Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Pakistan and IAEA to improve cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear technology

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief expressed its desire to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in various fields, including climate, agriculture, and health, especially in cancer treatment.

IAEA’s delegation, led by Rafael Mariano Grossi, is in Islamabad on a two-day visit to attend joint meetings and visit different institutions that use nuclear technology in power generation, health, industry, and agriculture.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of IAEA, expressed the agency’s intentions to enhance collaboration with Pakistan in peaceful uses of nuclear technology in diverse sectors during his speech at the launch ceremony of the latest CyberKnife machine at Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s flagship cancer-care hospital in Islamabad. CyberKnife is a fully robotic radiotherapy device.

“Pakistan is our privileged partner and we are working to enhance the cooperation,” Grossi told journalists after his visit to the Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute (NORI) in Islamabad.

According to Grossi, the IAEA initiated a program called “Rays of Hope” in 2022 to enhance the availability of radiotherapy, with a specific emphasis on developing countries. He stated that Pakistan’s “top-notch service centers” could play a crucial role in this program.

“And we have this wonderful technology and you have good technology and wonderful professionals,” he said. “So we can provide technology and from Pakistan, we can take professionals who can serve not only in Pakistan but other countries as well,” Grossi added.

On February 16, the delegation visited NIAB and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering (NIBGE) in Faisalabad.

Energy collaboration

The head of the IAEA also held individual meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to deliberate on mutual energy collaboration.

The Prime Minister expressed Pakistan’s full support for various projects and programs of IAEA and conveyed Islamabad’s eagerness to expand its footprints in the Agency’s work both as a recipient and provider of expertise and technical assistance, according to the statement issued by the PM office after the meeting.

“PM Sharif further acknowledged the role of nuclear power generation in Pakistan’s energy mix as a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy source,” the statement said.

The delegation also visited Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

The IAEA head also met Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and exchanged views on issues facing Pakistan, such as its vulnerability to Climate Change, and discussed how nuclear science and technological help tackle climate crisis.

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