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"Exciting times for nuclear power," IAEA Director General Says

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Singapore

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano Singapore's Energy Market Authority, where he gave a public lecture as part of the agency's Distinguished Speaker Programme. (Photo: C. Brady/IAEA)

Nuclear power is enjoying a period of revival worldwide, particularly in Asia, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Singapore earlier today.

A growing number of countries are considering building nuclear power plants to meet increasing energy needs of their growing economies while decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Amano said at Singapore's Energy Market Authority, where he gave a public lecture as part of the agency's Distinguished Speaker Programme.

Nuclear power "can help to improve energy security, reduce the impact of volatile fossil fuel prices, mitigate the effects of climate change, and make economies more competitive," he said. "Nuclear can deliver the steady supply of baseload electricity needed to power a modern economy."

Mr Amano said that in the four years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan, huge improvements have been made to nuclear safety all over the world, and there has also been significant progress in treating and disposing nuclear waste. Furthermore, he said, "remarkable research is being done on new generations of reactors which will be safer and generate less waste."

Two thirds of the 69 nuclear reactors under construction are in Asia, reflecting the growing economic clout of the continent.

Options for smaller countries

Thanks to recent advances in the research and development of small and medium-sized reactors, smaller countries such as Singapore may be able to take advantage of nuclear power in the future as well, Mr. Amano said. "There is also great potential for smaller countries to cooperate regionally on nuclear power projects," he added, emphasizing that the IAEA does not influence the sovereign decisions of its Member States whether to use nuclear power. The IAEA's role is to advise those countries that choose to include nuclear power in their energy mix, he said.

Mr Amano concluded by thanking Singapore for its cooperation with the IAEA and for its advanced use of nuclear applications. "I wish Singapore continued success in the coming decades in using nuclear science and technology for the health and well-being of its people," he said.  

During his three-day visit to the city state, Mr Amano signed the IAEA-Singapore Third Country Training Programme and held talks with Grace Fu Hai Yien, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and visited the country's National Cancer Centre.

 

Last update: 26 July 2017

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