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Director General Grossi Outlines Plans to “Recalibrate” IAEA

Washington, D.C.

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IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi with George Perkovich, Vice President for studies at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Photo: E. Perez Alvan/IAEA) 

Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi spoke about his plans to “recalibrate” the work of the IAEA at a prominent think-tank event in Washington D.C. today, signalling he would pay special attention to areas ranging from nuclear safety and security to cancer care and gender parity.

Addressing a well-attended meeting at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at the end of a two-day official visit to the US capital, Mr Grossi said many countries were expanding or introducing nuclear power as part of their energy mix despite the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan almost a decade ago and highlighted its role in fighting climate change.

“Nuclear is growing,” he told the audience of nuclear experts, diplomats, journalists and others, referring both to established nuclear power countries such as China, India and Russia as well as newcomer nations like Belarus, the United Arab Emirates and others.

Partly as a result of this atomic energy expansion as well as growing use of nuclear techniques in other areas, the amount of nuclear material in the world was constantly increasing, underlining the need for strengthened international efforts on nuclear safety and security, Mr Grossi said.

“You can’t be in this business without paying attention to nuclear security,” he said. “We need to be bolder in our efforts in this area.” Highlighting the IAEA’s key role in international efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, he said the Agency is hosting next week a high-level conference on nuclear security in Vienna, with more than 50 participants at ministerial level expected.

Turning to other areas of the IAEA’s activities, Mr Grossi said many of its 171 Member States benefited from what it has to offer on cancer care, water management, food security and much else. It was a “scandal”, he added, that people in some 28 countries in Africa did not have access to radiotherapy to treat cancer. “The IAEA can do a lot in this respect,” Mr Grossi said.

He also responded to several audience questions about the IAEA’s safeguards activities in Iran, as well as about its readiness to return to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) once there is a political agreement among the countries concerned.

The visit to Washington D.C. was his first to the country since taking office two months ago. On Tuesday, he met with Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and other senior US government officials, who expressed strong support for the IAEA’s work for global peace and development. Earlier on Wednesday, he met with members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, including Chairman James Risch and Ranking Member Robert Menendez.

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Last update: 06 Feb 2020

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