World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

UN Nuclear Watchdog Fights Heavy Water

UN Nuclear Watchdog Fights Heavy Water, Sustains Fresh Water

The United Nations nuclear watchdog may well sniff out plutonium-producing heavy water in its war against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but in a less heralded programme it is also working to sustain dwindling freshwater supplies for the world’s thirsty masses.

Such activities by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) highlight how nuclear science and technology can help boost incomes and support broader-based efforts for meeting basic human needs, especially in the world's poorer countries, according to the agency’s latest Staff Report.

IAEA cited its use of isotopic tools to encourage sustainable water management in South America, China, Namibia, Indonesia, El Salvador and many other countries across the globe.

The Guarani Aquifer System, for example, shared by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and considered one of the most important fresh groundwater reservoirs, is just one of 73 IAEA projects looking at how dwindling freshwater supplies can be sustained.

In an international effort, the IAEA is focussing on finding ways for all four countries to share the aquifer in a way that will not cause it to run dry in the future. A nuclear tool, called isotope hydrology, is used to give scientists indispensable information on how much water is available, its quality, how quickly it is replenished and where it flows from. Piecing that information together reveals how the precious resource can best be managed.

The report noted Secretary General Kofi Annan’s speech to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in New York last week outlining just how vital water management is. "Tensions over water could even generate conflict, within and across borders, although water also offers great opportunities for cooperation,” Mr. Annan said then. “So the stakes are high. Without an integrated approach, we could face a tangle of problems. But with one, we could generate a cascade of progress."

Land degradation is also firmly on the IAEA’s agenda. For example, since 1997 it has supported six countries – Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria and Tunisia – in the fight to turn arid wasteland into economically productive fields. Efforts have paid off with salt-tolerant plants now growing in the wastelands, providing sources of food or income for farmers.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Swing States: Gordon Campbell On Why The US Needs MMP

After the bizarre events this week in Helsinki, the world will be hoping and praying that the US midterm elections in November can put a restraining brake on the presidency of Donald Trump. This may happen, but there’s a highly undemocratic reason why such hopes may be frustrated. More>>

ALSO:

putin, trump scalpGordon Campbell: On The White House Romance With Russia

Tough on Europe over trade, at the G-7. Tough on Europe over defence, at NATO. And utterly smitten as usual by Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On This Week’s NATO Debacle

For someone routinely cast as a clown presiding over an administration in chaos, Donald Trump has been very consistent about his agenda, and remarkably successful in achieving it, in the short term at least. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Law Society: Rule Of Law Threatened In Nauru

“The recently enacted Administration of Justice Act 2018 is another clear sign of the deterioration of civil rights in Nauru,” the Law Society’s Rule of Law Committee convenor Austin Forbes QC says. More>>

ALSO:

'Fixing' Family Separation: Executive Order Imprisons Families Indefinitely

Amnesty: President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. More>>

ALSO: