Message to the Senate Transmitting Two Conventions on Nuclear Accidents

March 23, 1987

To the Senate of the United States:

I submit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to ratification, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, with declaration, and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, with declarations. These conventions were adopted on September 26, 1986, in Vienna at a Special Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency and signed by the United States on that date. I also transmit herewith, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State concerning the conventions.

At the May 1986 Tokyo Economic Summit, in view of the Chernobyl accident, I proposed, and the other heads of government agreed, that a convention providing for prompt notification of nuclear accidents with significant transboundary effects should be urgently drafted. The international community has acted with exceptional speed. Two conventions have been prepared and adopted by consensus. The convention on notification requires state parties to report promptly the occurrence of the accident and to provide information relevant to minimizing radiological consequences. The convention on assistance sets out an international framework to facilitate prompt assistance in the event of a nuclear accident or radiological emergency.

The United States has initiated many steps to deal with nuclear safety in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident. These conventions fill key gaps that existed in the international structure; they reflect an international consensus. There should be a domestic consensus in support of the conventions as well, and I urge the Senate to act expeditiously in giving its advice and consent to ratification.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

March 23, 1987.