* Fukushima caused global slowdown in nuclear energy growth
* But IAEA says some 30 countries still interested
* Poland, Turkey, Bangladesh, Jordan "making good progress"
VIENNA, Feb 13 Four more countries could start
building their first nuclear energy reactors in the next five
years, a senior U.N. atomic energy official said on Thursday,
despite a slowdown in industry growth since Japan's Fukushima
disaster three years ago.
Over the last two years, the United Arab Emirates and
Belarus became the first countries in around two decades to
start constructing their first reactors, Anne Starz of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
Referring to plans by Bangladesh, Jordan, Turkey and Poland,
she told Reuters: "I think that there is probably another four
countries that could have their first reactors under
construction in the next five years."
Starz, who leads the U.N. agency's Integrated Nuclear
Infrastructure Group (INIG), added: "This indicates something
but it is hard to see whether it is a trend yet."
IAEA Deputy Director General Alexander Bychkov told an
annual IAEA workshop on nuclear infrastructure development last
week that Bangladesh, Jordan, Poland and Turkey were "making
good progress on the path to nuclear power", but he gave no
In Turkey, industry sources and experts said its first
nuclear power plant had hit further delays that would push back
the start of production by almost a year after Turkish
authorities requested resubmission of an environmental report.
The 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan - caused by a massive
earthquake and tsunami - was the worst such nuclear accident
since Chernobyl, the 1986 Soviet reactor explosion which sent
radioactive dust across much of Europe.
It put a question mark over the future of nuclear energy
also elsewhere in the world. In Europe, Germany, Switzerland and
Belgium decided to move away from nuclear to increase their
reliance on renewable energy.
The IAEA - whose mission is to promote "safe, secure and
peaceful nuclear technologies" - in 2013 cut its long-term
outlook for nuclear energy growth for a third year in a row, in
part because of hesitancy following Fukushima.
The industry could, however, still nearly double its
capacity by 2030 due to expansion in Asia, it said.
Just over 30 countries are interested in introducing nuclear
energy, Starz said, although some - like Venezuela - decided
after Fukushima that it "was not for them".
"Countries who were serious have taken steps forward in
their plans and some of them have taken rather concrete steps,"
Starz said. Others "decided that maybe now is not the right
time, that this accident brought home some of the challenges
they would face because of the complexity of the technology."
(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl, editing by David Evans)