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IAEA Chief: World Nuclear Power Has Achieved Great Progress
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Nuclear power around the world had achieved great progress in the last two decades, raising expectations of the peaceful use of nuclear power, said Mohammed Elbaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Geneva on Monday.

In a review of the achievements of the IAEA in the last fifty years at the 50th General Conference of the IAEA, Elbaradei said, "The rapid growth in global energy demand" and "climate change concerns" had highlighted the advantages of nuclear power in terms of minimal greenhouse gas emissions, a sustained safety and productivity record, and relatively lower costs.

He added that, up to the end of 2005, there were 443 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries supplying about 16 percent of the world's electricity. "This percentage has been roughly stable since 1986, indicating that nuclear power has grown at about the same rate as total global electricity for the past 20 years."

He especially praised China, Russia and other countries for their peaceful use of nuclear power. These countries "currently have the most ambitious plans for short-term nuclear expansion."

He also highlighted the responsibility of the IAEA for promoting the development and transfer of peaceful nuclear technology, maintaining and expanding the global system of nuclear safety, and strengthening the security of nuclear material and radioactive stuffs and establishments, as well as preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

He said lasting peace had been not only an "achievement," but also a "process" and a "commitment."

The 50th Annual Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference opened on Monday at the Austria Center in Vienna, Austria. High-level delegates from the Agency's 140 member states are present at the five-day conference, which marks the beginning of activities commemorating the IAEA's 50th anniversary this year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2006)

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