CARACAS - Venezuela is suspending development of a nuclear power program following the catastrophe at a nuclear complex in Japan, President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.
The South American country had hoped that a planned Russian-built nuclear power plant would provide 4,000 megawatts (MW) and be ready in about a decade.
But Chavez said events in Japan after last Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed it showed the risks associated with nuclear power were too great.
"For now, I have ordered the freezing of the plans we have been developing ... for a peaceful nuclear program," he said during a televised meeting with Chinese investors.
"I do not have the least doubt that this (the potential for a nuclear catastrophe in Japan) is going to alter in a very strong way the plans to develop nuclear energy in the world."