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The Week Ahead: IAEA Hosts Annual General Conference


The IAEA’s 66th General Conference is taking place at the Agency’s headquarters in Vienna, from 26-30 September 2022. (Photo: D.Calma/IAEA)

Representatives from the IAEA’s 175 Member States will convene from 26 to 30 September for the 66th IAEA General Conference at the Agency’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

“Our work assisting Member States in addressing some of their most pressing development challenges continues,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said last week, addressing the IAEA’s Board of Governors. He detailed the IAEA’s work in areas from climate change and food security to plastic pollution and zoonotic diseases. At the opening of the conference on Monday morning, Mr Grossi will report on the Agency’s work and achievements in the past year.

During the week, delegates will discuss a range of topics, from the 2021 Annual Report and the 2023 budget to strengthening activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications, as well as the Agency’s nuclear safety and security activities and strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of Agency safeguards. They will also discuss specifically nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine and safeguards in the Middle East and in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. 

General Conference sessions in the Plenary Hall, including the statements of officials and delegates, will be livestreamed for the public. Documents provided to delegates are available here.

Side events and visits

Throughout the week, both the IAEA and its Member States will host about 80 side events, some of which will be livestreamed and open to the public. The events will highlight different aspects of the IAEA's work, from ongoing initiatives related to health and nuclear energy to available e-learning resources and the modernization of the Agency’s laboratories at Seibersdorf.

During a side event on Monday, Revealing Secrets Using Nuclear Techniques, experts participating in an ongoing regional project in Europe will demonstrate how they are applying nuclear technology to verify the authenticity and provenance of cultural heritage artefacts, foods and medicines.

Another event will provide the latest status and future direction of the Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC). The IAEA launched ZODIAC in 2020 to support countries in the early detection, prevention and control of zoonotic diseases. To date, more than 1000 participants from over 95 countries have been trained through ZODIAC’s virtual interregional training courses.

The IAEA presented its Platform on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and their Applications at last year’s General Conference. This year, a side event will present the progress and achievements of the Platform after one year, including the recently launched SMR Portal, the IAEA’s strategic objectives in supporting global SMR deployment and an interregional project on SMRs and microreactors.

The IAEA introduced a new generation of seals this year. Seals are one of the tools that IAEA safeguards inspectors use to verify that nuclear material is used only for peaceful purposes. During a side event, the new seal will take the spotlight, and participants will learn how almost 28 000 IAEA seals are applied to nuclear material, facility critical equipment or IAEA safeguards equipment at nuclear facilities around the world.

To mark the success of the Agency’s Programme on Nuclear Security at Major Public Events (MPEs) over the past 18 years, case studies, as well as planned developments in the MPE programme, will be presented during a side event. Countries which received, or will receive, IAEA assistance for the implementation of nuclear security measures in major public events in 2022 will share their experiences.

Other side events include sessions on the COMPASS initiative, External Events Notification System, Spent Fuel and Radioactive Waste Information System (SRIS), recruitment at the IAEA (virtually open to the public), the contribution of the IAEA laboratories in Seibersdorf to science diplomacy, 20th anniversary of the Cooperative Agreement for Arab States in Asia for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (ARASIA), Nuclear Technology for Controlling Plastic Pollution (NUTEC Plastics) and more. See the full list of events.

There will also be guided visits for delegates and the media to the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Centre, Radiation Safety Technical Services Laboratory, Isotope Hydrology Laboratory and the Safeguards Equipment Laboratories. Delegates will have an opportunity to tour the IAEA’s Nuclear Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf, located 35 km south of Vienna. Advanced registration is required for some tours. See the full list of guided and virtual visits.

Scientific Forum on cancer care

In conjunction with the General Conference, the IAEA will host its annual Scientific Forum from 27 to 28 September with this year’s theme, Rays of Hope: Cancer Care for All. The IAEA initiative, Rays of Hope, seeks to help countries increase access to cancer care either by establishing or expanding their capabilities in this area.

The Forum, which is divided into five sessions, will present the role of radiation technologies for the diagnosis of cancer and the treatment of patients. Speakers will discuss how to enhance quality, safety and sustainability in cancer care, bolster regional cancer institutions and networks, and develop regional cancer centres to provide high-quality care and training. Innovation in education and research to meet the growing global need for cancer care, as well as enhancing access to medical uses of radiation safely and securely, will also be discussed.

Several high-level speakers from government, industry and international organizations will present during the two-day event. Mr Grossi will open the Forum and join a high-level panel discussion during the last session to highlight the importance of partnerships and collaborations in promoting access to cancer care through Rays of Hope.

The Forum will be livestreamed here, and the programme is available here.

Follow the IAEA on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn for updates throughout the week: #IAEAGC for the General Conference and #CancerCare4All and #Atoms4Health for the Scientific Forum.

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