UNITED NATIONS, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Nuclear safety and security are important global issues that will be highlighted by several upcoming meetings, including a high-level gathering during September's annual plenary session of the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a group of UN-based wire correspondents here Wednesday.
"I have made it quite clear again that it is the national government, the prerogative sovereign right, to determine the future course of their energy policy, this is their national decision," Ban said. "However, in view of such tragic consequences which we have seen after the Fukushima accident, it is important that whole international community should be united in strengthening the nuclear safety standard and also make sure that nuclear safety is ensured."
Nuclear safety has become a highly salient issue in 2011, due in large part to a major accident at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the worst of its kind in 25 years. The plant was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, and as a result leaked radioactive substances into the atmosphere, triggering a crisis.
The secretary-general has announced a high-level meeting on nuclear safety on Sept. 22, which he said will utilize the conclusions drawn from the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA) Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, which runs from June 20-24.
"Since there is going to be the most number of heads of government and state, it's a right time and very appropriate time to raise political awareness on the necessity and the importance of nuclear safety and security, it will be very good opportunity to reaffirm and strongly reinforce what the IAEA ministerial meeting has recommended," said Ban.
At the September meeting, Ban will present a UN system-wide study that will deal with the implications of the Fukushima accident as well as the possibilities of how nuclear disaster risk preparedness can be made better.
"As for the high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security which will be held on 22 of September, I expect that there will be many high-level delegations at the level of heads of state, and government and ministerial," he said.
The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, to take place in Seoul, will be able to benefit from the upcoming discussions at the UN, Ban said.
"I believe that nuclear safety issues will be more efficiently, more formally, and more deeply discussed in Seoul in March next year during the nuclear security summit," he explained, referring to the upcoming conference to be convened in the capital of the Republic of Korea (ROK). "I believe again that at the same time, that this high-level meeting in New York will pave a good foundation for Seoul nuclear summit meeting."
The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, is a follow-up to the 2010 meeting called by U.S President Barack Obama, and will attempt to reduce nuclear threats around the world.
In addition, Ban spoke about the resumption of the six-party talks, a multilateral forum to discuss the issue of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.
He said that as secretary-general he endeavors to "help promote favorable conditions for the six-party talks to resume, so that they can discuss the de-nuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula."
The six-party talks, involving China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, ROK, Russia and Japan, began in 2003. Six rounds of talks were held before stalling in December 2008.