The head of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says that while they will continue ensuring that safety procedures at nuclear plants be improved, they will never be 100% safe. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown in March 2011 prompted a closer look at how to prevent accidents like this in the future, particularly in Japan where nuclear power is still expected to be a primary source of electricity.
Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director-General, said on Monday before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that it is important to have an “evolving process” of not falling into complacency when it comes to safety issues. But he emphasized that natural disasters may be out of their hands and cannot guarantee a 100% safety record in the “real world.” He said that what they can do is try and prevent accidents “as humanly possible,” and to prepare for “the mitigation of the consequences”. Amano said they will also be focusing on the problem of the disposal of spent nuclear waste, as Finland prepares to be the only final repository when it goes online by 2020.
The Fukushima incident forced Japan to put the country’s nuclear reactors offline after a public outcry over safety violations that may have prevented the worst nuclear accident of recent times. The government had to rely on the more expensive imports of fossil fuels, since nuclear supplied 1/3 of the country’s energy needs. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said last week that they will begin safety checks on the utilities that have applied for restart under the new safety regulations that they will impose. Abe’s administration is determined to get the reactors back online, despite strong anti-nuclear sentiment among the opposition and several sectors of society.
[ via Daily Times ]