IAEA suggests Japanese government to amend nuclear safety law
Jan 25, 2016 12:44 AM EST
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Friday last week that the Japanese regulatory body for nuclear and radiation safety should strengthen staff compentency and increase technical equipment at nuclear power plants in the country.
Japan has improved its nuclear safety regulation since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Japan, followed by tsunami that flooded four out of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima power plant and disabled their cooling system. The disaster became the largest nuclear-related accident in 25 years, according to Sputnik News.
The country's government, parliamentary and private investigations blamed the failure of nuclear safety standards and regulations for the disaster. In 2012, Japan established the improved Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to replace the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which promoted the use of nuclear energy.
The IAEA held the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in Japan to review the improved NRA. The 12-day inspection that started on Jan 11 included the wrecked Fukushima power plant.
According to ABC News, the IAEA experts team said that the NRA demonstrated independence and transparency, which are the crucial elements lacking before 2011 disaster. But the team urged the NRA to enhace inspection competence.
The IAEA said in a statement that the Japan's NRA should work to attract competent and experienced staff, and enhance staff skills relevant to nuclear and radiation safety through education, training, research and enhanced international cooperation.
The agency also urged Japan government to amend its nuclear safety law to allow the authority to perform more effective inspections of nuclear and radiation facilities.
Inspection leader Philippe Jamet, said Japan's inflexible inspection rules do not allow inspectors to move freely at nuclear facilities or respond quickly when there is a problem. Jamet said at a news conference that the team found the system regulating, defining the framework of inspection as very complex and very rigid.
The IAEA also recommended the NRA and nuclear licenses to continue strengthening the promotion of safety culture by fostering a questioning attitude, according to World Nuclear News.
NRA's chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that the authority will seriously consider the IAEA findings to further enhance nuclear safety and security in Japan.
The IAEA's final report will be delivered to the Japanese government in about three months. A review on progress in implementing the IAEA's suggestions and recommendations will be carried out within the next four years.