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Challenges ahead in peaceful use of nuclear power
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The international community has to pay greater attention to the challenges facing the rapidly growing civil nuclear projects, Chen Qiufa, director of Chinese Atomic Energy Agency, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The Chinese official, who was in Vienna for a six-day General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) starting on September 29, said that every country is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy as long as it honors the obligation of nonproliferation.

Amid spiraling oil prices and global warming, the international community has begun to re-evaluate the strategic role of nuclear power in energy security and take it as an important alternative.

The exploitation of nuclear power, however, poses many challenges, such as the safety of nuclear power plant, reliable supply of nuclear fuel, and safe disposal of nuclear waste, he said.

How to prevent the nuclear technologies falling into the hands of terrorists is another major concern, he added.

The IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, plays an irreplaceable role in tackling these challenges, Chen said, adding that the IAEA could provide substantial assistance to member states in nuclear technology application, the training of technical personnel and the supply of nuclear fuel, Chen said.

Despite the general trend of improving nuclear safety in recent years, there were sporadic cases of nuclear leak, forcing the agency to strengthen its role in promoting nuclear safety standards and boosting the international cooperation in this regard, Chen said.

Chen said that since its foundation in 1956, the IAEA has been widely acclaimed for its efforts in promoting the peaceful use of nuclear power and nonproliferation. Its contribution to the world energy supply, environmental protection, and international security has also been lauded.

The Chinese official also said that China, as a responsible country, will stick to its promises of nonproliferation and share its experiences in the peaceful use of nuclear power with other member states of the treaty.

(Xinhua News Agency October 6, 2008)

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