Nuclear energy silos.

Science and Sustainable Development

If the just-adopted Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved, the world’s poorest countries must gain access to the best that science and technology can offer. Fortunately, the world has a sound model to emulate: the deployment of peaceful nuclear technology.

VIENNA – The just-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and foster prosperity for all by 2030 – are certainly ambitious. If they are to be realized, the world’s poorest countries must gain access to the best that science and technology can offer. Fortunately, the world has a sound model to emulate as it seeks to achieve the SDGs: the deployment of peaceful nuclear technology.

For decades, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to help countries take advantage of nuclear and related technologies to improve food security and advance agricultural development. In parts of China, India, and Pakistan, for example, nuclear technologies have enabled significant reduction of soil erosion. And the Peruvian professor Marino Romero, using radiation-induced mutation and other techniques, developed higher-yielding varieties of barley that now account for over 90% of the barley cultivated in his country.

But applications of nuclear science extend far beyond agriculture. El Salvador is now using nuclear technology to monitor its coastal waters for the presence of marine toxins that could threaten its vital fishing industry.

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