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Japan struggling with the idea of nuclear regulation independent of nuclear promotion

‘Obviously, having promoters and regulators under the same roof is not desirable’

Previous investigations into the Fukushima accident have found evidence of lax supervision by NISA, cozy relations with utilities and delays in upgrading safety measures.

Japan’s new nuclear regulatory agency delayed Bloomberg, By MARI YAMAGUCHI   2 April 12,  Japan’s government has failed to create a revamped nuclear regulatory agency by the promised date, April 1, amid political infighting, raising questions about its commitment to bolstering oversight in the wake of last year’s nuclear crisis.

Authorities have been accused of lax regulation and supervision of
Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors after a massive earthquake and tsunami led
to a meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in the
world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet has endorsed a bill to create
a more powerful and independent regulatory body similar to the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission that would unify various nuclear safety
and regulatory offices and be placed under the Environment Agency.

Currently, the main regulatory body, the Nuclear Industrial and Safety
Agency, is under the control of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry, which also promotes nuclear power in the resource-poor
country.

But progress in setting up the new agency — to be called the Nuclear
Safety Regulation Agency — has been slowed by disagreements between
the ruling and opposition parties over how much independence it should
have,…   “Obviously, having promoters and regulators under the same
roof is not desirable, and we must unify related agencies that are
scattered around,” Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who is also in
charge of nuclear crisis management, told a parliamentary committee
Monday.

He called the delay “regrettable.”……    Previous investigations into the Fukushima accident have found evidence of lax supervision by NISA, cozy relations with utilities and delays in upgrading safety measures.

On Monday, an NSC member told the same parliamentary committee that
NISA repeatedly tried to block her commission’s efforts in 2006 to
upgrade nuclear accident management plans, saying it would cause
unnecessary safety concerns and additional costs…..
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-04/D9TSOPE83.htm

April 4, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, safety

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