Toespraak van staatssecretaris Van Veldhoven bij de presentatie van de bevindingen van de International Atomic Energy Agency

Toespraak van staatssecretaris Van Veldhoven (IenW) in reactie op de bevindingen van de International Atomic Energy Agency. De presentatie van deze bevindingen vond plaats bij de Autoriteit Nucleaire Veiligheid en Stralingsbescherming (ANVS) in Den Haag op 26 november 2018.

De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’d like to start by thanking Mr. Stritar, as head of the review team, the IAEA and the members of the review team for this report. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the important work you and your team do.

This report is – as Mr. Stritar already indicated – a follow-up to the previous Integrated Regulatory Review Service mission of 2014. Service: the name says it all. The Team does not inspect, but provides a review, thus makes recommendations, suggestions and identify best practices for other countries.

I value this review highly. These findings will help the Netherlands to improve nuclear safety and radiation protection and anchor them even more effectively in our systems.

Continuous improvement is essential for all parties: for the licensee, for the ANVS as a licenser and for all other authorities involved.
Safety will remain our joint focus!

This review provides a mirror for everyone concerned. What is working well? Where is additional attention required? What lessons can be learned from other countries?

The great value and strength of this report resides in its comprehensive approach. The fact that the reviews covers all aspects, from nuclear safety and radiation protection to storage, transport and licensing, from oversight to enforcement.

Employees and local residents must be able to rely on us. And that we will do everything in our power to ensure a safe and healthy working and living environment.

This is what people expect of a government. And I fully agree! Open and clear communication is an essential part of this process. And this is something I highly value personally.

As illustration.

In border regions of the Netherlands, a number of people expressed their concerns of the safety of the Belgium Power Plants. In my first working visit as state secretary, I visited one of the Border municipalities, listened to their concerns and spoke to them in an open dialogue. I did the same in Maastricht last week, where concerns have also been raised about the Belgium nuclear power plants.

It’s not only about providing the right facts. It’s even more important to listen and respond quickly to people’s concerns. In other words, it’s not about what you say. It’s about what you do.
And in that context I’m also proud of the website we set up last year: A website designed for members of the public who want to know more about nuclear safety and radiation protection and how they can prepare themselves in case of an incident.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The most profound progress made since the 2014 review was the successful establishment of the ANVS. The ANVS has proven to be a strong, professional organization, which is continually evolving. That is something the Netherlands can be proud of.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to the IAEA team for its review of the ‘special arrangements’ regarding transport. In 2016, as an MP, this was something I called attention to. I’m delighted that the review findings show that, in the Netherlands, the safety of transports is properly ensured.

I’m also proud of the unique way in which the issue of nuclear safety is dealt with at an international level. It provides a good example for other sectors. Peer reviews could benefit other sectors as well. For example, this can apply for the chemical sector or water safety.

Only last month, on the Day of Safety in the Dutch chemical industry, I stressed the importance of openness to peer reviews as an instrument. It’s a good way of identifying existing gaps and work together to try and resolve them.

In conclusion.

We will continue working 24/7 to promote optimal nuclear safety and radiation protection. This IRRS report is an integral part of my efforts to make sure the Netherlands remains a safe and secure country with regard to nuclear safety and radiation protection.  This ensures a safe, attractive, healthy and sustainable environment.

Of course, for that I need the help of all the actors involved. From licensee to ANVS as well as other government authorities. Because learning and improving is something we have to do together.

I have great confidence in the strength of our joint efforts to promote safety. And I’m delighted that the positive findings of this report reaffirm this confidence. It’s great when this is confirmed by a highly expert and professional third party.

This report is provisional. The final report will be delivered in the first quarter of 2019. I will then submit it to the Dutch House of Representatives.

Mr. Stritar, I’d like once again to thank you, your team and the IAEA. And of course the ANVS for successfully coordinating this mission for the Netherlands.

With these findings, I will continue to work with everyone involved to keep the Netherlands an attractive, healthy and sustainable country.

Thank you for your attention.