Despite the Fukushima crisis, the number of nuclear reactors in the world will steadily rise in the coming decades, with the most growth happening in countries like India and China who need to meet their growing energy demands, the international atomic watchdog estimates.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano told the 66th session of U.N. General Assembly here that despite the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan, the agency’s projection is that the number of operating nuclear reactors in the world will continue to increase steadily in the coming decades.

“Most of the growth will occur in countries that already have operating nuclear power plants, such as China and India,” Mr. Amano said in his annual report to the U.N..

He said many developing countries plan to introduce nuclear power in the coming years.

The growing interest in nuclear power among countries will be fuelled by the increasing global demand for energy, concerns about climate change, volatile fossil fuel prices and security of energy supply.

Mr. Amano stressed the need for countries to learn the “right lessons” from the Fukushima Daiichi accident, saying nations with nuclear power programmes need to promptly undertake “stress tests” of their plants as nuclear safety is their individual responsibility.

IAEA’s 151 member states had endorsed a 12-point action plan on nuclear safety in September, which includes strengthening the framework for expert peer reviews of operational safety at nuclear power plants.

The action plan will also review effectiveness of national and international emergency preparedness and response arrangements and IAEA safety standards.

“The action plan represents a significant step forward. It is vital that it is fully implemented in all countries with nuclear power and that the right lessons are learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident,” he said.