IAEA: Nuclear safety must be improved

2011-06-20 21:31

kalahari.com

Vienna - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday urged a worldwide review of safety measures to prevent new nuclear disasters, but acknowledged that since his organization lacks the authority to enforce rules any improvements are only effective if countries apply them.

While some countries at the 151-member IAEA's meeting want any new safety regime to be mandatory, most prefer them to be voluntary and don't want a regulatory role for IAEA.

If the IAEA cannot enforce safety standards, those rules will be only as good as they are being enforced by IAEA nations.

"Even the best safety standards are useless unless they are actually implemented," Yukiya Amano said.

Asked outside the meeting if he would like to see the IAEA have the same authority against safety violators as it now has against nuclear proliferators - which includes referral to the UN Security Council - he said: "I do not exclude that possibility."

But he said a sense of post-Fukushima urgency dictated action now under existing rules.

"We have to move by days, weeks, months, and I cannot wait years" - the time it would take to revise the IAEA's mandate for the 35-nation board - he said. "We need to have a sense of urgency."

Hazards

Outlining a five-point plan to strengthen nuclear reactor safety, Amano called for strengthening IAEA standards and ensuring they are applied; establishing regular safety reviews of all the world's reactors; beefing up the effectiveness of national regulatory bodies; strengthening global emergency response systems, and increasing IAEA input in responding to emergencies.

A draft of the conference's ministerial statement made available to The Associated Press showed that the gathering was content to work on upgrading present safety practices and emergency measures without giving the IAEA an enforcing role.

It called only for "a strengthened role of the IAEA in emergency preparedness and response by promoting and possibly expanding existing IAEA response and assistance capabilities."

And it urged countries on the threshold of civilian nuclear programmes to "create a nuclear safety infrastructure based on IAEA safety standards".

Amano also urged that the Ines scale - which classifies nuclear incidents on a seven-point scale - be revamped.

The March accident at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi accident was upgraded to seven - the highest on the scale - only on April 12.

That was more than a month after a 9-magnitute earthquake and a devastating tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima reactor's cooling system and radiation started leaking into the atmosphere.

"Safety standards... in particular those pertaining to multiple severe hazards such as tsunamis and earthquakes should be reviewed," Amano told the meeting. He proposed "IAEA international expert peer reviews" to complement national safety checks, and establishing stockpiles of emergency equipment by reactor operators to try and prevent a replay of Fukushima.

"Many countries have accepted (peer reviews) already; European countries, Japan, the United States," he told reporters outside the meeting. "I would like to expand it, so that all nuclear power plants will see a peer review on a random basis."

Speaking for Japan, Economics Minister Banri Kaieda pledged that his country "will take drastic measures to ensure the highest level of safety" for its reactor network.

- AP
Read more on:    iaea  |  nuclear
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to combine imagination, information and creativity together. Try not to over rationalise things and rather...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.