Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta today met with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, in Auckland.
The Minister said discussions with Mr Grossi (pictured) covered a range of topics relating to the IAEA’s work in nuclear safety, security and safeguards, including the role the agency plays in promoting the peaceful and safe use of nuclear energy.
“Aotearoa New Zealand has a proud and longstanding nuclear free policy, and are strong supporters of the IAEA’s work, including promoting the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Ms Mahuta said.
“We also discussed at length its recent findings into the proposed Fukushima treated water release, noting its role as the international authority on nuclear safety matters.
“I reiterated New Zealand’s full confidence in the IAEA’s advice and commended their science-based approach. I also felt it was important to draw attention to the Pacific’s traumatic experience with nuclear testing and asked directly that meaningful engagement continue with the Pacific region on the proposed release.
“New Zealand acutely understands the effects nuclear testing has had on our Pacific neighbours in the past, and we will continue to call for this matter to be dealt with through transparency and meaningful dialogue in particular with Pacific partners,” Ms Mahuta said.
She said the pair also discussed the contribution the IAEA could make to efforts to address nuclear legacy issues in the Pacific, and to achieving a world without nuclear weapons. They also discussed the IAEA’s ongoing work in Ukraine.
“The IAEA’s expert presence at Ukraine’s five nuclear power plants, including the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya plant, is crucial to ensuring that every possible measure is taken to prevent a disastrous nuclear incident. We will continue to be steadfast in our support for the Agency’s vital stabilising role at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities,” Minister Mahuta said.
She also reiterated Aotearoa New Zealand’s strong support for the IAEA’s critical monitoring and verification role in Iran and the urgent need for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“I made clear to the Director General our appreciation of the IAEA’s commitment to fulfilling its respective nuclear safety, security and safeguards mandates, and assured him of Aotearoa New Zealand’s firm and ongoing support for the Agency’s vital work,” the Minister said.