Senior officials and decision makers from Turkmenistan last month participated in the first ever IAEA national seminar on the legal framework for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear technology conducted virtually.
Over two days from 21 to22 July, the four main branches of nuclear law were covered: nuclear safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage. A legislative assistance mission to the country scheduled earlier this year was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In opening the virtual meeting, Wolfram Tonhauser, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, highlighted that while the virtual event did not substitute the legislative assistance mission, it nonetheless provided an opportunity for the commencement of a dialogue on the topic of nuclear law.
Turkmenistan joined the IAEA in 2016 and became a party to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, at the same time. Nuclear technology and applications are in use in health care and in and industry.
“We realize the importance of having a robust legal framework to realize the benefits of nuclear technology,” said Durdymammet Ilmammedov, from the Civil Defense and Rescue Operations Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan, and National Liaison Officer for the IAEA Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme. “Our planned discussions on the future plans regarding our Radiation Safety Law adopted in 2009, will now be carried-out in light of an understanding of the key elements of a comprehensive national legal framework needed for the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology.”
Participants in the seminar included representatives from several bodies, including, the Mejlis (or Parliament), the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the State Service “Turkmenstandartlary” and the Ministry of Health, as well as the Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the United Nations in Vienna.
“This event also enabled us to become further aware of the benefits of the relevant international legal instruments such as the Early Notification and Assistance Conventions, the Joint Convention and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage,” said Ilmammedov. “We will seek further IAEA assistance through the training of our lawyers at the Nuclear Law Institute and bilateral assistance in drafting legislation.”
The virtual national seminar on nuclear law was implemented within the framework of the IAEA legislative assistance programme under the Agency’s TC Programme.