Spindelegger: “Lessons should be learnt from Fukushima!”
Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister at IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety at the Austria Center Vienna
Vienna, 21 June 2011 – “All of us – representatives of states, of international organisations, of non-governmental organisations and of science and research – must learn our lessons from the almost MCA in Fukushima. After all, the events in Fukushima unmasked the belief in the manageability of nuclear technology as a dangerous illusion. It is therefore even more necessary to revise the energy policy and advocate changes in favour of sustainable and renewable forms of energy. At any rate, Austria will continue its anti-nuclear policy and consistently support improvements in areas such as nuclear safety, information and crisis management as well as nuclear liability,” said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in his speech today at the Ministerial Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The Foreign Minister particularly stressed the responsible and exemplary policy shown by the governments of Germany and Switzerland, who have decided to abandon nuclear energy altogether. The Italian people had also clearly expressed their opinion, said Spindelegger, and other states should follow these examples.
Spindelegger expects the one-week conference to express a clear commitment to increased nuclear safety and improved information and crisis management policies. For this purpose Austria submitted concrete proposals in the form of a working paper and will – on the basis of the Ministers’ Declaration – actively contribute to the preparation and implementation of the action plan that was also adopted: “We demand drastic improvements such as binding compliance with highest nuclear safety standards, obligatory and unannounced safety inspections of nuclear power plants and a pro-active information policy on the part of all those responsible in the event of accidents,” said the Foreign Minister. With regard to information policy and instructions for the public, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger issued invitations to a seminar to be held in the autumn of 2011 at the newly opened information centre of Nuclear Engineering Seibersdorf GmbH.
In his speech at the extraordinary Ministerial Meeting, Spindelegger also noted the indirect support granted to the nuclear industry in the form of alarmingly low liability limits: “If comparable indemnity limits were applied to automobiles, not a single one would be in operation today,” he said. “In view of the amount of damage caused by Fukushima it is imperative to completely redefine the international provisions on nuclear liability,” emphasised Spindelegger. The Foreign Minister also pointed to remarkable new steps of the European Union, such as the performance of stress tests in all nuclear power stations and the important positions taken at the level of the G8 and OECD. He also expressed his deep sympathy with the Japanese people for the terrible consequences of the earthquake, the subsequent tsunami and the nuclear disaster, paying tribute to their courage in times of crisis.
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