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Sri Lanka to seek membership of Vienna nuclear conventions

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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Cabinet of ministers has given the permission to apply for membership in two International Conventions for Nuclear damage, as the island nation explores possibilities of using nuclear power for Energy generation, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

“This is a revolutionary change for Sri Lanka that is needed for a system change,:’ Minister Gunawardana said at the weekly cabinet decision briefing on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka is seeking to increase and diversify its power production capacity and is looking at nuclear power as a reliable and low-carbon option for its energy mix as it aims to achieve carbon neutrality in the electricity sector by 2050.

Sri Lanka prepared and submitted a self-evaluation report and supporting documents covering all infrastructure issues to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year.

After reviewing, IAEA said Sri Lanka needs to further develop its pre-feasibility study on introducing a nuclear power programme

“The team also noted that Sri Lanka’s Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization should prepare recommendations for the Government to make an informed decision on the nuclear power programme” IAEA said.

The country also needs to complete its analysis of the legal and regulatory framework required for nuclear power, including preparations for establishing an independent regulatory body and the need to further develop relevant human resources and competencies required for a nuclear programme.

“It called on the country to further intensify its already promising stakeholder involvement activities.”

The Minister of Power Kanchana Wijesekara and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasooriya have proposed to seek membership in the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear damage following IAEA recommendations.

“It is a cost-effective but highly risky power source,” Gunawardana said.

“Because of that there is protection and other compensation provided internationally. We have given permission to seek those going forward.” (Colombo/ Feb 28/2023)

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