The head of the UN atomic watchdog has pledged support for Ecquador's nuclear energy projects.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Wednesday that the UN has approved seven projects for technical assistance worth $1.1 million to be implemented between 2009 and 2011. He made the announcement after meeting Ecquador's Vice President Lenin Moreno.
The aim of the projects is to increase the use of nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture and other sectors. The UN official has promised cooperation in exploration and extraction of uranium.
“This (nuclear energy)is an alternative to change its (Ecquador's) oil-based energy matrix,” ElBaradei said, stressing that the use of nuclear energy would reduce dependency on oil.
ElBaradei is visiting Ecuador as part of his Latin America tour that already took him to Venezuela. He is scheduled to visit Bolivia on Thursday.
Ecuador is one of the members of the IAEA's Board of Governors (2007-2009) and supports the Vienna-based agency´s efforts on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of massive destruction.