Russia may lead global nuclear safety debate

Russia may become the global leader in discussions on safeguards for the atomic energy industry, the head of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom said.

Commenting on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s initiative to develop an international system of safe maintenance at nuclear power plants, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said “atomic energy has no national borders.”

“Solving the problems [of atomic energy industry] is indeed an international security task,” Kiriyenko said. “And establishing international mechanisms to promote nuclear power industry safety… is a complex approach to this task, the approach that Russia has already demonstrated.”

Medvedev said on Tuesday he would seek to discuss the proposals for increased safeguards for nuclear power generation at the G8 summit of world leaders in France next month. The proposals would include the responsibility of the countries using nuclear power, such as the timeliness of measures in case of emergency.

The Russian president also called for additional safety requirements for the construction and use of nuclear facilities and greater transparency during nuclear emergencies.

He said he had already sent the proposals to IAEA and heads of states, members of G8, BRICS and CIS.

The future of the nuclear energy industry came into the spotlight after a series of accidents at Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was seriously damaged in explosions and fires following an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 .

Fukushima’s operator has since been struggling to stop radioactive leaks from the plant’s crippled reactors. Almost 80,000 people living within the evacuation zone were forced to flee their homes.

MOSCOW, April 27 (RIA Novosti)

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