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Asia’s Prospects for Nuclear Power Highlighted at Regional Conference

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IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, Mikhail Chudakov (4th from left), and Secretary of the Philippines Department of Energy, Alfonso Cusi (3rd from right), visiting the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant on 1 September 2016. It was constructed in the 1970s and 1980s but was never operated. (Photo: National Power Corporation, Philippines)

Asia is the driver of nuclear power, according to Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, who spoke at a conference on nuclear power in Manila this week. “There are several member states already operating nuclear power plants, and many more aspiring states exploring the potential for developing nuclear power programmes in this region,” he said.

A nuclear power programme is a major undertaking and requires careful planning, preparation and investment, Mr. Chudakov said. The decision to embark on such a programme should be based upon a well-informed national position, comprehensive analysis of the current and required national infrastructure, energy planning and the commitment to safe, secure, peaceful use of nuclear power.

Representatives from 14 Member States convened from 30 August to 1 September 2016 to discuss common challenges and share lessons learned from the process of considering the introduction of nuclear power. The conference on the Prospects for Nuclear Power in the Asia Pacific Region was organized by the IAEA in collaboration with the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation and hosted by the Philippines Department of Energy.

“This conference provided a unique opportunity for our Member States to discuss the common challenges countries in Asia and the Pacific are facing in introducing nuclear power, and to display the best practices in addressing those challenges,” Mr Chudakov said. “This is one of the regions where nuclear is high on the agenda of a number of Member States.”

During the conference, the IAEA, together with international experts, provided participants with an overview of key nuclear infrastructure issues and guidance on the development of national strategies for nuclear power programmes, based on the IAEA Milestones Approach. While the IAEA does not influence a country’s decision on introducing nuclear power, it supports Member States’ efforts to evaluate all options towards making a knowledgeable decision.

“This conference is valuable from many perspectives, including the robust participation of NGOs and civil society representatives, whose support, after all, is a sine qua non to the formulation of a national position on the issue of nuclear power,” said Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson, Ambassador of the Philippines to Austria and Permanent Representative to the IAEA.

The conference covered fundamental issues, such as aspects of the legal, regulatory and government support for nuclear power, management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, human resource development and capacity building, and other related technical issues. The conference also offered an opportunity for participants to exchange know-how and experiences and address regional challenges and opportunities with regards to the development of a national nuclear power programme. The more than 120 participants included international experts from the IAEA, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and nuclear research institutes, decision-makers from public administration, relevant industry and utilities, experienced Member States with operating nuclear power plants and newcomer states interested in embarking on a nuclear power programme.

This is one of the regions where nuclear is high on the agenda of a number of Member States.
Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General, IAEA

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