A former senior official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency acknowledged Tuesday that NISA asked Shikoku Electric Power Co. to have its employees attend a government-sponsored symposium on atomic energy in June 2006.
The official, who headed the office of nuclear safety public relations at NISA, which is under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said he asked senior officials at Shikoku Electric’s Tokyo branch to compel its employees to attend the forum and actively express their opinions.
But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied making substantial requests for remarks by the symposium participants.
The former official had retired from NISA before August 2007, when the agency asked Chubu Electric Power Co. to get local residents at a similar symposium to pitch questions favoring the utility’s goal to use “pluthermal” mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel.
This indicates NISA has continued staging events promoting nuclear energy, industry sources said.
The former official said he wanted to avoid a recurrence of a 2005 symposium in Saga Prefecture when only audience members opposed to nuclear power spoke up during the session.
The official said he wanted participants to be able to express their opinions freely in open debate at the 2006 symposium in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture,on Shikoku Electric’s MOX fuel project.
The official denied any intention of influencing the symposium, saying there are many people linked with Shikoku Electric’s Ikata nuclear plant and that their voices should never be ignored.