Dear Prime Minister, Ministers, Excellencies, Colleagues,
I am delighted to celebrate the accession of Bulgaria to the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). Congratulations to those who made this historic step possible, in particular Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ekaterina Zakharieva, Minister of Energy, Temenuzhka Petkova, and all the NEA team, led by Bill Magwood.
Today is a milestone not only for Bulgaria and the whole NEA ‘family’, but also for the OECD. It is a fruit of our constant efforts to make this Organisation more global, more inclusive.. Becoming a member of the NEA was a key objective of Bulgaria’s overarching OECD Action Plan, which Prime Minister Borissov presented to me in 2019.
Bulgaria, which obtains about one-third of its electricity from nuclear, is an active player in the global nuclear energy field. This accession to the NEA acknowledges Bulgaria’s significant efforts to implement the highest standards in their nuclear energy policies and programmes. It recognises that you share the values of NEA Membership, responding to growing energy needs, while ensuring security and safety and addressing climate change.
Bulgaria’s membership in the NEA is mutually beneficial: the NEA will be benefiting from Bulgaria’s wealth of experience, notably in areas such as nuclear safety and regulation, decommissioning and radioactive waste management. Bulgaria, in turn, will be able to gain additional insight from the Agency’s activities and vast network of international specialists, built up over the past six decades.
Ceremonies like this one mark the end of a process. But more importantly, they celebrate a new beginning. As the NEA grows, all Members stand to gain from expert dialogue on nuclear technology, safety and stakeholder involvement, and from the sharing of nuclear data and continuous benchmarking through the NEA committees and working groups.
We look forward to continue working closely with Bulgaria and deepening our ties over the years to come with the aim of translating better nuclear policies for better lives.