IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

11/20/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2020 11:36

IAEA Provides Virtual Legislative Assistance for Bahrain

Senior officials and decision makers from Bahrain participated in a virtual IAEA legislative assistance mission from 10-11 November. The four main branches of international and national nuclear law - nuclear safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage - were covered during the two-day mission, which included a seminar on the legal framework for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The country's draft national legislation was also discussed.

'The safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technology and its applications holds the promise of significant benefits for States in many of these and other areas of major social and economic significance,' said Wolfram Tonhauser, Head of the IAEA's Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, during the opening of the virtual meeting. 'In order for these benefits to be realised, an adequate and comprehensive national legal framework is needed to provide for the adequate protection of individuals, society and the environment.'

Representatives from the Prime Minister's office, Supreme Council of Environment, the National Health Regulatory Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, Customs Affairs, the Legislation and Legal Commission, the Bahrain Defence Force, the National Oil and Gas Authority, the National Space Science Agency and the University of Bahrain participated in the event.

'The Kingdom of Bahrain recognises the importance of establishing a robust legal framework implementing the relevant international legal instruments, in order to realise the benefits of nuclear technologies in human health and nutrition, water resource management, food and agriculture, and in many other areas,' said Shaikha Rana Bint Isa Bin Duaij Al Khalifa, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Anas Yousif Abdulrahman Al-Sayed, Director of Bahrain's Executive Office of the NCCW of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted that 'discussions regarding the IAEA's comments on the draft Law on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Security and Safety of Bahrain and on Part XII (management of waste and hazardous materials) of the Environmental Law, will help us in realizing our goal of creating a comprehensive national legal framework. We hope to implement the results of our discussions in a future revised draft Law.'

Bahrain is a party to most of the international instruments concerning nuclear safety and security, and the event highlighted the importance of those that the Kingdom is not yet party to, such as the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, as well as the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. The event also recognized the potential relevance of modernised nuclear liability instruments, including the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and the Protocol to Amend the 1963 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.

Bahrain joined the IAEA in 2009 and is party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its Amendment, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, as well as the Convention on Nuclear Safety. Nuclear technology and applications are primarily used in the health care industry.

The virtual legislative assistance mission was implemented within the framework of the IAEA legislative assistance programme under the Agency's technical cooperation programme. A legislative assistance mission to the country scheduled earlier this year was postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.