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IAEA chief: Meeting paved way for nuclear safety framework

By the CNN Wire Staff
Yukiya Amano (left) speaks to the press Friday on the last day of the conference on nuclear safety in Vienna, Austria.
Yukiya Amano (left) speaks to the press Friday on the last day of the conference on nuclear safety in Vienna, Austria.
  • Yukiya Amano, IAEA chief, eyes "enhanced post-Fukushima" safety framework
  • It comes three months after the Japanese nuclear disaster
  • Learning the lessons of Fukushima is a major goal

(CNN) -- The top U.N. nuclear official said a conference on nuclear safety this week "achieved its main goal," paving the way "for an enhanced post-Fukushima global nuclear safety framework."

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told attendees of the IAEA's Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety on Friday that its work will help strengthen "nuclear safety, emergency preparedness, and radiation protection of people and the environment worldwide."

The officials at the meeting discussed nuclear safety in the aftermath of the disaster in Japan three months ago. The meeting was Monday through Friday in Vienna, Austria -- where the IAEA is based.

Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered meltdowns after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan. The tsunami swamped the plant and knocked out cooling systems that kept the three operating reactors from overheating, leading to the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Amano said the Ministerial Declaration forged at the conference "outlines a number of measures to improve nuclear safety" and underscores the commitment to make sure they are implemented.

"Collectively, our Member States have expressed their sense of urgency, as well as their determination that the lessons of Fukushima Daiichi will be learned and that the appropriate action will be taken," Amano said.

"This is not about process -- it is about results. The Declaration agreed here this week must be translated into action -- and it will be. This will require hard work from all Member States, and from the IAEA, in the years ahead," Amano said.

"This week's deliberations will give me valuable guidance as I prepare the Action Plan on the way ahead, which will be submitted to the IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference in September. Important meetings on nuclear safety are already planned in the next 18 months."

Amano said he was pleased that his proposals "enjoyed widespread support."

They call for strengthening IAEA safety standards, reviewing the safety of all nuclear power plants, enhancing the "effectiveness of national nuclear regulatory bodies," strengthening the "global emergency preparedness and response system" and expanding the agency's role in "receiving and disseminating information."