May 28, 2013

Nuclear Regulator's New Review Process

Published on Tuesday May 28 2013 (AEST)

The Nuclear Regulation Authority will conduct new reviews to see whether each of Japan's nuclear power plants is meeting revised safety regulations.

The secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority is to conduct the assessments. It will create 3 teams to examine the applications submitted by individual plant operators to restart nuclear reactors.

The secretariat says each team will consist of 20 officials, including experts in nuclear plant facilities, and earthquake and tsunami disaster management. The secretariat says the reviews may take 6 months to a year. But the total time is not certain because the process will cover elements that have never been assessed before.

Professor Yoshihiro Nishiwaki of the Tokyo Institute of Technology said the new regulations include criteria covering serious accidents. He expressed concern over whether the examiners have adequate expertise in that area. In addition to the review by the regulator, plant operators have to obtain consent from host municipalities before restarting their reactors.

They also need to come up with evacuation and other emergency preparedness plans for residents in surrounding areas.


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