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Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi addressing the United Nations General Assembly via a video message.

In addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time since his appointment as Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi spoke of the global impact of COVID-19 and climate change as well as of the role of nuclear technologies in tackling these and other development challenges.

In his statement, delivered via video message to an online session of the General Assembly, Mr Grossi presented the Report of the IAEA and spoke about how the IAEA adapted its operations during the lockdown last spring, moving many of its activities online and organizing meetings, training courses and webinars including sessions supporting radiologists, nuclear power plant operators and nuclear safety specialists in carrying out their work in the face of the pandemic. He recalled the IAEA’s emergency COVID-19 support to its Member States in the use of RT-PCR, a nuclear derived technique used for the detection of the virus that causes the disease.

“We launched the largest operation in the Agency’s history to help countries confront the coronavirus,” Mr Grossi said. “Nearly 1,500 consignments of equipment for virus detection and diagnosis, and other supplies, have been delivered to some 125 countries.”

Mr Grossi spoke of the new IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) initiative to help the world be better prepared for future pandemics. ZODIAC will include a global network of diagnostic laboratories working towards the monitoring, detection and control of zoonotic diseases – diseases transmitted from animals to humans.

“Member States will have access to nuclear or nuclear-derived equipment, technology packages, expertise, guidance and training. Decision-makers will receive up-to-date, user-friendly information that will enable them to act quickly,” said Mr Grossi.

MIL Security OSI