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  Nuclear watchdog wants new safety checks after Fukushima

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andrew123



Number of posts : 276
Registration date : 2011-06-27

PostSubject: Nuclear watchdog wants new safety checks after Fukushima    Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:07 am

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has called for strengthened international safety checks to help prevent a repeat of Japan's nuclear crisis at Fukushima.

Yukiya Amano said UN experts should be able to carry out random reviews of nuclear power stations.

He has also called for countries to carry out risk assessments on their reactors within 18 months.

The watchdog, the IAEA, is holding a meeting in Vienna aimed at improving nuclear safety.

Officials from 150 nations are meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) offices in Vienna.

Mr Amano said nations had to respond to the great public anxiety caused by the Fukushima accident.

"Public confidence in the safety of nuclear power has been badly shaken. However, nuclear power will remain important for many countries, so it is imperative that the most stringent safety measures and implemented everywhere," he said.

He also wants UN experts to be permitted to perform random safety reviews of their reactors.

The suggestion that UN experts perform random checks is controversial, says the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna.

At the moment, there are no compulsory international nuclear safety regulations as many countries believe nuclear safety is the responsibility of individual states.
'Unprecedented emergency'

The Fukushima disaster has prompted widespread public concern about nuclear safety.

The nuclear plant's cooling systems were knocked out by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. The disaster caused meltdown at three of the reactors.
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Fukushima update (20 June)

* Reactor 1: Partial meltdown from cooling problems. Building holed by gas explosion. Radioactive water detected in reactor and basement
* Reactor 2: Partial meltdown from cooling problems. Building holed by gas blast; containment damage suspected. Highly radioactive water detected in reactor and adjoining tunnel
* Reactor 3: Partial meltdown from cooling problems. Building holed by gas blast; containment damage possible. Spent fuel pond partly refilled with water after running low. Radioactive water detected in reactor and basement
* Reactor 4: Reactor shut down prior to quake. Fires and explosion in spent fuel pond; water level partly restored
* Reactors 5 & 6: Reactors shut down. Temperature of spent fuel pools now lowered after rising high






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