The Fukushima nuclear disaster has ignited worldwide debate about the safety of nuclear energy. It has also provided a blueprint for how governments can improve safety regulations.
Fukushima is the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl
Last month's explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan is providing "valuable lessons" that will result in improvements in nuclear operating safety, according to UN atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano.
"We cannot take a 'business as usual approach,'" said the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), adding that countries around the world need to strengthen the safety of their nuclear power plants.
Representatives from dozens of countries are meeting in Vienna from April 4-14 for the IAEA's Convention on Nuclear Safety to question and scrutinize each other's nuclear safety policies with the aim of preventing disasters such as the Fukushima crisis.
The situation in Fukushima has ignited concerns around the world about the safety of nuclear energy. Many concerned citizens in developed countries are calling on their governments to reassess nuclear policies.
The backlash follows a year in which 60 countries expressed interest to the IAEA in launching nuclear programs, while the 29 countries with existing programs were planning an expansion of their programs.
"Rigorous adherence to the most robust international safety standards and full transparency, in good times and bad, are vital for restoring and maintaining public confidence in nuclear power," said Amano. He insisted that rising global energy demand, climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and energy security will preserve interest in nuclear power.
All 151 member states of the IAEA will meet in Vienna from June 20-24 for a ministerial-level conference to discuss lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Author: Christian Nathler (AFP, AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler