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Chile and IAEA sign memorandum of understanding to control plastic pollution in Antarctica

Tuesday, April 30th 2024

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alberto van Klaveren, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of nuclear technology for the control of plastic pollution (Nuteplastics).

The purpose of this agreement is to provide technical cooperation in the investigation of microplastics pollution in the Antarctic continent.

The document responds to the work initiated in 2023, in dialogue between the IAEA, the Division of Antarctic Affairs of the Ministry and the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), for the investigation of this type of contamination on the white continent, as well as the reuse of plastics using irradiation.

The objective is to install new technologies for the analysis of microplastics using nuclear radioisotopes in the INACH laboratories located in Punta Arenas, as well as to train officials in this area.

In turn, the agreement will focus on evaluating the levels of microplastics at the Professor Julio Escudero base and other stations, which will allow better protection of Antarctica's biodiversity.

During the meeting, the minister also mentioned our country's commitment to continue strengthening the development of initiatives such as "Atoms for Food", which aims to help countries increase food security.

On the other hand, the Foreign Affairs Minister highlighted the technical work and efforts of the IAEA missions in Ukraine, which have safeguarded and guaranteed the safe technological operation of the facilities in that country.

Rafael Grossi is in Chile to participate in the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), which will be held this week, for the first time, in Santiago.