Experts urge stricter supervision to ensure nuclear safety

08:37, July 01, 2011      

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Governments should pay equal importance to supervision while stepping up nuclear power development, said experts at a seminar in reflection of the Japan nuclear crisis caused by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.

They called for the establishment of powerful supervisory organizations with sufficient independence, authority and expertise to ensure nuclear safety at the International Workshop on Nuclear Energy Safety.

"It's important to ensure that such a commission has the regulatory authority and the human resources it needs to do its job," said Barbara Finamore, China Program Director of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

However, she at the same time noted that the commission itself cannot run without oversight.

Experts suggested that governments create relevant regulations and mechanisms to ensure transparency and engage public participation in the whole building process of a nuclear power plant.

"As the regulator starts functioning, there should be enough transparency so the people and the population at large can see that indeed the regulator is actively operating for the good of the country," said A. Gopalakrishnan, former chairman of India's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, adding transparency can make up for the deficiency of the regulatory system.

As for China, with a dense population and a sizable nuclear power production program, the government should establish a more powerful regulatory system capable of deploying any resource in case of emergency, said Yang Fuqiang, senior advisor on climate and energy to the NRDC.

The International Workshop on Nuclear Energy Safety: Improving Safety in the Aftermath of the Fukushima Crisis, was held from June 29 to 30 in Beijing, and attracted nearly 150 experts from the United Sates, Europe, India and China.

An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale rocked Japan on March 11, with an ensuing tsunami, which devastated nuclear power facilities in Fukushima and caused leak scares.

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