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French President Macron Highlights Support for IAEA in Meeting with Director General Grossi

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IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 3 March 2020. (Photo: E. Perez Alvan/IAEA)

France remains a strong supporter of the IAEA and its mandate – both in deterring the spread of nuclear weapons and in facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear technologies worldwide, President Emmanuel Macron told IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in Paris today.

Mr Grossi stressed the important role France has played with respect to the 2015 agreement between world powers and Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in keeping the dialogue between the parties open. President Macron and Mr Grossi agreed on the need for Iran to cooperate with the Agency in clarifying all outstanding safeguards matters and upholding its obligations.  

In his first official visit to France since taking office in December, Mr Grossi and his hosts discussed France’s progress in the development of small modular reactors for nuclear power, the role of nuclear power in the fight against climate change and in the reduction of fossil fuel use, as well as the role of nuclear techniques in reaching development objectives, particularly in Africa.

“France is an important partner for the IAEA and your support to our technical cooperation programme goes a long way in helping African countries get access to nuclear technology and expertise in the areas of food and agriculture and cancer care,” Mr Grossi said at his meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.

France, whose 58 nuclear reactors produce over 70% of the country’s electricity, has a smaller per capita carbon footprint than most other developed countries, Mr Grossi said. This is largely thanks to nuclear energy, he added. “The IAEA is committed to working with any country that shares our vision that nuclear power could be part of the solution against climate change,” he said. “We help them use nuclear power safely, securely and sustainably.”

François Jacq, CEO of the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), has acknowledged the role of the IAEA in nuclear safety and security and the benefits to France of IAEA peer review missions. These missions – based on IAEA safety standards and security guidance – review the operations of nuclear power plants and provide a report identifying best practices and areas of improvement.

In his meetings with his French counterparts, Mr Grossi thanked France for its support to the IAEA’s goals to reach gender parity – both among the beneficiaries of its technical cooperation activities and in its own staffing.

“France has always been a key partner for the IAEA,” he said. “We look forward to strong collaboration in the future.”

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