Location: Chiang Mai, THAILAND
Date: 25 – 27 August, 2014
The 2nd Meeting of ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) consisted of two sessions; the Annual meeting of the ASEANTOM and the Technical Meeting on Environmental Radiation Monitoring in ASEAN. Discussion topics in the Annual Meeting Session included activities conducted in 2014, Action plan in 2015 – 2016, status of ASEANTOM under the ASEAN Charter, Chairmanship of ASEANTOM, and keys for sustainable cooperation of successful network. Objectives of the Technical Meeting Session were to exchange information and experience on environmental radiation monitoring, and to seek opportunity to establish a regional early warning network and a Regional Data Center.
The Meeting was attended by 40 participants from IAEA, ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Member States (AMS), namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; Brunei Darussalam could not attend the Meeting. Participants from AMS included delegates from the regulatory bodies or relevant authorities, technical officers in field of environmental radiation monitoring, and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lecture summary and outcomes of the Meeting are described as follows;
Keynote Speaker “Cooperation between IAEA and ASEANTOM” (Dr. Raja Abdul Aziz RAJA ADNAN, Special Assistant to the Director General on Nuclear Applications and Technical Cooperation, IAEA)
The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Raja Adnan, presented a talk on Cooperation between IAEA and ASEANTOM. He stated that the cooperation between IAEA and ASEAN countries has been strengthened recently after the visit of IAEA Director-General (DG) to the ASEAN Secretariat in 2011. At present all 10 ASEAN Member States had become IAEA members. A possible framework for cooperation between the IAEA and ASEANTOM was discussed – including the format of the framework, scope & areas of cooperation, and designated counterpart of the IAEA. He suggested that the cooperation framework should be built on a step-by-step basis. Meanwhile, the IAEA would continue to implement activities involving IAEA Member States in Southeast Asia (SEA) through the regional networks, i.e., RCA, ANSN, and APSN. Finally, he suggested the possible outcomes of ASEANTOM-IAEA cooperation, inter alia, i) improvement in the harmonization of the implementation of IAEA standards in the region, which was consistent with the ‘3S’ (Safety, Security, Safeguard) framework of ASEANTOM, ii) understanding the strengths and weaknesses in the region, iii) national resources identified as !SE!NTOM “pool of excellence”, iv) action plan for prioritized key elements of ‘3S’ established to address weaknesses, v) resource mobilization mechanism from “pool of excellence” activated in line with the action plan, and vi) ASEANTOM working network established for mutual support.
Report of Activities in 2014
- The 1stEURATOM-ASEANTOM Meeting (Mr. Ang Kok Kiat, Singapore) The meeting was held at the sidelines of the 57th IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Austria on 18 September, 2013. Participants consisted of the heads of the nuclear regulatory bodies of seven ASEAN countries and representatives from the Lao PDR mission. Brunei and Cambodia were unable to attend. Mr. Peter Faross, Acting Deputy Director-General, Directorate-General of Energy, European Commission (EC) was the head representative from the EC delegate. Outcomes of the meeting included the following:
- i) EURATOM shared with ASEANTOM details on the radiation monitoring and warning system for the EU region,
- ii) EURATOM offered to host a visit for ASEANTOM representatives to attend suitable meetings of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) as observers, and
iii) meeting agreed to arrange similar annual meetings at the sidelines of the IAEA General Conference.
- Environmental Radiation Monitoring Technical Meeting (Dr. Yuttana Tumnoi, Thailand) The technical meeting was held concurrently with the 2nd Meeting of ASEANTOM. Objectives of the Technical Meeting Session were to exchange information and experience on radiation environmental monitoring, and to seek opportunities to establish a regional early warning network and a Regional Data Center. The Summary of the meeting is included within this report.
- IAEA Supported Regional Activities in South East Asia (SEA) Region (Mr. Harry Sumitro, Division of Nuclear Security, IAEA) In 2014, there were five regional and five national nuclear security programs, and two advisory services (INSSP and INSServ) supported by the IAEA for the SEA countries. In addition, the speaker emphasized future continued support for Project 28 (P28) “Improvement of security of nuclear and radioactive material and facilities under regulatory control in SEA Region”. The P28 has been conducted under cooperation of IAEA and EC-JRC, and its objective is to strengthen and harmonize nuclear security in SEA. The IAEA welcomed cooperation with SEA countries for the implementation of activities under P28 through ASEANTOM.
