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Nuclear safety must be improved: IAEA chief

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said even the best safety standards are useless unless they are actually implemented.

News18test sharma |

Updated:June 20, 2011, 6:29 PM IST
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Nuclear safety must be improved: IAEA chief
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said even the best safety standards are useless unless they are actually implemented.
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Vienna: The head of the UN nuclear agency urged a worldwide rethink of safety measures to prevent new nuclear disasters, declaring that in the wake of the Fukushima catastrophe "business as usual is not an option."

But Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also acknowledged that improvements are only effective if countries apply them, in opening comments to the IAEA's conference on nuclear safety.

While some countries at the 150-member IAEA's meeting want any new safety regime to be mandatory, most prefer them to be voluntary.

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

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

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.

He 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-magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima reactor's cooling system and radiation started leaking into the atmosphere.

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