China seeks collaborative efforts on global nuclear safety

Updated: 2013-11-06 08:06

By CAROLINE BERG in New York (China Daily USA)

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Radioactive water is still leaking 2 1/2 years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster struck Japan, and continues to sound alarms worldwide.

"The accident two years ago has prompted the international community to reflect on the development of nuclear energy," Ambassador Wang Min, deputy permanent representative of China to the United Nations, said in a statement. "China follows closely the countermeasures to be adopted by Japan."

Wang attended the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly yesterday in support of the new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.

The IAEA, headquartered in Vienna, was established in 1957 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The organization publishes quarterly reports to outline its work and nuclear issues it seeks to tackle. The latest report was not yet available on the IAEA's website as of Tuesday.

Wang said China urges Japan to spare no efforts in minimizing the subsequent impact of the disaster and providing timely, comprehensive and accurate information to the international community.

Since China is a major energy consumer, Wang said the Chinese government firmly supports the development of nuclear power. However, the ambassador said "safety first" remains China's chief principle, and establishing an effective emergency response plan is of great importance.

To this end, Wang said China has made regular improvements to relevant laws and regulations, implemented better infrastructure development and established a strict supervisory and regulatory system for nuclear safety.

"China is also an active player in international nuclear safety cooperation," the ambassador said, adding that steady progress is being made in building the Nuclear Safety Demonstration Center in Beijing, which will serve as a training and exchange platform for the Asia-Pacific region.

"China has made several donations to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund," Wang said in his statement to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. "China stands ready to provide help, through the platform of the IAEA, to countries that need to convert highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium in their research reactors."

Moving forward, Wang said China hopes the IAEA will focus on four key areas in its work.

First, the Chinese ambassador said the IAEA should increase the level of global nuclear security and restore international confidence in nuclear energy development.

"We encourage the [IAEA] to follow and monitor more closely the subsequent impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident and provide the Japanese government with necessary guidance and assistance to properly address the water leakage issue," Wang said. "We also hope that the [IAEA] will steadily push forward the comprehensive review of the Fukushima nuclear accident and the response measures."

Second, Wang said China hopes the IAEA will continue to provide support and assistance to developing countries through the organization's technical cooperation programs to help them develop and utilize nuclear energy.

He also recommended that the IAEA make safeguards more effective and efficient. Finally, Wang said he hopes IAEA will play a constructive role in addressing regional nuclear issues, and to use dialogue to contribute to the settlement of relevant issues.

"Over the past year, the IAEA has been earnestly fulfilling its duties under its charter, and made substantial achievements in such areas as peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear safety and security," Wang said.

Meanwhile, Amano is expected to visit Tehran next Monday, Iranian state television said on Tuesday, which is seen as a possible sign of progress in a long-stalled investigation into the Iranian capital's suspected nuclear arms research.