ASEAN Cooperation on Nuclear-Related Issues (Ms. Hoang Thi Ha, Head of Political Cooperation Division, ASEAN Secretariat)
The ASEAN has adopted a commitment and principle on nuclear-related issues as stated in ASEAN Charter- “To preserve Southeast Asia as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destructive”. Cooperation and legal instruments involving nuclear safety, security and safeguards under the ASEAN framework consisted of: the SEANWFZ Treaty, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) (including ASEAN Convention of Counter-Terrorism (ACCT), ASEAN Comprehensive Plan of Action on Counter-Terrorism, Cooperation with ASEAN Dialogue Partners on Counter-Terrorism, and Migration and Border Management Program (DGICM)), ASEAN Nuclear Energy Cooperation Sub-Sector Network (NEC-SSN), and ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM). ASEAN also has strong cooperation with international partners, i.e., IAEA, CTBTO, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, and the US.
Status of ASEANTOM
The session began with a presentation from Ms. Siriratana on the overview of ANNEX-I and ANNEX-II definitions from the ASEAN Charter and the examples of entities in both categories. Afterwards, the issues of ASEANTOM’s status within ASEAN Charter and the need for support from ASEAN at the political level were put into discussion.
In summary, the meeting reached a consensus on its recommendation that ASEANTOM should be classified as an ANNEX-I entity under the APSC pillar in the ASEAN Charter. The discussion is summarized as follows.
- ·The major differences between Annex-I and Annex-II in terms of support: Being established as an ANNEX-I entity would provide ASEANTOM with the necessary political supports. However the network would also have to subscribe to the objectives and principles of ASEAN which includes the duty to report its work to ASEAN SOM. On the contrary, ASEANTOM as an ANNEX-II entity would receive less supports but would have operational flexibility.
- ·Coverage of APSC pillars on ASEANTOM: The uniqueness of ASEANTOM was that it covers all 3Ss (Safety, Security, Safeguard). Even though no single pillar of ASEAN Community covers all topics of the technical issues of ASEANTOM, APSC is considered the most related.
- ·Obligations of an ASEAN body (Annex-I): Full details are written in the ASEAN Charter. For example, the network must uphold the principle of ASEAN which includes non- interference in each member’s political situation and decision-making through consensus, etc.
- ·Status of ASEANTOM in terms of collaborations with other Network: For ASEANTOM to collaborate with other networks, it is more appropriate for the network to be established as an ANNEX-I entity as ANNEX-II entities are not considered to be within the formal ASEAN structure and would face more challenges when collaborating with other international entities.
- ·Structure of ASEANTOM: The official structure of ASEANTOM would follow the rules and requirements of the ASEAN Charter as a body of the ASEAN Community.
Discussion on Chair of ASEANTOM and Key of Successful Network
The Meeting agreed that Malaysia would be the next Chair of ASEANTOM in 2015. (Pending approvals from higher authorities. In due time, Malaysia will inform to the current chairman.) The delegation from Malaysia at the ASEANTOM meeting had no objections for Malaysia to be the next chair of ASEANTOM. The organisation of the annual meetings would be supported by the host country using its own budgets. ASEANTOM would convey this to the ASEAN Leaders through the MFA.
The ASEAN Secretariat informed the Meeting that according to usual practice, the Chair or the host would bear the organizational costs, such as local transportations or airport transfers and meeting package. In some high-level meetings, the host would also bear the accommodation of the heads of delegation during the period of the meeting, while other expenses would be borne by each Member States.
The financial support issue would be further discussed at the next ASEANTOM meeting. The official process for the appointment of the next chair of ASEANTOM would be conveyed by Thailand through the Thai MFA to the ASEAN SOM.
As stated in the TOR, the Chair of ASEAN would serve as the coordinator of the ASEANTOM unless decided otherwise by AMS. The ASEAN Secretariat suggested that since the ASEANTOM is a new entity, the selection of the Chair of ASEANTOM should be more flexible. The meeting agreed that the future chairmanship of ASEANTOM would require further discussion.
Chairperson requested for the contact point of the regulatory body and MFA of each ASEANTOM Member State. The list of contact points of the Member States is shown in Appendix 3.
Summary from Session Technical Meeting on Environmental Radiation Monitoring Network
- ·The ASEAN countries are at varying stages of developing their national environmental radiation monitoring capabilities.
- ·There is common interest by all ASEAN countries to further develop their environmental radiation monitoring capabilities and establish a regional framework on environmental radiation monitoring.
- ·The implementation of the project or activity has to be supported by the ASEANTOM and other international organizations (e.g. IAEA, EC, US-DOE).
- Propose for Thailand, in collaboration with Singapore, to draft a concept note for an ASEAN-IAEA regional technical cooperation project called “Establishment of the !SE!NTOM Environmental Radiation Monitoring Network” with the objective of creating a network for sharing ASEAN environmental radiation monitoring data and establishing an ASEAN-wide environmental radiation monitoring network and database.
- Propose to compile a list of contact points (with alternates) for the project.
- Organize next technical meeting to coincide with the next ASEANTOM annual meeting to discuss the project details (TOR, Funding, etc.) and activities.
- Some ASEAN Member States were willing to provide technical assistance to countries with fewer capabilities in environmental radiation monitoring.