The year 2017 continued the 60-year anniversary celebrations at the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, which remains dedicated to its mission of providing global nuclear safeguards and development in the face of the threat of planet-altering climate change.
The year was marked by spreading interest in nuclear power and participation from 700 organizations from 68 IAEA member states and five international organizations that gathered in October in Abu Dhabi for the agency's Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. In the same month, the agency said, nuclear energy experts focused on nuclear plant commercial lifetime extensions. “In addition, around 700 nuclear engineers, scientists and decision-makers (gathered) to discuss fast reactors and related fuel cycles, which hold the promise of providing clean and sustainable energy for thousands of years, in Yekaterinburg, Russia,” the agency noted in its year-end press release.
Among the highlights of the year was the inauguration of a facility in Kazakhstan for storage of low-enriched uranium fuel that will be kept as part of a fuel supply program that will ensure fuel availability for the future.
The IAEA also said it was closely monitoring developments in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, where leader Kim Jong-Un in a New Year's day addressed called for his country to step up production of nuclear weapons and noted that he has long had a “nuclear button,” on his desk.
The country is seen as a rogue state, given it continues to test nuclear weapons despite a United Nations Security Council resolution forbidding it to do so.
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