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Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Meets with Pope Francis

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 13.01.2023).- In a two-day visit to Italy and Vatican City State, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, met with the President and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy, as well as with Pope Francis, to address several topics, such as nuclear safety in Ukraine, nuclear non-proliferation and the role of nuclear science and technology in the fight against climate change.

Meeting with Pope Francis

On Thursday, January 12, Mr Grossi met with Pope Francis, who is the Head of State of the Holy See, an IAEA Member State, and Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, and the Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. Humbled and grateful to meet the Head of the Roman Catholic Church once again, the two spoke about climate change impacts and nuclear non-proliferation.

In his discussion with Mr Grossi, Pope Francis echoed points from his recent Address to the Vatican’s Diplomatic Corps, in which he reaffirmed his stance on the possession of atomic weapons and the risks they pose.

Mr Grossi and the Pope also spoke about the potential of nuclear science and technology in addressing the worsening global climate crisis. Over the past five decades, nuclear power has cumulatively avoided the emission of about 70 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) — equivalent to the emissions from the entire global power sector in the five years between 2015 and 2019 — and continues to avoid more than 1 Gt CO2 annually.

After the meeting, Mr Grossi said that he deeply appreciated the encouraging words of the Pope regarding the importance of the IAEA’s work in promoting dialogue and solutions based on multilateral negotiations, including in Ukraine.