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UN to convene summit to discuss world nuke safety

Ban Ki-moon said any new N-strategy must address nexus between disasters and nuke safety.



Geneva: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
on Tuesday said he would convene a high-level summit to discuss
world atomic safety in New York in the wake of an accident at
Japan`s Fukushima nuclear plant.

"The September 22 high-level meeting will build on the
forthcoming IAEA Conference in June in Vienna that will
address measures needed to enhance nuclear safety in the wake
of Fukushima," Ban told a UN conference on reducing disaster
risk here.

He said any strategy to spread the nuclear power must
address the "new nexus between national disasters and nuclear
safety", suggesting he would present a UN-wide study to
address this nexus.

"I will present a UN system-wide study on the
implications of the accident at Fukushima," Ban told the
conference on Disaster Risk Reduction being convened by the
United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
(ISDR).

Despite the growing opposition to the nuclear
industry in the industrialised countries, particularly
Germany, Switzerland, and even the US, the UN chief
defended nuclear technology and nuclear power.

"Nuclear technology has enormous potential to improve
human well-being, enhance medical services, improve
agricultural production and promote sustainable economic
development," he said.

Representatives from the nuclear industry urged
governments to carry out stress tests whether a new nuclear
plant can withstand man-made or natural disasters before
commissioning a plant.

In its report on the Global Assessment Report on
Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR11), the ISDR asked governments,
particularly in the developing world, to include fixed
budgetary outlay for "disaster-related economic losses".

Besides, all developing and least-developed
countries must insure their vital economic assets like in the
industrialised countries, it argued, suggesting that
"disaster-related economic losses are increasing across all
regions, critically threatening the economies of low-income
countries and outstripping wealth-creation across many of the
world`s richer nations."

The report suggested that while the risk of being
killed by cyclone and floods is markedly lower than it was 20
years ago, the risk of the economic loss due to floods has
increased by over 160 per cent and to tropical cyclones by 262
per cent since 1980 in the rich countries.

With a strong linkage between disaster-related
economic losses and the limited investment in risk management,
the report urged countries to strengthen the surveillance and
monitoring mechanisms.

The biggest danger from disasters is arising due to
unplanned urbanisation, ecosystem degradation and growing
drought in poor countries.

PTI

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