Nuclear energy to rise worldwide, IAEA says
The construction of new civilian nuclear power plants will increase steadily in the coming decades despite Japan's massive nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tuesday, DPA reported.
Still, IAEA director general Yukiya Amano told the UN General Assembly in New York that new plants will be built "less rapidly" than anticipated, as construction will take place in countries that already have civilian nuclear power.
Amano said China and India, the world's two most populous countries, are among those considering adding more nuclear plants.
"The factors contributing to increasing interest in nuclear power have not changed: these included increased global demand for energy as well as concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and security of energy supply," he said.
Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was nearly destroyed in March by a severe tsunami created by one of the strongest earthquakes ever to have hit the country.
Many countries with civilian nuclear energy have revised plans, or reviewed safety at their plants, since Fukushima.
Amano, who took part in the annual debate on nuclear activities around the world, said 113 countries have now joined a programme called the Illicit Trafficking Database to prevent theft in nuclear technology and materials.
He said the database had detected 172 incidents worldwide, which included 14 cases of unauthorized possession of or attempts to sell or smuggle radioactive material or sources, and 32 incidents of theft or loss of radioactive material. He did not elaborate.
"Incidents of this nature demonstrate that security weaknesses continue to exist and must be addressed," Amano said.