65th IAEA General Conference: U.S. National Statement
As delivered by
Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm
Vienna, Austria, September 20, 2021
Good morning. It’s an honor to address this group of distinguished delegates for the 65th IAEA General Conference.
It’s my privilege to relay a message from the President of the United States, Joe Biden. His message is:
I send my greetings to all who are participating in the 65th IAEA General Conference.
The IAEA was born in a time of global need and today remains an indispensable multilateral tool. It rests on the conviction that, with international cooperation and partnership, nuclear technologies can contribute to fostering peace, health, prosperity, and sustainable development around the globe.
In the decades since its founding, the IAEA has spurred critical advancements in the peaceful applications of nuclear energy. Today, we must work together to face a new set of common challenges, including fighting COVID-19, confronting the climate crisis, and blunting the existential threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
As we approach the upcoming COP 26 Climate Change Conference in the United Kingdom, the IAEA and its Member States must do all that we can to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
That includes exploring safe and secure nuclear energy as part of our energy mix.
Achieving our goals also requires international cooperation to advance the highest standards of safety, security, and safeguards. I urge all countries to adopt the Additional Protocol as a universal nonproliferation standard.
To that end, the United States continues to seek a mutual return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, and the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And we invite all of you to join us in demonstrating a shared, enduring commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at its upcoming Review Conference.
On behalf of the United States, I wish all of you a productive IAEA General Conference.
As President Biden noted, we all face an imperative to address climate change.
The IPCC report was clear. We’re at Code Red for humanity and we know the continued deployment of nuclear energy is essential to confronting climate change.
For too long, the conversation around climate change was wrongly framed as a choice between prosperity or austerity.
But today, we see that transitioning to net-zero represents a great economic opportunity: a global clean energy market that will grow to at least 23 trillion U.S. dollars by 2030.
And advanced nuclear energy is poised to play a critical part.
That’s an important reason why the United States is committed to nuclear innovation. But it’s not the only reason.
We have the technology and policy solutions to sustainably develop zero-carbon nuclear energy … to strengthen nuclear and radiological safety and security… and to improve global health outcomes… all at the same time.
So while I’m always very eager to talk about the Biden administration’s goal of reducing carbon emissions up to 52% by 2030 and get to 100% clean energy by 2035… our push to make historic investments in climate action, and our aim to harness the full potential of clean nuclear energy… I want to share some of our broader contributions to peaceful nuclear use.
Under the Biden administration, the United States has contributed to the Agency’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy.
We have also invested in training and capacity building to help IAEA Member States meet their safeguards obligations, and ensure that nuclear material is used solely for peaceful purposes.
We have provided support for NUTEC Plastics, the IAEA effort to control plastics pollution.
We are working with international partners to develop next generation advanced nuclear power technology. We’ve also invested in trainings, and workshops all focused on security for these new technologies.
And we have been working closely with the IAEA to plan the fifth International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, which we will host next year in Washington, D.C.
We are eager for opportunities to do more, particularly with partners by our side.
So over the course of our meetings this week, let’s join together and re-frame the dialogue on nuclear energy. Let’s make progress in our struggle against climate change. And let’s build the safe, secure, clean energy future we all know is in reach.