IAEA Concludes Nuclear Safety Meeting

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted June 24, 2011

Last Friday concluded a weeklong International Atomic Energy Agency conference on Nuclear Safety in Vienna, Austria.

Over 1,000 delegates from the Agency’s 151 participating member states were in attendance for this conference, which was called as a result of the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March.

The proposals made at the conference were fivefold: a strengthening of safety standards, a review of the world’s nuclear power plants, an increase in nuclear regulatory bodies’ effectiveness, a strengthening of response to nuclear problems, and an expansion of the IAEA’s role in international nuclear information.

Overall, according to Director General Yukiya Amano, the conference was successful. Delegates were in general agreement on the basic nuclear issues, all looking for some sort of increase in safety.

The conference called for each nation to assess the risks of their nuclear reactor sites, the results of which are due in approximately 18 months.

Also suggested was a review of randomly selected power plants across the globe – since worldwide 440 nuclear plants exist, it is unrealistic to call for a review of all.

But Amano believes that with the random selection process, 1 in 10 reactors could be successfully reviewed over 3 years, according to Xinhua.

The Director General is now assembling action plans for regular meetings that will start in September.

There was some disagreement in more specific issues, such as Russia’s suggestion that mandatory safety standards are set in place for all nations to follow.

Other countries disagreed, saying it was a national matter rather than an international one, and the recommendations are enough.

Another recent nuclear issue has been the nuclear project underway in Iran.

Speculation has arisen that it is related to nuclear weapons research, and the U.N. Safety Council has demanded that Iran put the work on hold until the project can be clarified.

Iran has refused to pause the project, though officials insist it is a nuclear electricity venture.

Iran’s atomic energy head, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, has invited Yukiya Amano to view the undertaking.

Amano, however, has concluded that he will not agree to the visit until he is assured that it will have concrete results – he won’t go if the visit will still leave ambiguous answers to the IAEA questions.

However, nuclear safety has become one of the top global priorities for the U.N., and the IAEA will continue to make decisions on how best to make nuclear power safe.

That’s all for now,


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