Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said nuclear power “will remain an important option for many countries.”
Speaking at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues, the IAEA chief spoke of Japan’s Fukushima incident as “one of the most serious and complex disasters which human beings have ever had to deal with.”
Despite this, IAEA officials said they expected the world’s reliance on nuclear power to grow because China and India were pressing on with their power programmes.
“Nuclear safety is the responsibility of individual states, but the IAEA will play the lead role in shaping a safer nuclear future throughout the world,” said Mr Amano.
Report: Nuclear power use to grow despite Fukushima: IAEA [Times Live, 27 Jul 2011]
Mr Amano visited the Fukushima plant on Monday for the first time since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. He also met with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who recently floated the idea of a nuclear-free Japan.
“It is certain that the number of nuclear reactors will increase, even if not as quickly as before,” said Mr Amano after meeting with Mr Kan. “Many other countries believe they need nuclear reactors to tackle problems such as global warming. Therefore, securing safety is more important than anything.”
Report & Analysis: Yukiya Amano: Japan crisis will not end nuclear age [BBC, 26 Jul 2011]
Efforts to recover from Fukushima are ongoing in disaster-stricken Japan. On Tuesday, a lower house committee of Japan’s parliament passed a bill to help Tokyo Electric Power pay billions of dollars in compensation to those hurt by the nuclear accident. The move is a step towards a law that will guarantee the utility’s survival and provide aid to victims.
Report & Analysis: Japan lower house committee clears nuclear compensation bill [Reuters, 26 Jul 2011]
The IAEA plans to draw up an action plan for global nuclear safety, to be implemented from the summer of 2012. The plan will focus on addressing contingencies such as natural disasters and power blackouts.