The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s special team on administrative reform decided July 1 to recommend the government streamline but not abolish the much-troubled Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp., or PNC.

The LDP’s headquarters to promote administrative reform, headed by Koko Sato, had discussed whether to privatize the government-affiliated body in the wake of a series of blunders made by PNC officials. The organization has been hit by scandals related to such accidents as the fire and explosion at the PNC’s spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, in March and a sodium leak in December 1995 at the Monju fast-breeder reactor.

However, the team concluded that some PNC tasks, including operating Monju, cannot be replaced by private firms or another public institution. PNC officials falsified reports on the March accident at the reprocessing plant in an apparent attempt to make it look less serious. The LDP team said the nature of the problems at the PNC must be scrutinized thoroughly.

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