U.N. initiates blanket study of nuke crisis

'System-wide' probe to cover all bases: Ban

Kyodo

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has started a “system-wide” study on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear accident.

“This morning I convened a video conference to formally launch a U.N. system-wide study on the implications of the Fukushima accident,” Ban said in a statement Friday.

The report will be prepared for a high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security Sept. 22 after the start of the next General Assembly session, Ban said.

Calling the multidisciplinary report a “unique opportunity” for the international body to work together on a timely and urgent issue, he said it will also raise important issues for governments to consider ahead of the high-level September meeting.

Ban said the report will address a variety of areas, including environment, health, food security, sustainable development and the nexus between nuclear safety and security, and will present views on how to improve disaster risk preparedness.

He reiterated the need for a global rethink on nuclear energy and safety issues, given the Fukushima crisis and as the world marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

“While acknowledging that each state has the right to define its national energy policy, our common objective is to deepen our understanding of the entire range of issues relating to development of nuclear energy and its safety transcending national borders,” Ban said.

The effects of a nuclear plant disaster — from prevention to cleanup — should be more fully reflected in the assessment of how to ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maximum safety, he said.

The U.N. chief added that in producing the report, he intends “to highlight the need to strengthen the capacity of the relevant international organizations,” especially the International Atomic Energy Agency by recognizing “its central role.”

Participants in the video conference included IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and senior representatives from other international agencies.