Revamped emergency responses needed: UN nuke chief

Japan`s nuclear crisis has exposed huge weaknesses in how the world deals with such disasters, the UN nuclear chief said on Monday, urging changes in emergency responses worldwide.

Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 00:35 AM IST

Vienna: Japan`s nuclear crisis has exposed
huge weaknesses in how the world deals with such disasters,
the UN nuclear chief said on Monday, urging changes in emergency
responses worldwide.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy
Agency, also told a 35-nation IAEA board meeting that while
the situation at Japan`s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear
site remains serious "we are starting to see some positive
developments."

Pressed by reporters on whether his agency should be
authorised by its 35-nation board to make IAEA safety
standards mandatory instead of their present voluntary status,
he said "there are some arguments" from board nations in
favour - but others were against.

"The vies are very different," he said indicating that
any reforms will be slow in coming and less than optimally
effective because of the need to achieve board consensus.

Japan`s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex was
crippled 10 days ago by a huge earthquake and massive tsunami,
and Amano suggested that one area up for likely review is
whether tsunami protection standards need to be strengthened.

But a comprehensive update of safety standards "needs
more studies," he said, again suggesting that any review will
take time.

Inside the board meeting, he defended his agency`s
performance since the crisis broke, emphasising that it is up
to individual countries to focus on nuclear safety, with the
IAEA only in an advisory role.

PTI