Message From the President to the Senate of the United States: Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (9/15/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          September 15, 2000


     I transmit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to ratification,
the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the
Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, done at Vienna on September 5,
1997.  Also transmitted for the information of the Senate is the report of
the Department of State concerning the Convention.

     This Convention was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference convened by the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September 1997 and was opened
for signature in Vienna on September 5, 1997, during the IAEA General
Conference, on which date Secretary of Energy Federico Pe?a signed the
Convention for the United States.

     The Convention is an important part of the effort to raise the level
of nuclear safety around the world.  It is companion to and structured
similarly to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), to which the Senate
gave its advice and consent on March 25, 1999, and which entered into force
for the United States on July 10, 1999.  The Convention establishes a
series of broad commitments with respect to the safe management of spent
fuel and radioactive waste.  The Convention does not delineate detailed
mandatory standards the Parties must meet, but instead Parties are to take
appropriate steps to bring their activities into compliance with the
general obligations of the Convention.

     The Convention includes safety requirements for spent fuel management
when the spent fuel results from the operation of civilian nuclear reactors
and radioactive waste management for wastes resulting from civilian

     The Convention does not apply to a Party's military radioactive waste
or spent nuclear fuel unless the Party declares it as spent nuclear fuel or
radioactive waste for the purposes of the Convention, or if and when such
waste material is permanently transferred to and managed within exclusively
civilian programs.
The Convention contains provisions to ensure that national security is not
compromised and that Parties have absolute discretion as to what
information is reported on material from military sources.

     The United States has initiated many steps to improve nuclear safety
worldwide in accordance with its long-standing policy to make safety an
absolute priority in the use of nuclear energy, and has supported the
effort to develop both the CNS and this Convention.  The Convention should
encourage countries to improve the management of spent fuel and radioactive
waste domestically and thus result in an increase in nuclear safety

     Consultations were held with representatives from States and the
nuclear industry.  There are no significant new burdens or unfunded
mandates for the States or industry that should result from the Convention.
Costs for implementation of the proposed Convention will be absorbed within
the existing budgets of affected agencies.

     I urge the Senate to act expeditiously in giving its advice and
consent to ratification.

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    September 13, 2000.

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