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Countries Interested In Nuclear Power Growing

Countries Interested In Nuclear Power Growing, Says UN Atomic Watchdog Chief

New York, Oct 16 2008 7:10PM

More than 50 countries have alerted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that they are considering utilizing nuclear power, the head of the United Nations body said today.

Mohamed ElBaradei told a meeting in Paris of the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that a decade ago, nuclear power’s popularity was in question.

“When we talked about transferring nuclear technology to developing countries, we generally meant applications in medicine and industry, not nuclear power,” the IAEA Director General said.

But the tides have turned and “change is in the air,” he added, with many of the agency’s Member States – mostly from the developing world – expressing interest in nuclear power.

One dozen countries, including Turkey and Viet Nam, are actively preparing nuclear programmes, while China is constructing six power reactors and Russia intends to build dozens of both large and small reactors by 2020.

Greater efforts are essential to ensure that nuclear power’s future is “safe, proliferation-resistant and cost-effective,” Mr. ElBaradei said.

“Every country has the right to develop nuclear power, but also a responsibility to do it properly,” he noted.

But he cautioned that it is crucial to have realistic expectations of how quickly countries can have nuclear reactors online. “It can take a minimum of 10 years just to put the basic infrastructure in place. This is not an area where you can cut corners.”

ENDS
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