The government’s panel on nuclear safety issued a report Tuesday calling for continued efforts to prevent nuclear accidents, noting that the vigilance maintained since Japan’s worst nuclear accident in 1999 has prevented another from occurring.
The Nuclear Safety Commission said in its 2000 white paper that nuclear workers must remain vigilant and strive to maintain safety. The document was submitted to a Cabinet meeting Tuesday.
The September 1999 accident at a uranium processing plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, resulted in the deaths of two people and exposed more than 400 others to higher-than-normal levels of radiation.
The report says the panel’s analysis of the cause of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the United States in its first white paper compiled in 1981 applies to the Tokai accident.
Pointing to the similarities between both accidents, it examines reasons why nuclear accidents recur while questioning the effectiveness of postaccident discussions and countermeasures.
As causes of both accidents, the white paper points to insufficient understanding of human behavior, organizational acts and management methods as well as technical factors not foreseen even by the designers of nuclear facilities.
However, the commission did not identify in its report specific measures to prevent future nuclear accidents.
The document focuses on a theme of “returning to the starting point,” but includes no policy outline.
It explains basic principles of atomic power and radiation, illustrating the nation’s system of maintaining nuclear safety, steps taken after the Tokai accident and safety measures taken by other countries.
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