A ministerial international conference on nuclear safety kicked off on Saturday in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, aiming at strengthening nuclear safety worldwide after a catastrophic nuclear disaster caused by tsunami in Fukushima.
The three-day meeting, which was co-chaired by the Japanese government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is also meant to share with the international community, at the ministerial and expert levels, further knowledge and lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
After the Fukushima nuclear accident, nuclear phase-out became a major issue in Japan as many political parties running for the upcoming general election called for eliminating nuclear energy. However, nuclear power remains a key source of energy for many countries.
Therefore, the conference also emphasized the importance of assisting IAEA member countries to take safety assessments of their nuclear plants and enhance the effectiveness of their regulatory bodies.
The meeting is also to call for helping countries develop their infrastructure and human resources related to their nuclear power programs.
On March 11 last year, a devastating tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi and destroyed three reactors at the plant, leading nuclear materials leaked from the plant and making Japan a country that suffered from the world's worst nuclear disaster since 1986 Chernobyl crisis.
Around 160,000 people, who once lived in Fukushima, still evacuated from their homes due to the nuclear accident.