The 65th Annual Regular Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was held from September 20 through 24 in Vienna. On the first day—the opening day—Japan’s Minister of State for Science and Technology Shinji Inoue, under the Cabinet Office, delivered a video statement in the general debate. He did the same last year.
Minister Inoue began by praising IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi for his leadership in promoting the Agency’s professional activities despite the hardships of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Inoue also referred to Japan’s support for the Agency’s activities in the area of pandemic countermeasures.
Regarding decommissioning at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) a decade after the giant earthquake and nuclear accident of March 2011, the minister noted that reviews by the IAEA would be carried out on safety, regulation and monitoring in the matter of water treated with multi-nuclide removal equipment (ALPS: Advanced Liquid Processing System). Water meeting regulatory standards for substances other than tritium will be released into the sea.
Minister Inoue said that Japan would continually present the state of the NPPs to the global community, transparently and on scientific bases. He emphasized that Japan would cooperate with the IAEA toward the implementation of each review.
In conjunction with the IAEA general assembly, various exhibitions were staged as well. Actually, it was the first time in two years for the events to be staged, after cancellation last year due to the pandemic.
At the Japanese booth, the main themes were nuclear innovation toward achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and major steps over the past ten years in the recovery and reconstruction of Fukushima. Shown in the panels were efforts by both the public and private sectors based on the NEXIP (Nuclear Energy x Innovation Promotion) Initiative, Q&A on ALPS treated water, and more.
On the first day of the exhibition, many attendees in Vienna for the general assembly visited the Japanese booth. They included Chairman Mitsuru Uesaka of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and Director-General William D. Magwood IV of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency. At the booth, personnel from JAIF and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) attended to the numerous visitors.
A special site for the exhibitions during the IAEA General Conference can be found HERE.
Meanwhile, JAEC Chairman Uesaka, who attended the general assembly as a representative of Japan, spoke on September 20 at a side event sponsored by the Cabinet Office on the state of development of alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals and supplies of isotopes.
He also met with IAEA Director General Grossi and Chairman François Jacq of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). “There are many important issues and projects,” Director General Grossi said, “that Japan and the IAEA will work on together.” He emphasized the IAEA’s cooperative, mutual, future-oriented mindset.
Chairman Uesaka also expressed gratitude for the IAEA’s cooperation toward decommissioning at the Fukushima Daiichi NPPs, and for its activities regarding nuclear nonproliferation issues in regard to North Korea and Iran.