Tokyo Electric Power Co. is considering asking a U.S. utility to verify safety at its idled Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, a senior foreign adviser to the beleaguered utility has said.

It would be the first time a foreign power company has been asked to assess a Japanese nuclear plant.

In Japan only the Nuclear Regulation Authority can check that reactors meet national safety standards. However, an opinion from an "experienced operator" would help Tepco, given the public scrutiny it faces, said Dale Klein, chairman of the company's reform monitoring committee.