UN chief launches study of nuclear accident

AP News
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Posted: May 20, 2011 4:53 PM
UN chief launches study of nuclear accident

The United Nations will undertake a systemwide study on the implications of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

Several agencies will prepare a report addressing the effects of nuclear safety in areas including environment, health and food security. It is to be presented at a high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security on Sept. 22 during the General Assembly in New York.

"Nuclear safety is a global public good, serving the interests of all the world's people," the U.N. chief said.

"Going forward, the effects of a nuclear plant disaster _ from prevention to cleanup _ should be more fully reflected in the assessment of how to ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maximum safety."

A March 11 earthquake triggered a tsunami that knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, causing the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Fuel rods appear to have largely melted at three of the plants' reactors.

Leaking radiation has prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents and the perilous struggle to contain the reactors is expected to continue into 2012.

Senior executives of U.N. agencies including the International Atomic Energy Agency, World Health Organization, U.N. Development Program, Food and Agricultural Organization and World Meteorological Organization participated with Ban in Friday's videoconference about the study.

(This version CORRECTS Updates with quotes, details. Corrects style on Dai-ichi in first paragraph. Adds byline.)