The head of the United States nuclear regulatory authority, Gregory Jaczko, on Wednesday urged nuclear power plant operators and safety authorities to quickly draw lessons from Japan's nuclear crisis, dpa reported.
Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of nuclear regulatory authorities at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, Jaczko said he disagreed with his French opposite number, Andre-Claude Lacoste, that it could take "up to 10 years" to learn the lessons of the Fukushima disaster.
"I think we should do better," US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Jaczko said.
Lacoste, who heads France's Nuclear Safety Authority, said the crisis at Fukushima was a "collective failure" for the nuclear industry.
"Drawing lessons from accidents like Fukushima could take up to 10 years," he said.
The meeting of 37 nuclear regulatory authorities from Western and Asian countries came a day after ministers from OECD member countries agreed that countries with nuclear power plants should all conduct stress tests.
Such stress tests, which the European Union has already ordered on its 143 nuclear plants, would measure the capacity of nuclear reactors to withstand major incidents like the earthquake and tsunami that rocked the Fukushima plant in March.
The regulatory bodies agreed on the need to conduct the tests "within a relatively short time-frame: a few months, a year or a little more," Lacoste said.
They also discussed how to improve nuclear safety globally.
On Wednesday the ministers agreed on the need to "reinforce the global role and missions" of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the area of safety.
Currently the IAEA reviews member countries' nuclear safety only when it is invited to do so, and its recommendations are not binding.
IAEA members are divided over whether to give the IAEA enforcement powers.
Another proposal under discussion is to make peer reviews mandatory.
Such reviews are already mandatory in the EU, where countries with nuclear plants have to submit to reviews every 10 years. Non-mandatory peer reviews are also carried out by IAEA members.
Jaczko was sceptical about making such reviews mandatory, saying to do so "would take a long time and require an international enforceable instrument."
The meeting of ministers and regulatory bodies in Paris follows on from a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Deauville last month, at which the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia called for greater international coordination on nuclear safety.
Recommendations from the Deauville and Paris meetings will be discussed at a meeting of ministers from IAEA members in Vienna from June 20 to 24.