President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Director General, I am very happy to welcome you in St Petersburg, in Russia.
Ever since the Agency was created, Russia not only always supported it, but actually stood at its origins, since 1957, supporting the Agency’s activities all the way. We have been active in the IAEA up to this day. We attach great importance to the mission of the Agency to which you too, as its head, devote your life, years of your life.
We have always favoured equal access of all states to the blessings of peaceful nuclear energy. That said, we believed and still believe that it is necessary to do everything to limit the spread of military nuclear technology. We were the first to develop a fast-neutron reactor. As you know, we are making progress in shipbuilding and atomic-powered propulsion systems. Russia was the first to create floating nuclear power plants. In general, Russia has been a world leader in the field of nuclear innovations.
We see today elements of excessive and dangerous politicisation of anything related to nuclear activity, but we are very hopeful that we will be able – also thanks to you efforts – to reduce the rhetoric on this matter and return to normal conditions in this area of our activity and cooperation, regardless of the turbulent and complex processes on the world stage.
We are very happy to see you and will be pleased to discuss with you all issues of mutual interest and probably even some issues that cause concern to some, including us, for instance everything related to the situation around the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. In any case, we are open to this dialogue and glad to see you.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi: Thank you very much, Mr President, for seeing me today. As you say, the issues related to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy go down in history, and, of course, Russia has always been a main actor in all these efforts, technologically speaking and otherwise, and for the IAEA, of course, one of the main interlocutors in the many areas of work that the Agency has.
And as you know, in the current times, with the energy issues, global warming, so many things bring us one way or another to nuclear energy and what the role of nuclear energy can be in the present and in the future as well.
Of course, like you rightly point out, the issues of the day are perhaps those which make our discussion today very important and indispensable, indeed, since we do have issues that have to do with nuclear safety and nuclear security, particularly the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. And as you know, I have been displaying efforts to try to avoid a nuclear accident that could be very detrimental in general terms and in particular in the region.
So, I look forward to this important conversation with you today.