International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General, Rafael Grossi, attends an IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, February 6, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)
VIENNA – Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), hailed China's fast-growing nuclear energy industry, and expressed hope to strengthen nuclear cooperation between the agency and China, in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
Rafael Grossi spoke highly of China's nuclear energy development, saying that the country has been expanding its nuclear energy sector at an "exponential" rate as part of its decarburization and energy transition drive. Besides, China has been exporting its "world-class" nuclear technologies to other countries to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy around the world
Grossi is slated to visit China in late May. The trip, including visits to some of China's critical nuclear facilities, will be his first visit to the country since he took over at the helm of the IAEA in 2019.
Grossi said his visit to China was a "much-awaited visit" as the country is "one of the IAEA's most important partners and a world leader in every respect, in particular, nuclear matters."
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He spoke highly of China's nuclear energy development, saying that the country has been expanding its nuclear energy sector at an "exponential" rate as part of its decarburization and energy transition drive. Besides, China has been exporting its "world-class" nuclear technologies to other countries to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy around the world.
Grossi also highlighted the close cooperation between the agency and China in areas such as nuclear energy development, nuclear technology application, nuclear medicine and non-proliferation.
"China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and one of the global powers, is a country that has a say in many things where the IAEA also has some role to play," he said. "When we talk about global non-proliferation issues, my discussions with Beijing are simply indispensable."
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Noting that as the global interest in and demand for nuclear energy are increasing, he expected the IAEA's cooperation with China, a major technology provider, to become "wider, deeper."
Since the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February last year, Grossi has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the security situation of nuclear facilities in Ukraine, particularly the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which has come under attacks.
The IAEA chief has visited Ukraine, consulted with Kiev and Moscow, and established permanent presence of IAEA experts at Ukrainian nuclear facilities to ensure their safety and security.
He welcomed China's support for the IAEA's work, adding that his team regularly exchanges information with and gets advice from Chinese experts.
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In February, China released a paper stating its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, saying it opposes armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities and supports the IAEA in playing a constructive role in promoting the safety and security of those facilities.
Asked about China's position paper, Grossi said it is "very important," as support from China helps him "make the case for nuclear safety and security" in Ukraine.