International Atomic Energy Agency and its 66th General Conference

PeopleOther ♦ Published: October 1, 2022; 19:15 ♦ (Vindobona)

Many issues were discussed at the 66th General Conference of the IAEA, held in Vienna. The theme of "Global Cooperation in the Nuclear Field" focused not only on nuclear security, the future of nuclear technologies, and the role of the IAEA but also on global nuclear security issues, such as Iran's and North Korea's nuclear programs as well as recent Russian nuclear threats.

As a result of the decisions made by the 175 IAEA member states at the General Conference, solutions are being developed for the most pressing challenges of our time, such as non-proliferation, energy security, and climate change. / Picture: © IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency / Dean Calma / Flickr Attribution (CC BY 2.0,

The global shift toward increasingly favorable attitudes toward nuclear power was on display this week at the IAEA’s 66th General Conference in Vienna, according to the Agency. Its role in addressing global challenges and achieving sustainable development goals, such as mitigating climate change, is officially recognized by a record number of countries.

A total of 50 Member States and the 27-nation European Union cited nuclear power favorably in a total of 140 national statements. Major nuclear power operating countries like China, France, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, and Russia praised nuclear energy as a reliable and low-carbon energy source in their national statements.

As well as the positive statements delivered by countries that already use nuclear power, many others, particularly from Africa, were delivered by the Member States without nuclear power in their energy mix.

The IAEA suggests for small electricity grids found in many African countries, new technology like small modular reactors (SMRs) with lower upfront costs and easier financing may be an effective solution.

As reported by, SMRs will be quicker and more affordable to build, have a higher level of inherent safety due to their design, provide greater flexibility when paired with solar and wind energy, and are being developed by many countries around the world.

In consideration of or embarking on nuclear power, IAEA Chief Rafael Mariano Grossi assured African countries they would have the full support of the Agency. "The IAEA will be with you every step of the way," Grossi said.

Many events were held about and around nuclear technologies in the health sector, economy and of course energy sector.

Scientific Forum with the theme Rays of Hope: Cancer Care for All

To diagnose and treat different types of tumors, Rays of Hope draws on the Agency's expertise and experience in nuclear science, as reported by According to the IAEA, more than 20 IAEA Member States have no radiation treatment facilities, so the initiative supports the establishment and expansion of diagnostic and treatment services.

One important topic of the IAEA’s 66th General Conference was the discussion about the Rays of Hope initiative. Experts discussed how to strengthen quality, safety and sustainability in cancer care, enhance innovation and research, and boost partnerships and networks

Representatives of countries and partners, including those who have already committed to supporting the Agency's fight against cancer, joined the Director General in supporting the initiative at the Scientific Forum.

A longstanding collaboration between the IAEA and World Health Organization (WHO) is one of them.  IAEA and WHO have scaled up their collaborative efforts to support and strengthen cancer control programs said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The WHO supports IAEA's Rays of Hope initiative, which is guided by the experiences of cancer patients, as part of our collective efforts.

Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Niger and Senegal are among the inaugural partner countries working with the IAEA under Rays of Hope, as reported by According to the IAEA, these countries are now mobilizing financial resources toward building, equipping and sustaining the necessary infrastructure for cancer care and training specialists, health workers and technicians.

According to the IAEA, joint efforts of various players in cancer care can result in preventing one-third of all cancers, including some of the most common forms such as cervical, breast, head and neck, and colorectal cancers. The IAEA advocates for more investments in diagnosis and treatment. This is to ensure that diseases are cured if detected early and treated appropriately.