SINGAPORE: Singapore has called on the international community to work together to enhance the global nuclear safety infrastructure.
And that, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Masagos Zulkifli said includes having a strong emergency preparedness and response mechanism.
He was speaking at the opening of the first Asia—Europe nuclear safety summit on Wednesday in Singapore.
It has been more than a year since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan happened but delegates at the nuclear safety seminar said it has demonstrated that a low probability but high impact event can occur.
And in an era of instant communications, the disaster had demonstrated the need for a stronger role of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Denis Flory, International Atomic Energy Agency delegate, said: "The accident also demonstrated the overall importance of our role in response to emergencies and the vital need to further maintain and strengthen the IAEA’s incident and emergency system.
"Emergency planning and preparedness cannot be left to individual initiatives but must be governed by stringent well—rehearsed legal requirements involving all stakeholders, support organisations and the government."
So Singapore’s representative at the summit said it is appropriate for the Asia—Europe Meeting dialogue to discuss this subject, especially when Asian countries are rapidly developing or beginning to develop their nuclear energy sector.
Experts studying the issue of nuclear energy said the lack of available alternative energy sources and climate change concerns will make it difficult for countries to reject the option of nuclear energy.
So they said many countries will still proceed with their plans to harness nuclear energy.
Singapore stressed that whether to include nuclear power into a country’s energy mix is a sovereign decision.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli said: "Post—Fukushima, a number of countries have reconsidered their earlier reliance on nuclear energy. Some have decided to phase out its use while others have decided to proceed more cautiously.
"Still, nuclear energy is here to stay as there are those who continue to regard it as a viable option.
"At the same time, the public and mass media in many countries have become more outspoken and concerned about the safety and continued use of nuclear energy. It is therefore important that the international community works closely together to demonstrate its commitment to enhance the global nuclear safety infrastructure. This includes having strong emergency preparedness and response mechanisms."
The three—day seminar will discuss issues surrounding the theme — National, Regional and International Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Response.
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