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UN to convene summit to discuss nuke safety

News18test sharma |

Updated: May 10, 2011, 7:25 PM IST
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UN to convene summit to discuss nuke safety
Moon said any strategy to spread the nuclear power must address the new nexus between disasters and nuclear safety.

Geneva: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said he would convene a high-level summit to discuss world atomic safety in New York in the wake of an accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant.

"The September 22 high-level meeting will build on the forthcoming IAEA Conference in June in Vienna that will address measures needed to enhance nuclear safety in the wake of Fukushima," Ban told a UN conference on reducing disaster risk here.

He said any strategy to spread the nuclear power must address the "new nexus between national disasters and nuclear safety", suggesting he would present a UN-wide study to address this nexus.

"I will present a UN system-wide study on the implications of the accident at Fukushima," Ban told the conference on Disaster Risk Reduction being convened by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).

Despite the growing opposition to the nuclear industry in the industrialised countries, particularly Germany, Switzerland, and even the US, the UN chief defended nuclear technology and nuclear power.

"Nuclear technology has enormous potential to improve human well-being, enhance medical services, improve agricultural production and promote sustainable economic development," he said.

Representatives from the nuclear industry urged governments to carry out stress tests whether a new nuclear plant can withstand man-made or natural disasters before commissioning a plant.

In its report on the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR11), the ISDR asked governments, particularly in the developing world, to include fixed budgetary outlay for "disaster-related economic losses".

Besides, all developing and least-developed countries must insure their vital economic assets like in the industrialised countries, it argued, suggesting that
"disaster-related economic losses are increasing across all regions, critically threatening the economies of low-income countries and outstripping wealth-creation across many of the world's richer nations."

The report suggested that while the risk of being killed by cyclone and floods is markedly lower than it was 20 years ago, the risk of the economic loss due to floods has increased by over 160 per cent and to tropical cyclones by 262 per cent since 1980 in the rich countries.

With a strong linkage between disaster-related economic losses and the limited investment in risk management, the report urged countries to strengthen the surveillance and monitoring mechanisms.

The biggest danger from disasters is arising due to unplanned urbanisation, ecosystem degradation and growing drought in poor countries.

First Published: May 10, 2011, 7:25 PM IST
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