On 23 May 2012, an official exchange of letters took place between OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Andrey Denisov and Deputy Director-General of Rosatom Nikolay Spasskiy to formalise the accession of the Russian Federation to the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and its Data Bank effective as from 1 January 2013. Russia will then become the 31st member country of the NEA.
“With Russia, the NEA will have additional strength when it comes to nuclear energy, nuclear safety, waste management or economics,” said OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría. “It is all the more important in the post-Fukushima context: international co-operation needs to be enhanced to make sure that all the lessons learnt are fully implemented.”
“We are particularly proud to become an NEA member,” said First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Andrey Denisov. “It is also an important step in the direction of full OECD membership.”
“This is a highly significant event that will bring tremendous change to the Agency,” said NEA Director-General, Luis Echávarri. “The Russian Federation is indeed a major player in the nuclear field, with plant construction and operation, fuel fabrication and research institutes of world renown; it is one of the few countries in the world exporting nuclear reactor technology.”
“The Russian Federation and the NEA have a long history of co-operation,” said Deputy Director‑General of Rosatom, Nikolay Spasskiy. “The Russian Federation shares the same values as the NEA member countries with regard to nuclear safety and is committed to bring its best experts to enhance NEA activities, thereby providing mutual benefit.”
Russia has the fourth largest civilian nuclear programme in the world after the United States, France and Japan. Currently, around 18% of the country's electricity is produced by 33 nuclear reactors. Russia is steadily moving towards an expanded role of nuclear energy, with 11 reactors under construction and plans for nearly doubling output by 2020.
The Russian Federation and the NEA have a long-standing relationship. Russia became an ad hoc observer in the NEA Nuclear Law Committee in 1996, and a regular observer in the NEA Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations and the NEA Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities in 1998. Russia has been a regular observer in all NEA standing technical committees since signing a joint declaration with the NEA in 2007. Russia is also a contributor to the NEA Data Bank activities and has been involved in the High‑level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) since 2010.
Russia is a member of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), and its nuclear regulatory authority is a member of the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP). The NEA acts as Technical Secretariat for both initiatives.
Russia is also a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and party to the main treaties and agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and on co-operation with regard to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
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NEA membership consists of 33 countries. The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co‑operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for a safe, environmentally sound and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It strives to provide authoritative assessments and to forge common understandings on key issues as input to government decisions on nuclear energy policy and to broader OECD analyses in areas such as energy and the sustainable development of low‑carbon economies.