Iran Sends Nuclear Chief to Atomic Energy Conference
When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) begins its week-long conference in Vienna Monday, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), will lead a delegation from his country, even as IAEA inspectors prepare to take samples from Iran’s Parchin nuclear site.
According to an exclusive report from Reuters citing two Western diplomats, United Nations inspectors will be present as the samples are taken from Parchin. Iran has long denied that nuclear weapons-related tests have occurred at the site.
The IAEA’s Vienna conference agenda includes a range of topics on the peaceful development of nuclear technologies. These include further strengthening the IAEA’s programs in areas of nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety; technical cooperation activities; and nuclear science, technology and applications. Other issues include nuclear security; strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of Agency safeguards; implementation of the non-proliferation treaty agreement between the Agency and the North Korea; and the application of IAEA safeguards in the Middle East.
According to a statement from IAEA director general from Monday morning, there are now 438 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries. Together, they provide about 11% of the world’s electricity. There are 67 reactors under construction, mostly in Asia. The latest global projections for 2030 show nuclear power either maintaining its contribution at the present level, or, possibly, growing significantly.
He went on to say:
Demand for the application of Agency safeguards is growing steadily. More nuclear material and facilities are continually being brought under safeguards, and more complex facilities need to be safeguarded. However, our budget in recent years has not kept pace with developments. In order to continue to meet our legal obligations, we continually strive to become more efficient, without compromising the credibility of our safeguards conclusions.
The IAEA conference concludes on Thursday.