Despite Lockdown, IAEA Continues Nuclear Verification and Supports Countries Fighting COVID-19 in Largest Ever Operation, Director General Tells Agency’s Board

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(IAEA) – The IAEA has carried out its largest ever operation by delivering 319 consignments of equipment for COVID-19 detection and diagnosis, personal protective equipment and other supplies to 88 countries, while continuing its normal operations during the coronavirus pandemic, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today. Shipments of material have been delayed to some other countries due to transport restrictions.

Addressing the first virtual meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors, Mr Grossi said the Agency had adjusted well to the lockdown introduced in March, when almost all staff began working from home, and it had continued to implement safeguards throughout the world to prevent misuse of nuclear material and activities for non-peaceful purposes.

“When 121 countries turned to the Agency for assistance with the virus, we delivered,” Mr Grossi said in a prepared statement. “We remain very conscious of the difficulties many Member States face and fighting the coronavirus will remain our top priority until the pandemic is finally defeated.”

Despite the lockdown, the IAEA continued to carry out all of its most time-critical in-field nuclear verification work, while rescheduling some less urgent activities such as equipment installation and maintenance. “Delivery of most safeguards activities at headquarters and at regional offices continued,” Mr Grossi stated. “We maintained our verification and monitoring activities, including by chartering aircraft for inspectors for the first time in the history of the Agency.”

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