February 2013 Vienna Meetings

U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group Home

On February 18-19th, 2013, the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Working Group reconvened in Vienna, Austria for a final series of meetings before the release of its findings.

Nuclear Working Group members meet with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano (left to right)

In Vienna the group built on its observations and emerging areas of consensus from Tokyo, refocusing on the global implications of the Fukushima disaster in the context of shared U.S.-Japan concerns. The meetings provided the group with helpful insights and perspectives from the global nuclear governance community on the impact of the Fukushima disaster and changes to Japan’s energy paradigm.

Several key themes emerged during the group’s conversations that factor in the final NWG program product. Group members heard frequent reiterations of the importance of the risk-based assessment in nuclear governance and the need for Japan to incorporate risk into its nuclear energy planning and management. The group also heard both concern and optimism about Japan’s plans for its plutonium stockpile, given that Japan’s decisions could have significant implications for fuel cycle technology strategies, disarmament regimes, regional cooperation on nuclear materials management, and global norms regarding fuel cycle activities. The message that the group received most clearly, however, was that post-Fukushima changes in Japan have the potential to affect global norms at the very time that the world is facing significant growth in the number of nuclear reactors and nuclear energy operating nations. Therefore officials at the IAEA and related institutions and offices in Japan seem very concerned that Japan be aware of the global repercussions of its domestic energy policy decisions. “Japan is not a small country,” said one discussant, noting that the country cannot ignore the fact that other nations will take lessons from its example.

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The Nuclear Working Group met with the following individuals over the course of their meetings in Vienna, February 18-19, 2013:

  • Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
  • Roger Howsley, Executive Director, World Institute of Nuclear Security
  • Tariq Rauf, Formerly IAEA Office of External Relations and policy Coordination
  • Nikolai Sokov, Vienna Center for Nonproliferation and Disarmament Senior Fellow
  • Annika Thunborg, Spokesperson and Chief, Public Information, CTBTO
  • Sharon N. White, Counselor for Nuclear Affairs, IAEA Section, U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
  • Jennifer Hall Godfrey, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
  • Cynthia G. Jones, Ph.D., Nuclear Safety Attaché, IAEA Section, U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
  • Todd R. Konkel, Political Officer, Arms Control Section, U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna
  • Maria de Lourdes Vez Carmona, Senior Policy Planning Officer, Director General’s Office for Policy, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Alan McDonald, Programme Coordinator, Programme Coordination Group, Department of Nuclear Energy, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Paul Woodhouse, Head Safety and Security Coordination Section, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Guenther Winkler, Response System Officer, Incident and Emergency Centre, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Khammar Mrabit, Director, Office of Nuclear Security, Department of Nuclear Safety and Security,
  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Neil Fairbairn Tuley, Head Strategic Planning and External Coordination Section, Division of Concept and Planning, Department of Safeguards, International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Yukiya Amano, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency

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