World nuclear group drafts safety plan
VIENNA — The International Atomic Energy Agency chief declared a nuclear safety conference prompted by Japan’s disaster a success yesterday, but acknowledged that the new safety measures will only be effective if nations apply them.
The IAEA chief, Yukiya Amano, said the conference had drawn up a post-Fukushima road map to avoid or mitigate future nuclear reactor disasters.
Although the recommendations approved by the IAEA’s conference were ambitious — including peer reviews of national nuclear regulatory agencies and random IAEA safety reviews of nuclear plants — the meeting gave neither the agency nor any other international body authority to enforce them.
That means compliance in applying the safety practices is still voluntary, and their success depends on how strictly the new rules are observed and by how many nations.
Amano was still upbeat, saying in closing comments the meeting “has achieved its main goal, which was to pave the way for an enhanced global nuclear safety framework.
“The result . will be a strengthening of nuclear safety, emergency preparedness, and radiation protection for people and the environment worldwide,’’ he told delegates.
During the past five days, about 30 government ministers joined about 1,000 experts to debate the lessons of Japan’s March 11 nuclear disaster — and how to reduce the chances of further major nuclear catastrophes.
Outlining a five-point plan to strengthen nuclear reactor safety, Amano had called for bolstering IAEA standards and ensuring they are applied; establishing regular safety reviews of all the world’s reactors; beefing up the effectiveness and independence of national regulatory bodies; strengthening global emergency response systems; and increasing IAEA input in responding to emergencies.