VIENNA – Rafael Mariano Grossi, who will be elected the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told EFE on Sunday that nuclear energy could offer solutions to the climate crisis.
The 58-year-old Argentine diplomat will become the first Latin American to lead the UN-backed institution.
In an interview with EFE on the eve of his election, Grossi explained the main challenges the agency will face in the coming years.
Tensions with Iran and North Korea continue to dominate the agenda, as well as a pledge for further transparency of the organization and increased efforts to join the fight against the climate crisis.
What are the main geopolitical challenges of the IAEA in the coming years?
I would say that immediate challenges exist, they are there irrespective of my wish or personal will.
It is clear that the situation in and around the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran is something that is there, is on the table, we are working with Iran and the board of governors is seized with the matter, and Iran is engaging with us.
There are many things that are under discussion so that is without shadow of a doubt the first thing people are concerned with.
The second I suppose, sooner rather than later, the agency will have a role to play when a political decision is reached between the Unites States and North Korea. So there again we will have a huge responsibility against a very complicated background of a country that has already developed a nuclear arsenal.
So these are the most immediate issues, but there many others that are pressing, perhaps not urgent, but pressing issues that have to do with all our work in safety that is so important for many countries with everything surrounding Fukushima, which is a still situation which, while stabilized, continues to pose certain issues and questions.
Our work in nuclear security, with everything going on around the world, there are these very, very well-founded fears of hostile uses of nuclear material.
Quite clearly also when it comes to nuclear energy, with more and more countries acceding to nuclear energy, and many, if not all, of the mature, consolidated, nuclear energy users either keeping the present levels or augmenting, increasing. So as you can see it is a very, very heavy agenda in front of me.
What is the IAEA’s role when it comes to the climate crisis?
COP25 is a formidable platform. Climate change is an incredibly important issue as a global society. Nuclear energy and the agency is a voice that has been quite absent from these types of debate.
We have not claimed to have central roles in this debate, but it is clear by the fact that nuclear energy is a clean energy, is an energy that produces very little greenhouse gas emissions and bad effects on the atmosphere and the environment.
It is never part of the problem, it is part of the solution. Whether countries will want to use it or not is another matter. So we are not lobbying for nuclear energy, but we will not shy away from stating the facts.
So we hope to contribute. Our presence there is a contribution from this side of the debate, it is clear that nuclear needs to be heard and this is my idea in coming to Madrid next week.