Tepco gifted ¥120 million to university course run by NRA nominee

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. donated ¥120 million in the four years through fiscal 2011 to a nuclear fuel cycle course taught at the University of Tokyo by a professor who the government has now nominated as a Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner, it was learned Saturday.

Satoru Tanaka’s nomination was submitted to the Diet by the government late last month.

The University of Tokyo’s department of nuclear engineering and management launched the course in fiscal 2008 to promote studies on the nuclear fuel cycle and train personnel able to work for programs to recycle spent fuel at nuclear plants.

According to records the university provided to Jiji Press and other sources following a disclosure request, Tepco initially offered to donate a total of ¥150 million to the course over five years through fiscal 2012. The university decided to accept ¥30 million per year, and Tanaka and other faculty members discussed how to use the funds.

The course, however, was terminated in September 2011 after Tepco proposed ending the donations in the aftermath of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Of the ¥120 million that had been donated by the utility up to that point, the university that November returned ¥20.36 million it had not used.

A Tepco official explained that the company made the donations in order to support the development of talented people. Tanaka, who has also served as president of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan and as chairman of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, did not reply to a request for an interview.