Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation took part in the 65th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), held in Vienna, Austria on September 20-24.
The conference was attended by delegates from 173 IAEA member states. Due to restrictions ensuing from the ongoing epidemiological crisis, the conference was held in a hybrid format for the second year in a row, with some speeches taking place on site and others taking place virtually.
Director General of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev, who headed the Russian delegation, spoke at a plenary session of the IAEA’s General Conference on September 20. Likhachev praised the Agency’s work, noting that in the “challenging conditions caused by the pandemic, the Agency, under the leadership of Director General Mr. Rafael Grossi, continues to completely fulfill its statutory functions, applying safeguards to verify the use of nuclear material solely for peaceful purposes … providing support to States in developing their national nuclear infrastructures, and continuing to elaborate a regulatory framework for the safe and sustainable development of the peaceful atom.”
Alexey Likhachev also took part in the first meeting of the Vienna Group – an initiative of IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi that brings together the heads of 13 key companies and organisations of the global nuclear industry.
The Russian delegation held a number of thematic virtual events in which international nuclear energy experts took part alongside Rosatom representatives. In particular, prospects for inter-university cooperation were discussed at the virtual event “University Networking in the Pandemic: New Challenges or Advantages,” which was organised by Rosatom’s project office for the development of education and international cooperation.
The speakers shared their views on online interaction, evaluating whether this format poses a threat or makes a valuable contribution to the educational process. Participants examined the role of university networks in inter-university cooperation and the implementation of new research and development and industrial projects. On September 21, the participants of the event “Sustainability Compliance for Nuclear Energy as a Crucial Element of National Climate Policy” discussed nuclear energy’s contribution to solving the global climate crisis.
Polina Lion, Head of Sustainable Development Department at Rosatom, moderated the discussion. She noted that the fight against climate change remains the number one issue of importance on the global agenda. “Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report stating that, unless there is immediate, rapid and large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be beyond reach by 2050. This means that the current efforts are not enough to meet global climate goals. Thus, new low-carbon technologies and solutions are needed,” said Lion, adding that, as a low-carbon source of electricity, nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to solving the problem of climate change, which will only grow.
Speaking at the “Inclusive Human Resources Strategies for the Nuclear Sector: Balanced Diversity” event on September 23, Rosatom’s Deputy General Director for Human Resources Tatyana Terentyeva shared the results that Rosatom has managed to achieve in the field of human resources. Today, the share of women working in Russia’s nuclear industry exceeds 30% and the share of employees under 35 is 30%. “This is a good result, but we are striving to improve it. Therefore, one of Rosatom’s most important goals is to provide equal opportunities to every talented person and guarantee long-term and successful career development in the nuclear industry, regardless of gender and age. We strive to reveal the potential of each employee, to inspire each employee,” said Terentyeva.
She also spoke about Rosatom’s special programmes for youth and the elderly, about the initiatives of the “Association of Women in the Nuclear Industry,” about new inclusive leadership models, and about the international programme “Mission Talent,” which Rosatom has been implementing over several years now. The JSC Rusatom Overseas-organised event “Nuclear Science and Technology – where high living standards begin” focused on ways to effectively integrate nuclear science and technology into the economy, industry, and strategies for the development of science and education. Participants discussed the research infrastructure that is necessary to create disruptive technologies of the future, as well as what can be done to help countries develop their science and technology programmes.
A number of signing ceremonies took place on the sidelines of the IAEA. In particular, Rosatom State Corporation and Brazilian nuclear power plant operator Eletronuclear signed a Memorandum of Understanding, Rosatom and the Republic of Zimbabwe’s Energy Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and the IAEA and Rosatom Technical Academy signed a cooperation agreement to expand their previous agreements.
During the IAEA General Conference, Rosenergoatom held two simultaneous virtual tours at Leningrad and Beloyarsk NPPs. More than fifty specialists from various nuclear energy-related fields took part in the online events.
Information about Rosatom’s latest achievements and innovations were presented at the company’s stand at an exposition that occurred in the framework of the conference.