Vienna, 22 September 2011 Press release

Spindelegger: “Transparency is decisive for nuclear safety”

Spindelegger takes the stand at the ”High Level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security” in New York

New York, 22 September 2011 – “Nuclear disasters such as Fukushima, do not stop at national borders. This is why all issues concerning safety and the protection of the civilian population must be addressed and dealt with at a global level”, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said today in his address to the “High Level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security” underlining the clear position taken by Austria on atomic energy. “The fact that a meeting of this kind is taking place at all is a clear indication that the Fukushima catastrophe has triggered a re-thinking process. We must continue to further intensify our efforts in the area of nuclear safety at an international level. This is the only way that we will be able to assure the safety of future generations”, the Minister said.

Spindelegger added that the achievement of transparency and independence in the procedures were decisive factors for establishing nuclear safety worldwide: “Transparency must be clearly in focus for all aspects of nuclear safety, such as in the evaluation of nuclear facilities or the transfer of data”, Spindelegger said calling on all states to show responsibility in giving the work of the IAEA the best support possible. The Foreign Minister said this must also apply for the independence of national regulatory authorities. “Our demand is not only for the international safety standards to be made more stringent, but also that they should be implemented with total consistency with no loopholes for side-stepping them. We have the instrument we need in the IAEA. But the international community must also show willing”, Spindelegger said.

Earlier in the week the Austrian Foreign Minister warned against leaving the safety of atomic power stations in the hands of “national pride and profit thinking”  in his keynote address to 55th General Conference of the IAEA in Vienna. Spindelegger, criticised the action plan recently presented by the IAEA as not fulfilling the expectations that had been placed in it.

Spindelegger had called for “compulsory liability regulations, putting the interests of the affected population first in the event of catastrophes such as Fukushima”, which he said was a special concern and priority for Austria: “There must be no limits in time or amounts for this issue and the jurisdiction must be at the location where the interests of the victims can best be served”, the Foreign Minister concluded.

During his visit in New York Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger will personally answer questions on Austrian foreign policy on the Twitter account of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, @Minoritenplatz8, at 5 pm today. Tweets with questions to the Foreign Minister can be submitted throughout the day. The hashtag to use is: #fragAM

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