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IAEA Urges Nuclear Plant Risk Checks

IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano

IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano

The head of the United Nation's nuclear agency called today on countries with nuclear power plants to carry out a "thorough and transparent risk assessment" of all their reactors within 18 months.

Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also said an urgent international response was needed to help address public safety concerns caused by Japan's atomic crisis.

"Public confidence in the safety of nuclear power has been badly shaken," he said. "However, nuclear power will remain important for many countries, so it is imperative that the most stringent safety measures are implemented everywhere."

The IAEA is holding a conference in Vienna to discuss nuclear safety in the wake of Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Government ministers and high-level representatives from most of the 150 members of the UN agency are attending the weeklong conference.

Some countries want new IAEA regulations to be enforced under international law. Others say safety regulation should be left to individual governments.

compiled from agency reports