Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (credit Reuters/Tokyo Electric Power Co)

Nuclear forum backs atomic safety campaign after Japan crisis

Nuclear regulators say they will learn from the Japan nuclear crisis and back a UN-led campaign to strengthen atomic safety.

Japan's month-long struggle to stabilise the Fukushima nuclear power plant after it was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami has prompted a rethink about atomic power worldwide with some countries putting plans on hold.

Nuclear regulators from 72 nations have held a conference in Vienna to review the 1996 Convention on Nuclear Safety which has been dominated by the need to strengthen safety after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

"We are committed to draw and act upon the lessons of the Fukushima accident," they said in a joint statement.

The forum said it would hold a special meeting on Japan next year to improve safety, and support plans for a nuclear safety conference in June focusing on Fukushima, to be hosted by UN atomic agency the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The meeting will aim to improve nuclear safety and draw lessons from Fukushima, the most serious nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, said IAEA chief Yukiya Amano.

Japan developments have put the IAEA's ability to handle nuclear crises in the spotlight as it lacks the power to enforce the standards it recommends, which some countries and analysts argue needs to change to help guard against future disasters.

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