ElBaradei sees nuclear expansion

Former UN nuclear monitor and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei expects growth in nuclear energy – particularly in emerging economies – despite the Fukushima disaster caused by Japan’s March tsunami.

A unit at the Ikata nuclear plant in western Japan is seen in this file photo. Emerging economies will keep on building nuclear plants, says Nobel laureate ElBaradei. AP photo.

A unit at the Ikata nuclear plant in western Japan is seen in this file photo. Emerging economies will keep on building nuclear plants, says Nobel laureate ElBaradei. AP photo.

“There will be, in the short term, a slowdown in some countries. But others like France, India or China (won’t see) an impact on their (nuclear) programs,” he told the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The growth will be driven by mounting demand for energy in fast-growing economies, ElBaradei said, citing a U.S. government report predicting 87 percent growth in electricity generation by 2035.

“You can see that a lot of the large emerging economies are looking seriously at already expanding their use of nuclear energy,” he told the Journal. “For example, China and India are expanding by five to eight times their use of nuclear energy by 2020 or 2022. Brazil is expanding its nuclear power program. South Africa is looking seriously to do so.”

The former International Atomic Energy Agency chief said, however, that greater steps should be taken to insure the safety of nuclear facilities, including “mandatory peer review … both civilian and military.”

The March 11 earthquake triggered a tsunami that tore into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving 20,000 people dead or missing and causing meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The release of radiation forced the evacuation of tens of thousands in the world’s worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
NEW YORK- Agence France-Presse