Sunday, May 22, 2011

'Time Has Come for Global Rethink on Nuclear Energy and Safety Issues,' Says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Launching UN Study on Japan's Fukushima Accident

A statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, issued 20 May 2011 in New York: This morning I convened a videoconference to formally launch a United Nations system-wide study on the implications of the Fukushima accident. The report will be prepared for the High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security, to be held on 22 September during the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Meeting participants included: Yukio Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization) Preparatory Commission; Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization; Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization; Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; and senior representatives of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO).

The system-wide report will address a variety of areas, including environment, health, food security, sustainable development and the nexus between nuclear safety and nuclear security. It will also present system-wide views on how to improve disaster risk preparedness. In producing this study, it is my intention to highlight the need to strengthen the capacity of the relevant international organizations, particularly the IAEA, recognizing its central role.

As I said when the world marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the time has come for a global rethink on nuclear energy and safety issues. While acknowledging that each State has the right to define its national energy policy, our common objective is to deepen our understanding of the entire range of issues relating to development of nuclear energy and its safety transcending national borders. Going forward, the effects of a nuclear plant disaster -- from prevention to clean-up -- should be more fully reflected in the assessment of how to ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maximum safety.

This multidisciplinary report is a unique opportunity for the United Nations system to collaborate on a timely and urgent issue, and to raise matters that are important for consideration by Governments before the high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security. Nuclear safety is a global public good, serving the interests of all the world's people.

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