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IAEA reviews lessons from Fukushima

Dec. 17, 2012 at 8:54 AM

KORIYAMA, Japan, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Joint work is needed to address nuclear power safety issues, though it should "always" be seen as a work in progress, a Canadian official said.

Representatives from more than 100 countries attended a nuclear safety conference in Japan to discuss lessons from the Fukushima disaster. A magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March 2011, causing a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an address to the U.N. General Assembly last month that the nuclear power sector was well into what he described as the post-accident phase.

Denis Flory, a top IAEA official overseeing nuclear safety, said the conference in Japan provided the international community with an excellent forum for which to assess the lessons learned from the disaster.

Ramzi Jammal, a regulatory officer from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, said sweeping safety commitments were needed from IAEA members.

"Strengthening nuclear safety should always be considered a work in progress," he said.

Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace said Japanese authorities have admitted to errors in reporting the amount of radiation leaking from the plant. It's still too dangerous for people to enter the scene of last year's accident.

"Radioactive coolant water is continuing to leak, complicating efforts to eventually decommission the reactor," said Greenpeace.

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