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General Conference: Day 1 Highlights


At the start of the plenary session on the first day of the IAEA’s 66th General Conference Mr Alessandro Cortese of Italy was elected by acclamation as President of the Conference. 

In his opening statement IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated that the IAEA is addressing some of today’s biggest global challenges. He highlighted the benefits of nuclear science and technology to better prepare for the next zoonotic disease outbreak; to mitigate and adapt to climate change; to improve food and water security; to fight cancer; and to clean up the ocean. Additionally, he pointed out the role of nuclear energy in helping countries to meet their energy needs and in addressing climate change. Mr Grossi also stressed that nuclear safety and security in Ukraine are top priorities for the IAEA. 

Thirty-seven 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 ReNuAL2: Modernization of the IAEA Seibersdorf Laboratories celebrated recent donations from Belgium, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America to the IAEA’s project, ReNuAL2, for renovating and modernizing its laboratory hub in Austria. Participants learnt that the extrabudgetary funding will support construction of a new building in Seibersdorf that will serve as a new home for the Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory and the Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory. 

The Revealing Secrets Using Nuclear Techniques event explored the many versatile applications of nuclear non-destructive testing techniques in uncovering secrets in various domains, from investigating the composition and origin of historical objects to revealing fraud and verifying the authenticity of paintings, food and timber.  

The focus of the Diagnostic Radiology Medical Physicists: Who Are We? event, was the role of clinically qualified medical physicists (CQMPs) in sustaining the safe, quality and effective use of radiation for diagnostic purposes. Panelists at the event discussed the support provided by the IAEA to the medical physics profession, followed by the difference between radiologists and medical physicists and how radiation protection in hospitals has evolved after introducing medical physicists to the field. 

At the event Managing Exposure Due to Radionuclides in Food Other than During a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency participants learned about the different approaches to assessing and managing exposures from radionuclides in food during non-emergency situations. The outcomes of a collaborative project initiated in 2017 together the FAO and the WHO was presented to the attendees, including data on the radionuclides routinely present in food. 

The Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC): Current Status and Future Direction event focused on the actions undertaken through the ZODIAC initiative, launched by the IAEA in 2020. The event showcased the progress made over the past two years and how ZODIAC is supporting countries to be better prepared to detect, identify and fight, as early as possible, the ongoing and potential upcoming outbreaks of emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases. 

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. 

Member States’ activities:

At the event Successful Completion of the RBMK-1500 Defueling Project at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant: Experience and Expertise Gained, organized by Lithuania, experts from Lithuania gave insight into the successful completion of the defueling of the RMBK-1500 reactors at the Ignalina nuclear power plant. They also explained the technical and organizational aspects of the project.  

An event, Progress at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and in the Surrounding Area, organized by Japan, highlighted the latest achievements in the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as well as the reconstruction progress of the surrounding area, where local industries and infrastructures are being restored.  

Meeting the growing demand for new research reactors was the focus at the event, International Cooperation in Setting up Nuclear Research and Isotope Production Hubs: Research Reactor Based Centre for Nuclear Science, Technology and Innovation Project Implementation, organized by the Russian Federation. The event highlighted experiences in planning and implementing nuclear research centre projects in different countries.  

The event Advances in Boron Neutron Capture Therapy, organized by Japan, shared the recent developments in compact accelerator-based neutron source (CANS) technologies used for boron neutron capture therapy, which is a cancer treatment.  

A panel discussion at The Global Energy Crisis and the Role of Advanced Nuclear Technology event, organized by the United Kingdom, focused on the future of Advanced Nuclear Technology (ANT) in relation to current concerns about energy security, as well as the challenges and opportunities of delivering ANT at scale.  

Other activities:

The annual Treaty Eventpromotes universal adherence to the multilateral treaties for which the IAEA Director General is depositary. During this event, representatives from Cambodia, Mauritania, and Mozambique deposited legal instruments with IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi expressing consent to be bound by two multilateral treaties and an amendment.  

The meeting of the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG) Forum on the Safety Aspects of Nuclear Facilities in Armed Conflict Situations was dedicated to the safety of nuclear facilities in armed conflict situations, specifically with regard to the safety challenges and how to address them. The International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG) is an advisory group made up of high-level experts. 


Last update: 28 Sep 2022

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