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FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of Belgium

11/20/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2020 12:25

Belgium supports the development of civil nuclear applications through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Belgium is pleased to support the development of civil nuclear applications through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in sectors such as health and agriculture.

The IAEA supports its Member States in the development of nuclear technologies and guarantees their peaceful use. Belgium is a leading actor in this field, thanks to its recognized know-how in nuclear scientific research and nuclear medicine. In addition to the mandatory contribution to the regular budget, Belgium supports the IAEA every year with a voluntary contribution that strengthens the Agency's role in civil nuclear cooperation and in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Belgium will make a voluntary contribution of 1,608,768 euros to the IAEA in 2020 to finance various programs.

Better access through technical cooperation
Our country will contribute 695,682 euros to the IAEA Fund for Technical Cooperation, the main financial instrument to improve access to nuclear technologies for developing countries, through applications in areas such as health and nutrition, food and agriculture, water, environment and energy.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation
The COVID-19 pandemic hampers the Agency's nuclear non-proliferation verification activities, such as field inspections. 148,085 euros will be allocated to mitigation actions that safeguard the role of the oversight organization in the nuclear energy sector in non-proliferation during the pandemic.

Prevention of zoonoses
290,000 euros are allocated to building capacity to prevent, detect and contain future zoonosis epidemics, i.e. the transmission of pathogens from animals to humans (ZODIAC). The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that additional efforts and research are crucial to protect our health.

Cancer treatment
Belgium donates 50,000 euros for Nuclear Applications in Cancer Therapy (PACT), with which the IAEA is helping developing countries to provide high-quality radiotherapy to cancer patients. 110,000 euros will be dedicated to the program against cervical cancer, one of the most common cancers among women. 90% of the resulting deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. The Belgian contribution will be used for the prevention, screening and treatment of this type of cancer.

Agriculture
300,000 euros are allocated to the project to improve banana and coffee growing systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Nuclear applications in agriculture rely on the use of isotopes and radiation techniques to select crop varieties that are most resistant to climate change, pests and diseases. This project is carried out in collaboration with Belgian institutions and universities.

Protection
A contribution of 15,000 euros will go to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which monitors the effects of exposure to radioactive radiation. UNSCEAR investigates, among other things, the consequences of nuclear incidents, such as in Fukushima and Chernobyl.