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Opening Remarks at the International Conference on Radiation Science and Technology

Vienna, Austria

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to welcome you to the first IAEA International Conference on Radiation Science and Technology.

It is high time that such an event took place to highlight the remarkable contribution which nuclear applications make in so many areas of our lives.

A glance through the list of presentations planned for the next few days reveals the amazing diversity of these applications.

They range from the disinfection of cultural heritage artefacts, to developing new food packaging materials, treating sewage, inspecting oil and gas pipelines and sterilising human tissue grafts used in surgery.

Radiation technology applications have had a profound impact on the way we live and the IAEA is pleased to have been a partner in the growth of these technologies.

A key role of the Agency is to make nuclear science and technology available to developing countries as they pursue their development goals in human health, agriculture, industry, energy, natural resource management and many other areas. 

There is great demand for our services.

Developing countries are not simply passive recipients of technologies created and shared by their developed partners.

On the contrary, many developing countries have acquired high levels of expertise in nuclear science and technology. They use this expertise to innovate for their own benefit but also share it with other developing countries.

For example, Malaysia shares with Sudan its considerable expertise in non-destructive testing. As you know, this involves using ionizing radiation to test the quality of a host of manufactured products, from oil and gas pipes to aircraft components.

Vietnam has transferred radiotracer technology, used in the petrochemical and mining industries, to Angola.

There are many such examples of South-South cooperation, which the IAEA encourages and supports. I am pleased that scientists from developing countries are well represented among the presenters this week.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The IAEA has a special focus on capacity-building. We help countries to build up a solid body of well-trained specialists in radiation technology who can pass on their expertise to future generations.

Since 1958 – the year after the IAEA was established – more than 48,000 scientists and engineers have held fellowships and scientific visitor positions through the IAEA technical cooperation programme. They worked at our laboratories near Vienna or in Monaco, or in the facilities of our partners around the world.

Many of these scientists and engineers went on to play a key role in building capacity in nuclear science in their countries. I expect that some of them are with us today.

The IAEA is also the forum for international cooperation in ensuring that nuclear and other radioactive materials are used safely and that people and the environment are protected from harm.

Just as importantly, we help countries to put in place effective security procedures so that nuclear and other radioactive materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists.

This is all part of our contribution to ensuring that radiation science and technology achieve their full potential for the benefit of humankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Conferences such as this provide a valuable opportunity for research scientists, industry specialists and decision-makers to share experiences.

I am grateful to the many experts who have come to share their knowledge this week. I also welcome the many representatives of governments, industry associations and NGOs who have joined us.

I am sure you will have fruitful and rewarding exchanges in the next few days. I wish you every success with this important conference and I look forward to learning about the outcome.

Thank you.



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