International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said that he foresees a bright future for nuclear power in Pakistan. The UN nuclear chief is on a two-day visit to Pakistan from February 15-16 to visit sites employing nuclear technology. Speaking at a seminar hosted by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) in Islamabad on Thursday, IAEA Director General Grossi noted the political will in Pakistan and the country’s technical capacity and nuclear safety record as the reasons for his optimism about the prospects for the expansion of nuclear energy. “There is strong political support for new nuclear power plants in Pakistan,” said Grossi. He further observed that Pakistan has a “world-class and impeccable” nuclear safety record. Moreover, he said, the country has technical and engineering capacity for new nuclear power plants including Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which indicates a promising future for nuclear energy and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal stated in his keynote address that Pakistan has a mutually beneficial relationship with the IAEA that includes all areas of nuclear technology. He stated that despite ranking as low as 158th among carbon-emitting countries, Pakistan is amongst the countries most severely affected by climate change. “Pakistan has achieved great milestones in nuclear science and technology for the socio-economic uplift of the country in areas such as cancer diagnosis and treatment, development of disease-free and high-yield crop varieties and food preservation,” he added. He said that nuclear power provides clean and cheap energy and currently contributes to 8% of Pakistan’s energy mix with six operational nuclear power plants. Ahsan said that Pakistan has an impeccable nuclear safety and security record and plans to develop more power plants. “To energy deficient and economically strained countries like ours, nuclear power is sustainable, clean, and a green source of energy in the overall energy mix, which also includes wind and solar power. It is the best solution to the challenge of climate change as well,” he added. Executive Director CISS Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, who has served as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative at the IAEA for five years, said in his welcome speech that Pakistan and the IAEA will continue to jointly contribute to a safer and cleaner world through their longstanding partnership. He said that climate change is one of the biggest threats to humanity due to its direct relation to water, food, and human security. He added that Pakistan is cognisant of the growing climate change issues and has opted to mitigate through nuclear energy for sustainable and clean electricity. “As it has a robust peaceful nuclear programme and long association with IAEA, Pakistan has the best combination to achieve sustainable clean energy goals,” he further said. During his two-day visit, the DG IAEA will hold high level meetings and undertake visits to different institutions employing nuclear technology in the fields of health, agriculture, industry and power generation, the Foreign Office said in a statement. The visit will provide an opportunity to Pakistan and the IAEA to explore avenues for further strengthening their ongoing cooperation in the area of peaceful applications of nuclear technology for the socio-economic development of the country, the statement added.