Global nuclear power use will grow U.N. says

The global use of nuclear power will continue to grow, despite the massive earthquake and tsunami that caused Japan's nuclear disaster, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear monitoring agency said.

A special high-level meeting on the safety and security of the world's nuclear power plants was held on Thursday in Vienna at the United Nations annual general conference.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukio Amano told the nuclear summit that Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant "reactors are essentially stable and the expectation is that the 'cold shutdown' of all the reactors will be achieved as planned", Voice of America reports.

VOA reports:

Speaking via a video message from IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Amano said worldwide public confidence in the safety of nuclear power was deeply shaken by the radiation leak after a March 11 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami.

Some 80,000 people had to be evacuated from the area near the crippled Japanese plant.

But the IAEA chief said the accident does not mean the end of nuclear power.

"In fact, the latest IAEA projections show that global use of nuclear power will continue to grow quite significantly in the coming decades, although at a slower pace than in our previous projections," added Amano.

"The growth will reflect unchanged factors such as increasing demand for energy as well as concerns about climate change, dwindling reserves of oil and gas, and uncertainty of supply of fossil fuels."

The U.N. nuclear agency endorsed an action plan on Thursday to help strengthen global nuclear safety after the nuclear disaster amid criticism by some countries that it did not go far enough, Reuters reports.

It is "both a rallying point and a blueprint for strengthening nuclear safety worldwide," Amano said.

"It contains concrete and achievable actions to make nuclear safety post-Fukushima more robust and effective than before."

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the meeting that it is clear that the government was underprepared for a tsunami.