News / Asia

IAEA Chief: Use of Nuclear Power Growing Despite Japanese Accident

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Okumamachi, northern Japan is shown in this September 18, 2010 aerial photo.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Okumamachi, northern Japan is shown in this September 18, 2010 aerial photo.
Margaret Besheer

The head of the U.N.'s nuclear monitoring agency said Thursday that global use of nuclear power will continue to grow, despite the shock waves sent through the industry after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused an accident at a Japanese nuclear power plant earlier this year.  At the United Nations, there was a special high-level meeting on the safety and security of the world's nuclear power plants.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukio Amano told the nuclear summit that in the six months since Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled, his agency has been working closely with Japan to contain the damage.

"The agency's assessment now is that the reactors are essentially stable and the expectation is that the 'cold shutdown' of all the reactors will be achieved as planned," said Amano.

Speaking via a video message from IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Amano said worldwide public confidence in the safety of nuclear power was deeply shaken by the radiation leak after a March 11 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami.  Some 80,000 people had to be evacuated from the area near the crippled Japanese plant.

But the IAEA chief said the accident does not mean the end of nuclear power.

"In fact, the latest IAEA projections show that global use of nuclear power will continue to grow quite significantly in the coming decades, although at a slower pace than in our previous projections," added Amano.  "The growth will reflect unchanged factors such as increasing demand for energy as well as concerns about climate change, dwindling reserves of oil and gas, and uncertainty of supply of fossil fuels."

Amano said the IAEA Board of Governors has approved an action plan on nuclear safety that includes measures for states to review the preparedness of their nuclear power plants to withstand natural disasters.  International experts will also be assembled to assess the safety of a country's nuclear reactors, its emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and the effectiveness of its nuclear regulatory system.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the meeting that it is clear that the government was underprepared for a tsunami. 

"It is clear that electrical power supplies for emergency use and pumps should not have been situated in locations that could be submerged by tsunamis," said Noda.  "Insufficient were preparations for a severe accident that would result in damage to the reactor core."

But Noda added the most recent estimates indicate that the amount of radioactive material being released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is one-four millionth of the level during the early stage of the accident.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also addressed the nuclear meeting.  She said the Obama administration recognizes that nuclear power is a vital contributor to the world's energy needs and that it is not an option that can be taken off the table.

"But it is an option that carries special risks and dangers," Clinton said.  "Therefore, we must do everything possible to ensure its safe and responsible use.  We must remain vigilant against outside threats and internal weaknesses to prevent accidents from occurring.  We must make continuous improvements to regulations and strengthen implementation of existing conventions so we hold ourselves, and others, to the highest standards."

Clinton said exhaustive international response plans must be enacted so that if an accident occurs, the damage is contained as much as, and as soon as, possible.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid