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Turkmenistan Joins International Nuclear Safety Conventions

By Nigar Bayramli November 17, 2023

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Turkmen Ambassador to Austria Hemra Amannazarov handed over to the IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi, documents on Turkmenistan’s accession to the international conventions in a ceremony that took place at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on November 14, 2023. / MFA Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan officially joined international conventions on nuclear safety during a ceremony held at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on November 14.

The Turkmen Ambassador to Austria, Hemra Amannazarov, presented documents to IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi, signifying Turkmenistan’s accession to the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, according to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry.

Negotiations between the two parties took place during the ceremony, with both sides offering a positive assessment of the ongoing cooperation between Turkmenistan and the IAEA. They also exchanged views on the tasks to be accomplished in the relevant areas of cooperation.

The conventions will come into effect for Turkmenistan 30 days after the instruments of ratification are transferred, which is expected to occur in mid-December. The Turkmen parliament ratified these conventions in October.

The Conventions on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency were adopted in 1986. They aim to ensure the swift and effective exchange of information and assistance between states in the event of nuclear or radiation accidents that may have transboundary consequences for human health and the environment.

The IAEA, established in 1957 as an autonomous organization within the United Nations system, seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

In 2009, former Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow signed a decree on the movement and storage of radioactive waste from two large industrial enterprises, the “Khazar” chemical plant and the “Balkanabat” iodine plant. The Central Asian country had more than 21,000 tons of radioactive waste stored primarily at two sites, Khazar and Balkanabat, situated 600km and 400km from Ashgabat, respectively. That waste was a legacy of the Soviet era, a byproduct of iodine and bromine production.