Japan has improved nuclear oversight, but skills fall short, IAEA inspectors say


Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency say Japan’s nuclear safety regulation has improved since the 2011 Fukushima disaster but it still needs to strengthen inspections and staff competency.

It is the first IAEA review for the Nuclear Regulation Authority since its establishment in 2012. Japan adopted stricter safety requirements for plant operators, but there has been no change to the law stipulating on-site inspections.

The 17-member team, which concluded a 12-day inspection that included the wrecked Fukushima plant, said Friday that Japan’s regulatory body demonstrated independence and transparency — crucial elements lacking before the disaster, when a separate agency was in charge.

The team urged the NRA to enhance inspection competence. It also called on the government to amend its nuclear safety law to make on-site safety checks more effective and flexible.

  • solodoctor

    More frequent as well as unannounced on site inspections would be a welcome change. So would a a few others. First, evacuation plans should be in place BEFORE the restart of a plant.

    Second, clear and viable plans should be established for the transfer of spent nuclear fuel to dry cement casks rather than open ended plans to store this material in pools of water.

    Third, earthquake faults near existing plants should be re-assessed to determine their potency. Many plants sit on or near faults that are larger/more powerful than was thought when the plant was built. What have the owners done or what must they do to improve safety in that respect?