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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More