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French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced today that he is calling for a reform of global nuclear standards by the end of this year

Since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan causing troubles with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, there has been a certain amount of nuclear hysteria. For instance, some journalists have sensationalized Japan's nuclear situation, and despite the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's conclusion that nuclear plants in the U.S. were safe, two U.S. senators still pushed for an expensive study to determine if these plants are safe. 

Now, it looks like France is showing some concern regarding the use of nuclear power after visiting Japan recently. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced today that he is calling for a reform of global nuclear standards by the end of this year.  

"Dear Japanese friends, know that in this appalling catastrophe, the world is watching and admiring you," said Sarkozy. 

In addition, Sarkozy said France would like to host a meeting this May consisting of the bloc's nuclear officials "to fix new norms in the wake of the crisis" in Japan. France is taking it upon itself to lead the assistance of Japan, since, according to Reuters, France is the most dependent on nuclear power.  

"We must address this anomaly that there are no international safety norms for nuclear matters," said Sarkozy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N. body, sets standards and recommendations, but they are not "legally binding" and member states are responsible for safety.

Japan is certainly having some issues with cooling the reactors' fuel rods, making sure crops grown near the plant are not contaminated, keeping an eye on the amount of radiation in the water, and the increased pressure to expand the 12-mile evacuation zone. But government officials have noted that the situation has become much more manageable as of late, and that levels of radiation outside of the plant's range are low-risk. 

In fact, a reading of downtown Tokyo's radiation levels today showed 0.18 microsieverts per hour, which is low in regards to global standards.  

"All the experts agree that living in Tokyo now does not represent a health risk," said Sarkozy.

But Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed with Sarkozy regarding the call for global nuclear review.  

"In order to avid recurrence of such an accident, it is our duty to accurately share with the world our experience," said Kan.  

According to the report, a total of 28,000 people are either dead or missing due to the earthquakes and tsunamis, and the damage may exceed $300 billion. 

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RE: i might be wrong - probably am
By MrTeal on 3/31/2011 12:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't mean there shouldn't be a review and an update to safety standards. I agree that the reactors have actually fared really well, but this crisis does have some lessons to teach.

I'm sure that they already knew how important cooling is to a BWR, but I'd expect recommendations for more backup systems related to maintaining cooling.

The big thing that needs to come out of this is dealing with the waste problem. Governments have been dragging their feet on dealing with the issue of what to do with the waste that has been generated. If the fuel in the spent fuel pools at Fukushima had been moved at a reasonable pace out of the reactor building into dry cask storage and then to a permanent storage facility, the current crisis wouldn't have been nearly as severe. "Green" groups get locals whipped into a frenzy when a long term storage facility is proposed by calling it a nuclear waste dump in their back yard, but it has to go somewhere. We can't keep storing it in the reactor building.

By JKflipflop98 on 4/1/2011 3:04:19 AM , Rating: 3
It's called "reprocessing". The trouble is that the same method you use on your old, spent fuel rods to make new fuel is the same method one uses to make weapons-grade fuel.

Because of this, we can't build new reprocessing facilities in the number that we need. Nuclear facilities don't want to get rid of their spent fuel rods. They keep them on site so they can be later reprocessed into new fuel.

The answer here is pretty easy, guys. Build more nuclear fuel rod reprocessing plants. Not only will there be far less waste, but costs will go down and everyone will be that much safer.

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