Nuclear Industry and Regulators at odds in Japan

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Shunichi Tanaka, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan
Shunichi Tanaka, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan

The Japan Nuclear Safety Institute was founded by utilities in Japan in November 2013 with the goal of improving safety at the nation’s nuclear power plants.  The Tokyo-based institute claims to pursue the world’s highest level of safety.

Shunichi Tanaka, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan does not share the same sentiment.

On Tuesday officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Japan Nuclear Safety Institute met for the first time to exchange ideas.

During the meeting, Shojiro Matsuura, chairman of the Nuclear Safety Institute claimed that keeping Japan’s nuclear power plants offline for extended periods of time would have a “negative impact” on the safety culture, but did not give any further indication of what negative impacts he was referring to.

Matsuura was the former president of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and head of the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.

When NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka took the podium, he attacked the industry by saying the accident was caused by the “arrogance of science and technology.”

Tanaka also added the post-Fukushima, utilities operating nuclear power facilities in Japan have “utterly failed to communicate” what efforts they are making to improve safety and what they learned from the disaster.

Tanaka requested that the Nuclear Safety Institute better instruct the utilities.

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