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Nuclear energy vital for economic growth: Russia
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) June 6, 2011

The use of nuclear energy is vital for the future development of the world economy, the head of Russia's state nuclear agency said Monday in an impassioned defence of atomic power.

Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom, described nuclear energy as a "locomotive" of development, despite the concerns about its viability raised by the radiation leak from the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

"In the next 10 years, nuclear power is a necessary condition for the safe and stable development of the world economy," Kiriyenko said in opening remarks to a major international conference on atomic power in Moscow.

"Nuclear power is the locomotive of the innovative development of mankind," he said at the start of the three-day conference, called "The development of atomic energy -- pause or continuation?"

"For many people in the world, access to energy is a condition for normal life and development," Kiriyenko said.

"Nobody has the right to stop a country from gaining access to this reliable and stable source of energy," he added.

Kiriyenko was speaking as the German cabinet signed off Monday on a bill phasing out nuclear power in Europe's biggest economy by 2022 after the disaster in March at Japan's Fukushima plant.

Russia has emerged as one of the champions of nuclear energy after the Fukushima accident while President Dmitry Medvedev has drawn up proposals for a new convention on nuclear safety.

"The world has to have absolute guarantees that nuclear energy has to be safe. This will necessitate systematic solutions starting with changes in international legislation," Kiriyenko said.

The chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, Laurent Stricker, said that "it is clear that the nuclear landscape will be different" after Fukushima and called for greater oversight over nuclear plants.

The chief of the nuclear safety forum of experts, which was established after the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, said nuclear plant reviews should look closely at spent fuel storage and emergency preparedness in case of a power failure.

"It is a difficult time for the nuclear industry and I believe there will be a pause in nuclear development in many countries," he said. "The lessons from Fukushima events are only beginning to be known."

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Germany looks to post-nuclear era
Berlin (AFP) June 6, 2011
Germany laid out plans Monday on how it intends to abandon nuclear power in the next decade while still keeping its economy competitive and achieving its climate goals. "Germany is one of the world's most efficient and economically successful countries. This depends on a competitive energy supply for our companies, and this will remain the case," the government said. "Our country is a pi ... read more

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