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67th IAEA General Conference: Day 1 Highlights


The IAEA's 67th General Conference commenced today. (Photo: Dean Calma /IAEA)

At the start of the plenary session on the first day of the IAEA’s 67th General Conference, Ms Vilawan Mangklatanakul of Thailand was elected by acclamation as President of the Conference. 

In his opening statement, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi referred to US President Dwight D Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ speech in 1953, 70 years ago, and how his vision has become an important, active part of the IAEA’s contribution towards international peace and security and furthering sustainable development. “The IAEA is the operational instrument of this noble cause,” Mr Grossi said.     

Thirty-four delegations participated in the debate during the plenary session. Their full statements are available here

The following side events took place on Monday:

At the event Improving Quality and Patient Safety in Diagnostic Radiology in Central Asia, participants learned about the outcomes of various national and regional technical cooperation projects. The event focused on showcasing success stories in enhancing quality and patient safety in the field of diagnostic radiology across Central Asia.

During the event, IAEA’s Suite of Safeguards Assistance for States: Receiving the Right Support, participants learned about the multiple ways the IAEA is helping States implement effective and efficient safeguards, such as through various tools, programmes and training. The event focused on various initiatives, including the IAEA Comprehensive Capacity-Building Initiative for SSACs and SRAs (COMPASS), the IAEA State System of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material Advisory Service (ISSAS), the Safeguards Traineeship Programme and online learning tools. “The Department of Safeguards is proud to offer a suite of assistance to support countries in strengthening their state system of accounting and control of nuclear material,” said Marzia Baldassari, Team Leader for the Member State Training Team at the IAEA. “Receiving the right support helps Member States to fulfil their safeguards obligations, while facilitating the effective and efficient implementation of IAEA safeguards. Through these independent technical measures, the IAEA verifies that States use nuclear material and technology only for peaceful purposes.”

The event ZODIAC – Current Status and Path Forward highlighted the progress made three years after the establishment of the Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) initiative, which supports countries to rapidly detect and respond to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. Next to the achievements of the initiative’s objectives, participants also described the path forward to strengthen countries’ preparedness and response capabilities to potential outbreaks of emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases.

During the event, Atoms4NetZero: Assessing the Role of Nuclear Power and Developing Climate Mitigation Scenarios Through the IAEA’s Energy Modelling Tools, international experts, Atoms4NetZero partners and the IAEA exchanged insights on the modelling of energy transition scenarios that address climate change mitigation targets, including net zero objectives, and the broader context of sustainable development. The International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power 2023: Atoms4NetZero will take place 9-13 October at IAEA headquarters.

The Presentation by the Regional Network of Research Reactors and Related Institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean introduced the new Regional Network of Research Reactors and Related Institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event detailed the network's work plan and future activities. National authorities from participating nuclear institutions discussed the status of their facilities and revealed forthcoming projects related to research reactors and their utilization. A new e-learning course in Spanish on ‘Strategic Planning for National Nuclear Institutions’ was also launched during the event.

Member States’ side events:

The event IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank: Assurance of Supply Mechanism of Last Resort and a Reserve of LEU Available for Eligible Member States, organized by Kazakhstan, explored the establishment and operations of the IAEA LEU Bank. The session also highlighted the process of recertifying LEU cylinders as part of global efforts to ensure nuclear fuel supply during market disruptions.

Small modular reactors (SMRs), advanced nuclear reactors that typically generate up to 300 MW(e), were the focus of three events hosted by Member States’ today. At the Regulatory Efficiency: Using Collaboration to Support Regulatory Reviews of SMRs event, organized by Canada, the focus was on international collaboration for efficient regulation and safe deployment of these reactors. At the Science Behind Advanced and SMR Technology event hosted by the United States of America, national labs discussed their ongoing work and future collaborations with reactor developers to advance SMRs and other advanced technologies. At the Nuclear Marine Propulsion to Innovative SMRs and Deployment Models event, organized by the Russian Federation, Rosatom showcased its RITM-200 SMR, a technology evolved from decades of experience in operating nuclear icebreakers.

At the event Decision-Making Processes in Deep Geological Repository (DGR) Projects, organized by France, experts from Belgium, Finland, France and Sweden discussed their progress in licensing DGRs. The talks provided insight on long-term DGR planning and operation.

Other activities:

The annual International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group (INSAG) Forum facilitated discussions and exchange of opinions on factors shaping the future of nuclear safety. These factors included climate change, the increasing frequency of extreme environmental events, and evolving geopolitical and economic landscapes. “The agenda of this meeting, ranged across many of the complexities of nuclear safety, including the impact of climate change, the safety of management of waste, technological advancements and resilience. We greatly support and very much appreciate the important contribution and work of INSAG,” said Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.

The annualTreaty Eventpromotes universal adherence to the multilateral treaties for which the IAEA Director General is depositary. During this event, representatives from Belarus, Egypt and Zimbabwe deposited legal instruments to become a party to various multilateral treaties and amendments under IAEA auspices.

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