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UN nuke chief: revamped emergency responses needed

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VIENNA (AP) — Japan's nuclear crisis has exposed huge weaknesses in how the world deals with such disasters, the U.N. nuclear chief said Monday, urging changes in emergency nuclear responses worldwide.

Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, also told a 35-nation IAEA board meeting that — while the situation at Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear site remains serious — "we are starting to see some positive developments."

He defended his agency's performance since the crisis broke 10 days ago, emphasizing that it is up to individual countries to focus on nuclear safety, with the IAEA only in an advisory role.

Glyn Davies, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, however, suggested the agency needed to do more, in a joint U.S.-Canada statement that indicated agency board members will focus on more oversight of the organization's Japan performance.

He said the board will work with Amano "to ensure that this agency is bringing all of its resources to bear in addressing the current crisis."

Since a March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the complex's power supplies, Fukushima's radioactive gas leaks have triggered the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.


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