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Director General Grossi Visits Peru to Sign Agreements on Atoms4Food, Mining and Lithium


Rafael Mariano Grossi signed an Atoms4Food agreement with Javier González-Olaechea, Peru’s Foreign Minister, building on the IAEA’s efforts to enhance agricultural practices in Peru.

The Director General of the IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi has been in Peru for high level meetings to enhance support for the country through the peaceful uses of nuclear technology in food security, health and the environment. During the visit, Peru’s Foreign Minister Javier González-Olaechea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mr Grossi to increase food security under the IAEA’s Atoms4Food programme.

Fisheries and mining are Peru’s main economic activities and the IAEA plans to step up its support to help Peru benefit even more from nuclear techniques to boost sustainability and development. During his visit, Mr Grossi reiterated the IAEA's support to Peru in tackling microplastic pollution in its coastal waters under the IAEA’s NUTEC Plastics initiative, and signed a declaration with the Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Rómulo Mucho Mamani, to protect the environment through more sustainable mining and lithium exploration.

Mr Grossi was awarded an Order of Merit for Distinguished Service by Peru’s government, and said it was an “honour” to receive this decoration.

“As the first Latin American Director General of the IAEA, this honour highlights Peru’s commitment to peace, multilateralism and atoms for development,” he said.


Peru’s MoU under Atoms4Food is aimed at increasing food security through climate smart agricultural practices. Peru has already enhanced its sugarcane production using nuclear and isotopic techniques. When the devastating banana disease Banana Fusarium Wilt began to spread to farms in Peru in 2021, the IAEA provided emergency assistance to the country’s Andean community, in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Peru has benefited from IAEA assistance through its technical cooperation programme in adopting the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). As a result, it has established areas free of the Mediterranean fruit fly export in the south of the country and can export mangos without quarantine restrictions. 

Peru is a major fishing nation, and Mr Grossi also visited Peru’s Instituto del Mar del Perú (IMARPE) which has been supported by the IAEA’s Marine Environment Laboratories in the aftermath of the Ventanilla oil spill in 2022 and in efforts to tackle microplastic pollution.

“Collaboration with the IAEA’s NUTEC Plastics initiative is key for sustainable marine ecosystems, addressing microplastics pollution and more, including emergency assistance after the 2022 Ventanilla oil spill,” Mr Grossi said.

Following the Ventanilla oil spill, the IAEA sent experts and sophisticated monitoring equipment to help limit the environmental damage. 

IAEA support will help IMARPE strengthen national and regional capacities to use isotopic and nuclear techniques for the sustainable management of coastal marine systems. Areas of focus will include ocean acidification; excessive plant and algae growth due to concentrations of nutrients known as eutrophication; and early warning systems for harmful algal blooms and microplastic pollution.

The IAEA is also hoping to help Peru protect the environment by enabling it to carry out mining and lithium exploration sustainably.  Mr Grossi signed a Joint Declaration on cooperation in the area of Nuclear Technology Applications in the Sustainable Mining Industry and Lithium with the Minister of Energy and Mines, Rómulo Mucho Mamani.

“Peru’s mining sector stands to benefit greatly from nuclear techniques, boosting sustainability and development,” he said.

Child Health

In addition to the IAEA’s work supporting agriculture, mining and fisheries in Peru, Mr Grossi also visited San Borja National Institute for Child Health where Peru’s first tissue bank was established in 1996 with IAEA support. The tissue bank enables scientists to treat burns patients by using radiation technology to grow new skin or by creating skin grafts, improving recovery times and quality of life for patients.

Mr Grossi gives a high five to a patient at San Borja National Institute for Child Health.

Rays of Hope

An imPACT Review coordinated by the IAEA in April found that Peru was making good progress in all areas of cancer control. Visiting Peru's Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplásicas (INEN), Mr Grossi said that Peru would receive more equipment as part of the IAEA’s flagship Rays of Hope: Cancer Care for All initiative. Rays of Hope aims to close the global gap in cancer care by expanding access to treatments such as radiotherapy where the need is greatest. Mr Grossi also explored how the IAEA could support the expansion of radiotherapy and diagnostics in the country to decentralized regions with Peru’s Ministry of Health.

At a visit to Peru’s Centro Nuclear Óscar Miró Quesada de la Guerra (RACSO) Mr Grossi praised nuclear research taking place of the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy (IPEN). RASCO is home to the research reactor RP-10 and a Radioactive Waste Management Plant (RWMP) at the RACSO Nuclear Center serves as the centralized facility for storing radioactive waste in Peru.  Peru is currently leading the Regional Network of Research Reactors and Related Institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean (RIALC) and hosted the RIALC network meeting in August 2023.

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