UN atom chief urges nuclear plant risk checks

UN atom chief urges nuclear plant risk checks

Vienna: The chief of the United Nations nuclear agency called on Monday on countries with nuclear power plants to carry out a “thorough and transparent risk assessment" of all their reactors within 18 months.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also said an urgent international response was needed to help address public safety concerns caused by Japan’s atomic crisis.

He made the remarks in a speech to open an international meeting on strengthening nuclear safety after Japan’s Fukushima accident three months ago, the world’s worst nuclear emergency in a quarter of a century.

“We need to respond urgently to the public anxiety," Amano said. “An international response is essential."

He has asked IAEA officials to review safety standards and report back to him in 12 months on how to strengthen them.

“Nuclear safety will remain (the) responsibility of states," he said.

The U.N. agency will play a leading role in shaping improvements, he added.