Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) talks open in Vienna on Monday, focusing on a new nuclear
security plan following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima
plant and amid fears over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Last week, the IAEA board of governors announced a safety
action plan, which they hope will raise safety standards and
enhance environmental protection.
The move came in the wake of the nuclear leak disaster at
Fukushima, caused by a quake-induced tsunami, which was the
biggest accident in the sector since Chernobyl in Ukraine in
However the watered-down draft plan will not be legally
binding, leading critics to describe it as toothless.
The deal must now be ratified by the 151 member states at
the IAEA general conference, which runs until Friday.
The non-binding nature of the agreement, which also lacks
any deadlines, is a result of pressure from the United States
Germany, and to a lesser extent France, voiced criticism
at the code of conduct's lack of teeth.
Paris is "satisfied" with the new IAEA plan but will put
forward suggestions today for "more ambitious" action, French
Energy Minister Eric Besson said.
On Iran's controversial nuclear programme, Washington is
pressing the US agency to provide more information on the
growing concern over the suspected military nature of Tehran's
Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear
weapons under the cover of civil energy programme, a charge
which Tehran denies.
A report presented to the 35-member IAEA board in Vienna
Wednesday said the agency was "increasingly concerned" about a
possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear work, about
which it "continues to receive new information".
Glyn Davies, US envoy to the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA), told reporters in the Austrian capital last
week that "the real fear is that Iran is continuing ... and
has over many years continued to explore and to develop
technologies with no applications other than in the military
Also on the IAEA menu will be North Korea's nuclear
First Published: Monday, September 19, 2011, 14:20