The Associated Press November 1, 2011, 11:49PM ET

China urges IAEA to enhance nuclear safeguards

China urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to do more to strengthen nuclear safety and to use lessons from Japan's crisis to improve the handling of emergencies.

The IAEA should work to restore confidence in atomic energy shaken by the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March, Wang Min, China's deputy representative to the U.N., said at a session convened to discuss the IAEA's annual report.

"The agency shoulders important responsibilities in promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and preventing nuclear proliferation," Wang said. "Facing the new situation after the Fukushima nuclear accident, the agency should further strengthen its leading role in enhancing global nuclear safety and promoting relevant international cooperation."

He named increasing technical aid to developing countries and improving infrastructure of countries new to the use of nuclear power as priorities.

A recently approved post-Fukushima action plan is crucial for improving safety and "emergency response performance," Wang said.

China inspected its own nuclear power plants and stopped construction of new projects after Japan's disaster. It says it committed to expanding use of nuclear power but will stress safety over rapid development.

The inspections were due to finish by October, and the current status of the projects is unclear.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told U.N. members Tuesday the number of nuclear reactors in the world will keep growing despite the Japanese accident, sharpening the need to improve security.

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