Several African countries are participating in an IAEA regional project to
use isotope hydrology along with ongoing national water management programmes.
In Latin America, the Agency is supporting the development and implementation
of a sustainable groundwater management policy aimed at solving problems of
water shortages and inefficient use of resources.
Another important source of water is making freshwater from salty seawater,
a process known as desalination.
The IAEA has been providing support to some Member States who are exploring
the possibility of desalination powered by nuclear reactors.
Interest in using nuclear power as a source of energy for desalination is
growing, due to the increased demands for water, concerns about greenhouse
gas emissions from fossil fuel plants, and the development of a new generation
of small and medium sized nuclear reactors.
The use of salty water to irrigate salt tolerant crops is being studied in
an IAEA project involving a number of developing countries. Thirty salt tolerant
plants, from pistachio trees to barley, to Acacia, are being successfully
grown using salty water.
Nuclear techniques are providing critical information on the sustainability
of this approach by helping to demonstrate that the source of water will not
run out and by determining how to use it without building up more salt deposits.
Protection of the Environment
Quality of life is dependent on the quality of the environment. All life
is affected by pollution and environmental changes. Marine pollution has a
significant impact on the Earths environment. Oceans provide high quality
protein for a good portion of the planets population and play a major
role in regulating climate.
Through its Marine Environment Laboratory, the only marine laboratory within
the UN system, the IAEA is actively involved in protecting the worlds
oceans by using natural and manmade tracers to understand the dynamics
of the seas and to monitor for potentially toxic contaminants.
The IAEA has worked with several regional organizations to improve their
capacity to use nuclear techniques to monitor and assess marine pollutants,
like heavy metals and pesticides.
A project to enhance the capability of Black Sea countries to respond to
serious pollution problems has been undertaken.
New projects have been initiated to use nuclear techniques to rapidly detect
toxicity in marine foods contaminated with toxins produced by harmful algal