• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

IAEA Board of Governors: Iran, Ukraine and Peaceful Nuclear Pursuits


Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi delivered introductory remarks at the 1659th Board of Governors meeting, held at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran for the IAEA to proceed with further monitoring and verification measures is indispensable to the Agency fulfilling its mission, a written statement from Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi informed the IAEA’s Board of Governors this morning. In his introductory remarks to the quarterly session of the 35-member Board, Mr Grossi outlined recent safeguards developments in Iran; IAEA nuclear safety, security and safeguards activities in Ukraine, and touched upon numerous advancements in IAEA programmes and initiatives.

Mr Grossi began his remarks by updating the Board on the outcomes of his meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Iran Vice-President, and President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami, over the weekend. Outlined in a joint statement from the AEOI and IAEA on Saturday, Mr Grossi agreed with steps taken by Iran’s leadership to facilitate enhanced cooperation and expedite the resolution of outstanding safeguards issues. “This is important,” Mr Grossi told the Board.

Regarding traces of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin found by the IAEA in undeclared locations, Mr Grossi said that these outstanding safeguards issues had been ongoing for far too long: “It is really time to move to concrete results here, so that we can provide the necessary indispensable assurances about the purely peaceful nature of the programme in Iran.”

“All in all, these are steps in the right direction but of course we should be measured in our judgement as there is a lot of work ahead of us.” Mr Grossi said. “It is my obligation as head of the organization to always look for technically credible solutions to the problems we have in front of us. This is my responsibility, and I will continue doing this.”

Nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine

It has been one year since the war in Ukraine started, the first to be fought amid the facilities of a major nuclear power programme, and Mr Grossi’s written statement highlighted how the IAEA’s response to Ukraine’s request for assistance has been “both unprecedented in substance and scale; and swift; substantial; and sustained.”

“The issues related to the nuclear safety and security situation in Ukraine continue to occupy our work, our attention. It is the highest priority we have at the moment,” Mr Grossi told the Board. IAEA experts are on the ground and present at all five of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, keeping the world continuously informed about the conflict’s impact on the country’s nuclear facilities. Last month, the IAEA released a 52-page report covering the situation in Ukraine regarding nuclear safety, security and safeguards over the past 12 months and the IAEA’s activities to help reduce the likelihood of a nuclear accident during the armed conflict.

Mr Grossi told the Board that performing the most recent staff rotation at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) – the IAEA assistance mission’s sixth rotation – was heavily delayed and took almost a month. He thanked all of those involved in making the rotation possible, including the United Nations, which plays a logistic role, and in his written statement commended IAEA staff for “their professionalism, courage and commitment in this indispensable endeavour to reduce the risk of a nuclear accident”.

The Director General has intensified his consultations towards achieving the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone at the ZNPP site. “Can we really say we are serious about nuclear safety and security if we are not able to provide for a nuclear safety and protection zone around the plant which is in an active combat zone? I don’t think so,” Mr Grossi said to the Board. “Let’s not forget that the first priority in the world at this point in time, is to avoid a nuclear accident with serious radiological consequences in a nuclear power plant that has been shelled several times during the war.”

Peaceful pursuits for people

Mr Grossi expounded upon the IAEA’s continued activities promoting the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology in the areas of environmental protection, health and energy. He told Board members the IAEA would be launching its Global Water Analysis Laboratories Network (GloWAL) at the UN Water Conference in New York later this month. The network will include partners from Member States, in addition to the UN, including UNESCO, WMO, UNEP and UNICEF.

Describing the IAEA’s Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative (NHSI), Mr Grossi said the Agency was working closely with industry and regulators to accelerate the development of emerging nuclear energy technologies, such as small modular reactors. In June, a meeting at the IAEA headquarters will further help consolidate these efforts.

Mr Grossi also spoke about the planned discharges of ALPS-treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. In January, the IAEA Task Force reviewing the safety of the planned discharges conducted its fourth mission to Japan, and last month an IAEA team visited the Pacific region to discuss the matter with interested stakeholders. The Task Force is made up of a group of experts from 11 countries, including from countries in the region. Mr Grossi told the Board that it was important to involve and engage the region and Pacific nations in the activity.

Stay in touch