The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Union have reaffirmed their cooperation on nuclear activities and agreed to further explore areas of cooperation, such as nuclear safety, security and safeguards.
Nuclear safety and security in Ukraine topped the agenda of the eighth EU-IAEA Senior Officials Meeting. EU Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Marjolijn van Deelen, conveyed the EU’s concern over the growing nuclear safety and security risks in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s military aggression and reaffirmed the EU’s support to the IAEA’s initiative to ensure the safety and security of all nuclear facilitates in Ukraine.
“The EU remains categorically committed to defending multilateralism, especially at this time when its foundations are being questioned,” she said. “The EU’s support for the implementation of the IAEA’s mandate remains strong.”
Beyond safety and security, the role of nuclear power in accelerating the transition to carbon neutrality was discussed, as well as its contribution to decreasing the world’s dependency on hydrocarbons.
“Climate change involves a complete shift of mindset, a complete change in our economy and it involves a completely different way of producing energy,” said Massimo Garribba, Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s Energy Directorate-General who chaired the meeting from the EU side. “We need to accelerate our transition and we need to decrease our global dependency on hydrocarbons.”
In this regard, the IAEA and EU officials discussed the opportunities for collaboration in support of the development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs). The IAEA Platform on SMRs, launched last year, is a one-stop-shop for all aspects of SMR development, deployment and oversight and the European SMR Partnership aims to support the deployment of SMRs in the EU at the beginning of the next decade.