Two volcanologists tasked with advising on whether nuclear reactors should be halted due to nearby volcanic activity have received ¥8.1 million ($71,000) in donations from utility-linked companies, documents have shown.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority appointed the two, both from Kagoshima University, as part of a six-member panel to check for signs of a major volcanic eruption near Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai plant, which is located in a volcanically active region in Japan's southwest.

The revelation that professor emeritus Tetsuo Kobayashi and professor Hiroki Miyamachi received funds from affiliates of nuclear power plant operators, including Kyushu Electric, may raise suspicions about the panel's decisions, critics said.