VIENNA, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The nuclear accident in Japan that was sparked by a massive earthquake in March is expected to slow the advance of nuclear power, the IAEA said from Vienna.
A magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The disaster led to a near-universal examination of the safety of nuclear power.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, in a report, said the growth of nuclear power predicted by 2030 will be as much as 8 percent slower than it was in 2010.
The nuclear watchdog agency said Western European countries will show the greatest variance between high- and low-end predictions for nuclear power plants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in response to Japan's nuclear disaster, ordered eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors closed by year's end and a total shutdown by 2022.
North America is expected to have the slowest decline in nuclear power development while projected growth is greatest in the Far East.
Across the board, the IAEA said, most of the expected growth will take place in countries that have operating nuclear power plants.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, in recent statements, said the Japanese nuclear disaster "caused deep public anxiety throughout the world and damaged confidence in nuclear power."