Who is going to be the new head of nuclear regulatory authority?

The Japanese anti-nuclear NGOs, including FoE Japan, e-shift, and eneshif Japan, issued a joint statement pointing out the corruption of the government in terms of their selections of candidates for the new nuclear regulatory authority. These voluntary groups claims Shuinichi Tanaka, as a candidate for the new head of the regulatory authority, is seen to be an extremely inadequate choice. After Tanaka studied nuclear engineering at Tohoku University, he experienced working at Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) and later became a vice chairman of the institution in 2004. He also served as an acting chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of Japan, as well as chairman of Atomic Energy Society of Japan in 2009. Considering such careers, Tanaka is seen to have played a core role of the so-called "nuclear power village."  

After the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima, Tanaka stayed in Iitate Fukushima to help decontaminate the area, which made him look acting on behalf of the victims of the accident. However, leaders of anti-nuclear groups are critical to his ideas since he did not acknowledge the risk of low dose exposure and maintained his statement that staying in Fukushima is desirable for the people, rather than evacuating. Accordingly, Tanaka did not agree with paying compensation to the people who chose voluntarily evacuation at Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation.


This new regulatory authority is to be responsible for taking emergency responses under the accident conditions, to make decisions over restarting nuclear power plants, and to allow the revieision of the rules regarding abolishing nuclear reactors. Although the regulatory authority must function independently from the government and corporations, selecting the candidates, who have a strong influence from the nuclear industry and seek to control both operation and regulation of nuclear power, appears to be an extreme form of corruption.


Although the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party made its decision to approve the government's personnel proposal, opposition parties are suspicious of this government's intension. Some professors and NPO leaders also held a press conference in July to object against the government's personnel proposals and to demand reconsideration for the selection of these candidates. The new nuclear ragulatory authority will be put in force from September 2012.


Weekly Friday Magazine Online  09, 08, 2012

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