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Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management

The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (shortened to the 'JOC') came into force in June 2001.

The JOC is the only international legally binding instrument to address the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management on a global scale. It is an international legal instrument, ratified by participating countries and organisations termed the 'Contracting Parties (CPs), of which there are over 80. The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) acts as the Secretariat for the CPs.

The JOC places legal obligations on all CPs with respect to the safe management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste by means of a series of articles. The JOC requires CPs to submit national reports on how they address the relevant articles and to attend peer review meetings, normally held on a triennial basis.

UK National Reports

Report submitted to the Joint Convention in 2017 and 2014:

The IAEA website has further information on the JOC.

The main objectives of the JOC are to:

  • achieve and maintain a high level of safety worldwide in spent fuel and radioactive waste management, through the enhancement of national measures and international co-operation, including where appropriate, safety-related technical co-operation;
  • ensure that during all stages of spent fuel and radioactive waste management there are effective defences against potential hazards. This is to ensure that individuals, society and the environment are protected from harmful effects of ionising radiation, now and in the future, in such a way that the needs and aspirations of the present generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and aspirations; and
  • prevent accidents with radiological consequences and to mitigate their consequences should they occur during any stage of spent fuel or radioactive waste management.

The UK was an early ratifier of the JOC, and has since submitted seven National Reports and participated in seven peer review meetings at the IAEA’s Headquarters in Vienna.

We are the lead author for the UK National Report, coordinating contributions from all the involved UK organisations, o n behalf of the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). In addition, we coordinate the provision of responses to the questions from other CPs on the UK national report and the UK’s questions to other CPs on their reports. The Chief Nuclear Inspector, together with the Environment Agency and DESNZ , presents the UK National Report at the triennial review meetings in Vienna.

The UK submitted its seventh national report to IAEA in October 2020 and the Seventh Review meeting took place in July 2022.

The UK report addresses how the UK meets the obligations of the JOC and documents the UK's work to implement recommendations and other development , since completion of the sixth reporting cycle.