IAEA terms Pak nuclear program safe, secure


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
ISLAMABAD: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Monday declared the nuclear program of Pakistan as safe and secure and appreciated the obvious dedication to the safety and security of the regulators as well of operators.

Talking to national news agency on the sidelines of "International seminar on nuclear safety and security", held here from 21-23 April, Deputy Director General IAEA Denis Flory said the IAEA emphasizes the importance of national responsibility for security, which Pakistan takes seriously.In fact, Pakistan has had an Action Plan in place to strengthen nuclear security since 2006, he added.

Giving details he said this plan covers such items as Management of Radioactive Sources; Nuclear Security Emergency Co-ordination Center (NuSECC); Locating and Securing Orphan Radioactive Sources.

Pakistan has worked with the Agency both to implement that Plan and to provide resources for its implementation, he maintained.

For example, he said,Pakistan is the 10th largest contributor to the Nuclear Security Fund, contributing $1.16 million. This is an example of their strong leadership and commitment as well as their serious approach to nuclear security in the course of implementing its action plan.

Additionally, over 200 people from Pakistan have attended IAEA training courses, he went on to add.

DDG IAEA said the Agency has worked with Pakistan to provide detection instruments; staff from Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) receiving "on the job training" with IAEA; security improved at a number of facilities in Pakistan using radioactive sources.

The relationship between the IAEA Office of Nuclear Security and PNRA is close and sets a good example for others he said, adding in fact, the Agency has benefitted from lessons learnt, in particular through membership of the Chair of PNRA (past and current) on the DG's Advisory Group on Nuclear Security (AdSec).

When quizzed about the future of nuclear industry, after the Fukushima incident (Japan) Denis Flory said the future of nuclear industry is not written down.It will depend on the actions taken at national and international levels to strengthen safety, to harmonize the implementation of international safety standards and to build the confidence of society through transparency.

The nuclear community should address now these issues, before confidence is definitely lost, he warned.

Denis expressed the IAEA's support for the people of Japan as they respond to and recover from the tragic events that occurred on March 11th.

The IAEA, World Health Organization (WHO), and officials from other agencies have maintained close contact with Japanese offices and have provided the Japanese government with expertise, advice and technical assistance in a variety of areas, he stated further.

"Upon request, we have sent teams to Japan, who have the skills, expertise, and equipment needed to help assess, survey, monitor, and sample the areas in and around Fukushima Prefecture".

DDG IAEA said "We cannot lose focus on the need for clean energy generation, including solar, hydropower, wind and, Yes-nuclear as a way to ease the world's rapidly growing energy demands and reduce its reliance on polluting fossil fuels".

Talking about challenges and opportunities in nuclear safety and security Flory said prior to March 11, 2011, more than 60 countries indicated interest in introducing or expanding nuclear power programmes, and the most important challenges were time and resources.

"To prevent another serious nuclear accident or terrorist incident, which, should it occur, will completely erase the development of nuclear power worldwide, we need new thinking and a new approach adapted to our dynamically changing global situations".

One month ago, he said, the nuclear renaissance looked to be on track. But, it has been dealt a severe blow by Japan's nuclear safety crisis. The question is whether it could stand the shock of a security incident; it would be particularly damaging to the developing world looking to nuclear for its future energy needs, he added.

He emphasized the need for continued focus on international cooperation, especially providing support for new entrants in building actual capacity and expertise to prevent serious accidents.

DDG IAEA also underscored strong commitment and leadership for safety and security in ensuring robust national safety and security infrastructures with effective and independent regulatory bodies, and strong safety and security management, leadership and culture.