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General Conference: Day 1 Highlights


The IAEA's 65th General Conference commenced today. (Photo: F.Llukmani/IAEA)

At the start of the plenary session on the first day of the IAEA’s 65th General Conference, Sadiq M. Marafi of Kuwait was elected by acclamation as President of the Conference.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in his opening statement highlighted the IAEA’s commitment to continuing its verification work to prevent any misuse of nuclear material despite the challenges presented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized the IAEA’s contribution of equipment for coronavirus detection and diagnosis to 129 countries and encouraged countries to support the IAEA’s Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) initiative to establish a global network of national diagnostic laboratories for the monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of zoonotic diseases. Mr Grossi stressed the importance of the work of the IAEA to ensure that nuclear energy “is and must be part of the solution to climate change.”

A message from Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, was delivered at the plenary session.

Forty-two delegations participated in the debate during the plenary session. Their full statements are available here.

The following side events took place on Monday:

The event Nuclear Security E-learning: A Tool to Effectively Engage with Nuclear Security Practitioners Worldwide showcased the suite of IAEA nuclear security e-learning modules, engaging users in an interactive presentation and session. During the event, participants could try out the modules under the guidance of IAEA experts involved in their development.

At the ReNuAL2: Building for Science event, attendees were given an overview of accomplishments in the project to modernise the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, near Vienna – a project that will help the IAEA better support countries in addressing challenges like cancer and climate change. During the event, participants saw examples of disease resilient coffee plants developed and grown at the facility’s Plant Breeding Laboratory and learned about the way in which the Terrestrial Environment Laboratory works to help understand the global carbon cycle and the role that greenhouse gases play in climate change.

A panel discussion at the Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans (INSSP): Building on 15 Years of Achievements event, focused on the impact of INSSPs and how this IAEA support mechanism has evolved to better adapt to countries’ needs.

At the event State Declarations Portal (SDP): The Efficient Way to Exchange Information with the IAEA Department of Safeguards participants learned about the portal, which provides an online method for State and regional authorities to submit to, and receive information from, the IAEA’s Department of Safeguards in a secure manner.

At the Nuclear Knowledge Management Digital Hub event, participants learned where they could access the latest information on nuclear knowledge management guidance and services, to support countries with operating nuclear facilities and those considering or developing new nuclear programmes.

Recognising contributions to plant mutation breeding, the Achievement Awards in Plant Mutation Breeding and Associated Biotechnologies event honoured 28 researchers and research teams of institutions from across 20 countries with awards for outstanding achievements. The recognition included 11 Outstanding Achievement Awards, 10 Women in Plant Mutation Breeding Awards, and seven Young Scientist Awards for significant efforts in the last decade in the development of new mutant varieties using irradiation.

The winning team of the IAEA Net Zero Challenge, a contest that asked young people around the world to craft winning policy proposals for the clean energy transition, was announced today at an event, IAEA Net-Zero Challenge: Meet the Finalists. During the event, the authors of the six finalist papers presented their proposals to an IAEA jury, describing how low carbon energy sources could help their countries and regions in achieving the Paris Agreement goals. The winning team, from Singapore, was then announced. A representative of the winning team will attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November and speak there at an IAEA event.

Member States’ activities:

An event, Technologies for adaptation and resilience to climate change organised by the United Kingdom, gave insight into the the role that nuclear technologies and applications play in monitoring, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. Participants heard about how these techniques improve food and water security through crop adaptation, protect marine environments from the impacts of absorbing CO2 and more.

Representatives from Japan shared the country’s experiences and the progress of decommissioning at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in an event, Progress of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Decontamination and Decommissioning.

Perspectives on collaboration in university networks were the focus at the event, University Networking in the Pandemic: New Challenges or Advantages, organized by Russia. Speakers shared their views on virtual networking - whether it is a threat or additional input for educational networks, and its role in cross-university cooperation and new projects. Participants also discussed the role of university networks in research and development, and industry.

The event Development of alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals and the supply of isotopes: 225Ac and the possible role of international organizations, organized by Japan, highlighted the expected role of international organizations in promoting the practical use of alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals, such as 225Ac- PSMA-617. It featured presentations from the pharmaceutical industry, the research sector and international organizations.

Other activities:

The annual Treaty Event promotes universal adherence to the multilateral treaties for which the IAEA Director General is depositary. During this event, representatives from Zimbabwe deposited legal instruments expressing consent to be bound by various multilateral treaties.

At its annual meeting, the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG) Forum gave attendees insight into progress in decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, improvements in external hazards assessments, regulatory and safety upgrades implemented at nuclear power plants globally and more. INSAG is an advisory group made up of high-level experts.


Last update: 21 Sep 2021

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