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67th IAEA General Conference: Day 2 Highlights


Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General at the Scientific Forum, Nuclear Innovations for Net Zero, at the IAEA 67th General Conference held at the Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

During the plenary session of the General Conference, 43 delegations delivered statements, which are available here.

The 2023 Scientific Forum: Nuclear Innovations for Net Zero opened today. The two-day forum provides a platform of exchange for academics, policy makers and other experts to discuss the key role of nuclear energy as a reliable solution for mitigating climate change and transitioning to a net zero world. The event follows on from the Atoms4NetZero initiative, which provides countries and stakeholders including industry, financial institutions and international organizations with technical expertise and scientific evidence on the potential of nuclear energy to decarbonize electricity production, as well as hard-to-abate sectors such as industry and transport. In his opening remarks, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi highlighted that innovation is at the heart of many discussions to advance nuclear power and, ultimately, fighting climate change.

Watch the Scientific Forum. Read the IAEA Bulletin on Nuclear Innovations for Net Zero.

The following side events took place on Tuesday:

How the IAEA Supports Member States in the Event of Nuclear and Radiological Incidents and Emergencies outlined the history of the assistance provided by the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre to countries during nuclear and radiological emergencies. The event also demonstrated the evolution of the Centre’s operations regarding emergency preparedness and response to recent events.

The event 100 International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Missions: A Major Milestone for the IAEA’s Flagship Mission in the Area of Physical Protection commemorated the milestone. From the very first International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) missions in Bulgaria and Slovenia in 1996 to the most recent 100th mission in Zambia, teams of international experts convened by the IAEA have reviewed the physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities in 60 countries, as well as at the IAEA Laboratories in Seibersdorf.

During the Status Update on Rays of Hope: Cancer Care for All, country representatives updated participants on their achievements during the initial phase of the Rays of Hope initiative, which aims to help countries close their cancer care gaps via projects strengthening radiation safety legislation, infrastructure and providing quality control, guidance, training and equipment. At the event, anchor centres were presented.

The event The Battle Against Childhood Cancer: Finding A Ray of Hope focused on the role of IAEA when combatting various challenges associated with childhood cancer, such as misdiagnoses, malnutrition, inaccessible treatment and the lack of specialized health professionals. Attendees learned how the IAEA’s activities, including the Rays of Hope initiative, assist radiation application in countries to address these challenges.

The NUTEC Plastics: Progress and Prospects event included graphical representations on the progress of the NUTEC Plastics initiative to date, which has combatted plastic pollution on two fronts: at point of source, with irradiation  to improve plastic recycling; and in the ocean, to trace and monitor plastics , particularly microplastics.

IAEA’s contributions to remediate the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan was featured during the event on Remediation of the Semipalatinsk Test Site: 30 Years of IAEA Assistance. Participants learned about the impact of IAEA’s assistance, as well as prospects for the future economic use of the site.

The journey of the IAEA Safety Standards publications was showcased at The History of the IAEA Safety Standards and the Present Services for Enhancing their Footprint for Safety. This event marked 65 years of this set of publications, which serve as the global reference for national nuclear regulatory authorities to help protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

During a visit to the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre (NSTDC) located in Seibersdorf, Austria, the participants of The IAEA’s NSTDC: Contributions to Nuclear Security Training had a sneak preview to the first ever NSTDC and the training activities planned to start in October 2023.  

The focus of the event SMR Platform Activity: Reactor Technology Assessment Using the ARIS Database was the Nuclear Reactor Technology Assessment (RTA) methodology, one of the tools offered to assist countries in the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs). Participants at the event learned how to perform SMR assessment using the RTA methodology, and about the Advanced Reactors Information System (ARIS) database.

Member States’ events:

The construction phase of the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility–DEMO Oriented Neutron Source (IFMIF–DONES) has begun in Spain. IFMIF–DONES: The Present and Future of Fusion Energy Strategy event, organized by Spain, presented the status of the project as an international scientific cooperation initiative, open to public and private sector research communities worldwide.

At the 15th Plenary Meeting of the Forum of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies in Africa (FNRBA), organized by Ghana and Nigeria, representatives of regulatory bodies for nuclear and radiological safety and security met under the auspices of this regional network to plan activities and projects to enhance nuclear and radiation safety and security in Africa.

In September 2021, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) signed Practical Arrangements with the IAEA for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies. At the IAEA–Pakistan Partnership: Contributing to South–South Cooperation event, organized by Pakistan, achievements of the Practical Arrangements thus far and their contributions to the IAEA’s South–South cooperation initiative were highlighted.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s (JAEA) capacity-building efforts to ensure safety, security and safeguards (3S) and to cover emerging countries’ challenges and expectations in capacity building towards a sustainable new nuclear era were presented at The JAEA’s Contribution to Capacity Building to Ensure 3S for the Global Community in View of the Expected Expansion of Nuclear Energy Use. The event, hosted by Japan, explained the JAEA’s role in planning and providing capacity-building programmes for the international community, mainly focusing on Asia.

The current state of the Brazilian Multipurpose Reactor (RMB) project, which aims to produce radioisotopes for medical and industrial use; to use neutron beams in scientific and technological research; to perform neutron activation analyses; and to perform materials and nuclear fuel irradiation tests, was presented by the National Nuclear Energy Commission. The event on RMB: The New Research Centre of the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission, organized by Brazil, showcased how the RMB will improve the country's infrastructure for nuclear scientific and technological development. 

Other activities:

During the Safeguards Equipment Workshops: Non-Destructive Assay, Surveillance, Unattended Monitoring, Seals and Containment tour, visitors learned about verification equipment to support the IAEA’s verification mission. A self-guided virtual tour is available here.

ARASIA Board of Representatives Meeting offered the Board of Representatives of the Co-operative Agreement for Arab States in Asia for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (ARASIA) an opportunity to promote and coordinate activities for training, research, development and applications of nuclear science and technology.

The annual Meeting of the Board of ARCAL Representatives brought together the Board Members of the Regional Co-operation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL), where ARCAL’s accomplishments in promoting the use of nuclear techniques for peace and development were evaluated and the upcoming activities for 2024 were approved.

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