IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi, during a visit to the USA, told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that he plans to “recalibrate” the work of the IAEA, paying particular attention to areas ranging from nuclear safety and security to cancer care and gender parity.
Grossi said many countries were expanding or introducing nuclear power as part of their energy mix despite the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan in 2011 and highlighted its role in fighting climate change.
“Nuclear is growing,” he said, referring both to established nuclear power countries such as China, India and Russia as well as newcomer nations such as Belarus, the United Arab Emirates and others.
Partly as a result of this expansion as well as the growing use of nuclear techniques in other areas, the amount of nuclear material in the world was continually increasing, underlining the need for strengthened international efforts on nuclear safety and security, Grossi noted.
“You can’t be in this business without paying attention to nuclear security,” he said. “We need to be bolder in our efforts in this area.”
Turning to other IAEA activities, Grossi said many of its 171 member states benefited from support on cancer care, water management and food security.
It was a “scandal”, he added, that people in some 28 countries in Africa did not have access to radiotherapy to treat cancer. “The IAEA can do a lot in this respect,” he said.
Grossi also responded to audience questions about the IAEA’s safeguards activities in Iran, as well as about its readiness to return to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) once there is a political agreement among the countries concerned.
Photo: IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi with George Perkovich, Vice President for studies at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Photo: E. Perez Alvan/IAEA)