to be the sole 
        determinant of whether an amendment is adopted at a 
        Diplomatic Conference by a two-thirds vote, nor would 
        it prevent an amendment that has been adopted and 
        ratified by two-thirds of the Contracting Parties to 
        the Convention from entering into force for those 
        Contracting Parties. The U.S. representative's 
        affirmative or negative vote on an amendment and any 
        subsequent Senate action on that amendment cannot 
        prevent an amendment to the Convention on Nuclear 
        Safety from entering into force for those Contracting 
        Parties that have ratified the amendment, if two-thirds 
        of the Contracting Parties have done so. The condition 
        of the Senate's resolution of advice and consent to the 
        Convention on Nuclear Safety therefore does not achieve 
        the purpose stated here. Likewise, the inclusion of a 
        similar condition in the resolution on the Joint 
        Convention would not achieve the stated goal. By 
        requiring that the United States cast an affirmative or 
        negative vote on a proposed amendment, the Senate's 
        condition also forecloses the United States from 
        abstaining or absenting itself from a vote; both 
        actions are sometimes useful diplomatic tools.

   Hypothetically, an abstention would be useful in a 
        situation in which the United States does not have a 
        compelling interest in the proposed amendment one way 
        or the other, but its vote would needlessly antagonize 
        the faction against which the United States would be 
        forced to vote--and when the United States might want 
        the support of that faction for or against a more 
        important provision.

   We would consider associating the United States with 
        a consensus action as equivalent to an affirmative 
        vote. At a Diplomatic Conference, however, it is 
        sometimes desirable to be able to abstain or 
        deliberately be absent from a vote.

   The President might not want to submit an approved 
        amendment to the Senate for advice and consent if the 
        United States had opposed its adoption or if the final 
        version of the amendment were considered inimical to 
        United States interests.

   The Joint convention sets a very high standard--a 
        two-thirds majority vote--for the adoption of 
        amendments. In the unlikely case that an adopted 
        amendment that the United States opposes enters into 
        force for other Contracting Parties, the United States 
        would not be bound by that amendment without its 
        consent. We are unaware of a precedent for submitting a 
        treaty that the President opposes to the Senate for 
        rejection. The President has plenary authority not to 
        ratify an amendment he opposes.

    Question 7. The Committee understands that the Nuclear 
Energy Institute strongly recommends the expeditious 
ratification of the Joint Convention. Have any other industry 
groups endorsed ratification? Have any firms or groups warned 
that they will suffer in some way if this Convention is 
ratified and implemented?

    Answer. Apart from the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) 
support for ratification (on behalf of the nuclear energy 
industry), we are not aware of any other firms or groups taking 
a position on this issue. None have warned that they will 
suffer in some way if the Convention is ratified and 
implemented.