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Sixteenth Franco-Russian Intergovernmental Seminar

Published on November 28, 2011
Franco-Russian statement on the nuclear power sector

Moscow, November 18, 2011

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation attach great importance to the development of the nuclear power sector, in view of the goals of contributing to responsible, sustainable development to satisfy current and future energy needs and fight climate change. The two governments fully recognize the advantages of nuclear energy in terms of competitiveness, security of supply and low level of greenhouse gas emissions. This energy has its full place in their respective energy mixes.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation have made nuclear safety one of the very top priorities of their respective states’ nuclear policy. The governments of the two countries welcome the adoption in September 2011 of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety and support its implementation. In this respect, they agree to consult each other on their action in the framework of this plan’s implementation.

They reaffirm that the development and responsible use of nuclear energy require states using or wishing to use it to guarantee the highest level of nuclear safety.

They acknowledge the IAEA’s central role in establishing international standards and the requirement to review them periodically with a view to constantly improving them, and in helping enforce them. The Fukushima accident highlighted the need to increase international nuclear safety cooperation. Nuclear safety is the first responsibility of nuclear operators, monitored by national nuclear safety and radiation protection authorities. An effective safety culture needs to be developed and adhered to in all countries at every level: by operators, regulatory authorities for nuclear safety and radiation protection, and public authorities.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation note their great convergence of views on these issues.

The two governments call for all the lessons of the Fukushima accident to be drawn and confirm that they will help promote the highest safety levels throughout the world, for reactors in operation as much as new reactors. They are convinced that the Generation III reactors, which meet the highest safety levels, must now be the standard technology exported for new reactors.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation attach very special importance to reinforcing standards and good practice in safety, training and crisis prevention and management. They intend to encourage the improvement of existing international mechanisms with a view to rapid reaction in the event of a nuclear accident, and the creation of one or more international nuclear crisis management and crisis management training centres.

Because transparency is a key factor in maintaining public confidence in nuclear energy, the government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation emphasize the necessity of organizing and effectively operating, at the level of each state, nuclear safety infrastructure: in particular an adequate regulatory framework, an independent national regulatory authority for nuclear safety and radiation protection, an effective nuclear operator and systematic, periodic peer reviews drawing on the IAEA missions for the assessment of safety authorities (IRRS) and operational safety (OSART).

The two governments call for the effectiveness of the relevant conventions adopted under the IAEA’s authority to be increased. In this regard, the government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation support the holding in 2012 of an extraordinary meeting of the contracting parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) which will examine, inter alia, suggestions on amendments to the CNS. They call on the states parties to the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency to examine ways to strengthen these conventions, including by convening a conference to consider any amendments suggested. The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation welcome the dialogue initiated between the European Union and its member states, on the one hand, and the Russian Federation, on the other, on the implementation of stress tests. The bilateral exchange of information on the results of the stress tests will contribute effectively to improving the transparency and increasing the robustness of the procedures initiated and of methods of analysing the safety of nuclear facilities.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation emphasize the high level and quality of the partnerships developed in the nuclear energy field by the relevant entities and bodies from both countries.

They welcome the enhanced dialogue between the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and the Federal Service for Environmental, Technology, and Atomic Resolution (Rostechnadzor) on issues relating to regulation of the safety of nuclear facilities at all stages of their life cycle, to supervision of the safety of radioactive waste and spent fuel management, and to assistance to countries wishing to use civilian nuclear energy, so that they may develop regulatory authorities for safety and radiation protection.

They note successful cooperation over several years between the nuclear operators – the EDF group and the Rosenergoatom group – on nuclear safety, and support the future development and strengthening of relationships between them in order to increase the effectiveness of the nuclear operators’ activities, particularly in the areas of safe operation, technical support, inspection, personnel training and improving nuclear facilities’ safety at the design stage, including cooperation on the organization and realization of R&D.

The development of Generation IV reactors is a key challenge for the future modernization of nuclear power fleets. The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation note with satisfaction that the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation are to establish a common road map for the development of next-generation, sodium-cooled fast neutron reactors, which will meet the renewed demands for safety, competitiveness, the minimization and safe management of waste, respect for the environment, the sustainable use of fuel resources, and energy security needs.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation support cooperation on innovative nuclear reactors on the platform of the IAEA’s International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO) and in the framework of the Generation IV International Forum.

Following the cooperation undertaken on ITER, the two governments confirm their commitment to the success of this major international cooperation project, particularly by ensuring it has the necessary funding.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation encourage their industrial groups to forge lasting and mutually advantageous partnerships. They are delighted with the successful cooperation between the companies Alstom and Atomenergomash on the development of a joint-venture company, SARL Alstom Atomenergomash.

They note the dynamic development of relations between the French company Areva and the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation in a broad range of areas, particularly the supply of uranium-bearing products, nuclear fuel and equipment for nuclear power stations, and cooperation in the fields of technical maintenance, the improvement of nuclear facilities’ safety and spent fuel management.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation note the organization of a strategic partnership between the EDF group and the companies belonging to the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, and intend to lend their full support to this work, particularly with a view to improving nuclear safety and organizing cooperation in third countries.

The government of the French Republic and the government of the Russian Federation confirm that they attach special importance to the development of cooperation and the implementation of projects shared by French and Russian companies in the nuclear power, mechanical engineering and fuel cycle sectors, and will consider other opportunities with a view to creating the most favourable conditions for this cooperation./.

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