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Six of nine nuclear power plant operators said they will strive for greater objectivity in reporting, according to a Kyodo News survey released Sunday.

The operators said they plan to exclude executives in charge of nuclear power from the review bodies when reviewing in-house inspection reports.

The move comes in response to criticism that Tokyo Electric Power Co. fabricated reports for years. The false reports — concerning dozens of defects, including cracked shrouds, found at some of its nuclear reactors — were allegedly submitted to a nuclear industry regulator.

The results show that many of the nuclear plant operators want to ensure that their checks of self-inspection results will not be considered too lax.

The survey covered Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co., Hokuriku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co., Chugoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power Co.

All are soon expected to conduct confirmation checks of in-house inspections.

None has ever checked the results of in-house inspections from the perspective that there may have been falsified reports.

The nine utilities are to submit plans for the confirmation checks to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency at the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry by Friday. Any irregularities discovered are to be reported to the central government.

Only Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Chubu, Kansai and Shikoku Power said that executives in charge of their nuclear power operations would be excluded from the bodies in charge of reviewing inspection results. They explained that the move was an effort to ensure the objectivity of the review.

Kansai Electric said it would also set up a panel of outside experts to check the review process, while Chubu Electric said it is considering excluding employees involved with nuclear power operations from handling the review.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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