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Venezuela’s Chavez Halts Nuclear Energy Program following Japan Crisis

By Juan Reardon – Venezuelanalysis –  March 16th, 2011

Mérida – Yesterday President Hugo Chávez put a freeze on Venezuela’s nascent nuclear energy program as a result of the crisis underway at Japan’s earthquake-stricken nuclear reactors.

In the aftermath of last Friday’s tragic earthquake, Chávez sent his condolences to the Japanese people and announced his decision to halt a bi-lateral nuclear development agreement signed between Venezuela and Russia in October of last year.

The announcement came just hours after new flames engulfed one of Japan’s damaged nuclear plants and forced authorities to evacuate the last remaining technicians.

“What has been taking place in the last few hours represents an enormous risk and threat to the entire world,” said Chávez late Tuesday evening.

“Even with all of the great technology and advances that the Japanese have…just look at what is happening with some of those nuclear reactors,” he said.

Chávez’s comments came after elevated radiation levels at Japan’s earthquake-stricken Fukushima Daiishi nuclear plant led authorities to suspend all efforts to prevent the plant’s reactors from melting down. Authorities ordered clean-up crews to leave the facilities and cancelled plans for the use of military helicopters to dump water on the plants in efforts to prevent temperatures from rising any further.

Chávez said Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis would affect the development of nuclear energy programs worldwide. “There is no doubt whatsoever that this has altered, and will alter in a very strong way, all planning for nuclear energy across the globe,” he said.

“For the time being,” Chávez said, “I have ordered the Vice President [and Minister of Energy Rafael] Ramírez to put a freeze on the plans we have been advancing, the very preliminary studies related to Venezuela’s peaceful nuclear energy program.” … Full article

March 18, 2011 - Posted by | Nuclear Power

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