Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Turmoil at nuclear regulatory agencies

Japanese and U.S. counterparts face criticism albeit for different reasons

Fukushima_symbolLife in the post-Fukushima era for nuclear regulatory agencies in Japan and the U.S. is not  easy. In Japan the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) is in hot water over revelations it stacked the deck at public meetings with employees of the nuclear utilities it is supposed to regulate.

Two utilities told the Japanese government they complied with requests from NISA in 2006 and 2007 to send their employees to public meetings to support a licensing decision.

In response to these revelations, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has questioned whether NISA should continue to exist in its present form. He also called for a phase out of dependence on nuclear power for the Japanese economy.

In the U.S. an aggressive plan to apply "lessons learned" from Fukushima to the regulation of the U.S. fleet of reactors has hit the rocks. The so-called 90-Day report, supported by the controversial chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), will not be quickly acted on due to opposition from three other commissioners.

The report and a fast timetable to implement its recommendations, has also been criticized by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

However, it is supported by critics of nuclear energy including Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Read the full details of how nuclear regulatory agencies are in turmoil in the post Fukushima era at the ANS Nuclear Cafe online now.

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