Environment News Service

CLINTON ASKS SENATE TO RATIFY SPENT FUEL PACT

WASHINGTON, DC, September 18, 2000 (ENS) - President Clinton has sent the 1997 Joint Convention on Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Management to the U.S. Senate for ratification. The Convention, as part of a broad effort to raise nuclear safety standards around the world, establishes a series of commitments for proper management of spent fuels and radioactive waste in the civilian sector. It complements the earlier Convention on Nuclear Safety, which entered into force in July 1999. The treaty now before the Senate was adopted by a diplomatic conference convened by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September 1997 and was opened for signature in Vienna on September 5, 1997. President Clinton has delayed sending the Convention to the Senate due to concerns that not enough votes could be found to ratify the agreement.

"The Convention is an important part of the effort to raise the level of nuclear safety around the world," said Clinton. "I urge the Senate to act expeditiously in giving its advice and consent to ratification." The Convention does not delineate detailed mandatory standards that participants must meet. Parties are instructed to take appropriate steps to bring their activities into compliance with the general obligations of the Convention. The agreement does not apply to military radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel unless a participating country opts to declare these wastes as spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste for the purposes of the Convention. Parties to the Convention have absolute discretion as to what information is reported on material from military sources.

Environment News Service (ENS) 2000. All Rights Reserved.