Berlin hosts int'l confab on N-energy

Monday, December 8, 2008

An international confab on nuclear energy has opened in Berlin to promote exchange of information on technical and legal aspects of the issue.

Some 200 participants of the two-day conference will focus on nuclear waste disposal, security and relevant issues of nuclear facilities.

Germany's powerful nuclear lobby, Deutsches Atomforum, which enjoys close ties with co-ruling Christian Democratic Party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosted the meeting, IRNA reported.

The meeting is held as Western countries including Germany, are trying to put obstacles in the way of Iran's nuclear drive.

The US and its allies accuse Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of conducting a covert military nuclear program. Iran rejects the allegations, insisting that its enrichment program is solely directed at the civilian applications of the technology.

Last month chairman of Iran's Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani questioned Western powers' sincerity over Iran's nuclear program, saying that the West did not fulfill its promises to Tehran.

"The United States, Germany and France had struck their own deals with Iran to construct nuclear power plants before the 1979 Islamic Revolution," said Rafsanjani in a meeting with former French prime minister, Dominic de Villepin in Tehran.

Opinion polls show that most Germans still remain opposed to nuclear energy but Germany's nuclear industry has organized various countrywide conferences in recent months on the benefits of atomic energy.

Prospects of an oil and gas shortage have sparked again the nuclear debate among Germans. German atomic power plants generated 167.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2006, compared to around 163 billion kilowatt hours in 2005.

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