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French President, IAEA Director General Discuss the Role of Nuclear Energy, Iran’s Nuclear Programme and Ramping up Fight against Cancer


IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and French President Emmanuel Macron shaking hands at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 29 November 2021. (Photo: D. Candano Laris/IAEA)

France is supportive of the IAEA’s work in monitoring and verifying Iran’s nuclear programme and of its efforts to maintain a continuity of knowledge with respect to the Tehran’s nuclear activities, President Emmanuel Macron told IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in Paris today. President Macron also expressed his strong support to the IAEA in promoting the use of nuclear technology, including nuclear energy, in countries interested in making increased use of nuclear science.

France is one such country. President Macron had announced on November 9th further investment in nuclear power by building new reactors. The announcement followed the release of findings by the national grid operator Electricity Transmission Network (RTE) that an electricity mix with a 50% share of nuclear energy would be the most economical option for the country in the medium-term. The study, which compared options for 2050, factored in all associated costs, including the construction and maintenance of new plants needed to replace some of the older reactors. The country is also assessing the possibility of constructing a deep geological repository for the management of high-level radioactive nuclear waste, which could begin operations as of 2035.

“The IAEA provides the perfect platform for international exchange in all areas of nuclear science and technology, including the entire nuclear fuel cycle,” Mr Grossi said.

France operates 56 nuclear power reactors, which make up over 70% of the country’s electricity generation. It has a smaller per capita carbon footprint than most developed countries. “France is already a world leader in low carbon energy generation, and nuclear energy has a major role to play in that,” Mr Grossi said.

On 29 of November 2021, IAEA's Director General met with President Emmanuel Macron for the second time since taking up office (Photo: T. Legendre/Elysee Palace) 

Rays of hope: tackling cancer in Africa and beyond

Mr. Grossi informed President Macron about the IAEA’s upcoming initiative Rays of Hope, which will support increased access to cancer care in low and middle-income countries.

“Too many people die of normally preventable and curable cancers, particularly in Africa,” Mr Grossi said. “We are looking to donor countries and private sector partners to work with us and help developing countries address the gap in care.”

President Macron expressed his support to Mr Grossi for the initiative and his readiness to work together with the IAEA in combatting this serious challenge.

During his second official visit to France over the next two days, Mr Grossi will meet Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly, EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Levy, Andra CEO Pierre-Marie Abadie, Technicatome CEO Loïc Rocard and Orano CEO Philippe Knoche. He will attend the World Nuclear Exhibition and deliver a talk at Paris-Saclay University. He will visit the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INSTN).

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