Pakistan has boosted safety, security of nuclear installations: Hina Rabbani Khar

Islamabad: Pakistan told the United Nations Thursday that steps have been taken to augment the safety and security of the country’s nuclear installations and materials in order to provide energy in a safe and responsible manner, says a press release received here today from New York.

“Revival of economy and socio-economic development of our people is the foremost priority of the Government of Pakistan. Safe and sustainable nuclear energy is essential to advance our development agenda,” Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told a high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who opened the meeting, said that Fukushima nuclear plant accident along with the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago – serve as a “wake-up call” for the world’s people.

“The effects of nuclear accidents respect no borders. To adequately safeguard our people, we must have strong international consensus and action. We must have strong international safety standards,” the UN chief told the meeting on the margins of the annual general debate of the General Assembly.

In her speech, Khar underscored the need for taking into account the differentiated nature of countries’ needs and circumstances while evolving a strengthened nuclear safety regime. “Effective implementation of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Action Plan on Nuclear Safety would inter-alia depend in large measure on the degree of international assistance and cooperation to the developing countries.

“On our part, we have already begun a comprehensive safety review of the existing power plants in areas such as site studies, safety systems, emergency power systems, off-site emergency preparedness etc,” the foreign minister said. “Such safety appraisal will also be applicable to our future nuclear power plants.”

Pakistan, she said, has more than three decades of experience in safe reactor operations, backed by a professional corps of experts as well as technical and engineering infrastructure to provide technical support to our power plants. “We are ready to assist interested states in the experience and expertise that we have gained in the area of nuclear safety under the IAEA auspice.”

On the recent trends affecting non-proliferation regime, the foreign minister said Pakistan believes in an equitable, non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach to advance the universally shared goals of non-proliferation and promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

“We also hope that considerations of nuclear safety and nuclear security would facilitate, not hinder, the pursuit of peaceful uses of nuclear energy for advancing the development agenda and offsetting environmental degradation.”

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