Japan’s new nuclear regulatory body might allow prolonging life of old reactors
The legislation, however, swiftly came under fire for appearing to weaken the government’s commitment to decommissioning reactors after 40 years in operation
the new regulatory commission could revise a rule limiting the life of reactors to 40 years in principle.
“Does this reflect the sentiment of the citizens, who are seeking an exit from nuclear power?”
Japan to get new atomic regulatory body within three months By Linda Sieg, TOKYO Jun 15, 2012 (Reuters) – Japan will set up a new nuclear regulator around September under a law approved by parliament’s lower house on Friday after months of delay as part of a drive to improve safety and restore public trust after the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
The 2011 Fukushima disaster cast a harsh spotlight on the cozy ties between regulators, politicians and utilities – known as Japan’s “nuclear village” – that experts say were a major factor in the failure to avert the crisis triggered when a huge earthquake and tsunami devastated the plant, causing meltdowns.
The legislation, however, swiftly came under fire for appearing to weaken the government’s commitment to decommissioning reactors after 40 years in operation, even as it drafts an energy program to reduce nuclear power’s role.
Under a deal ending months of bickering by ruling and opposition
parties, the new regulatory commission could revise a rule limiting the life of reactors to 40 years in principle.
“Does this reflect the sentiment of the citizens, who are seeking an
exit from nuclear power?” queried an editorial in the Tokyo Shimbun
daily. “Won’t it instead make what was supposed to be a rare exception
par for the course?”
Public opposition to building new atomic plants is strong, so
extending the life of Japan’s aged reactors is one key to maintaining
a role for nuclear power. More than a dozen of the country’s 50
reactors are at least three decades old, with three already operating
for about 40 years.
The new law, expected to be approved by the upper house, would create
a five-member independent nuclear regulatory commission and a nuclear
regulatory agency to do the work of the trade ministry’s
heavily-criticized Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the
cabinet’s oversight commission…..
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