The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that Japan “had strengthened inspections” as a team of experts from the U.N. nuclear watchdog wound up an eight-day trip to assess the regulatory framework for nuclear and radiation safety in the country.
Among the achievements of the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority was the establishment of a beefed-up inspection program, including “the right to carry out unannounced inspections at any time,” the team said in its report.
But team leader Ramzi Jammal told a news conference in Tokyo that the NRA needs to increase interaction with the nuclear industry to proactively obtain safety information so it can propose improvements.
The visit by the IAEA team was requested by the NRA, which was set up in 2012 to oversee stricter regulations after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The agency conducted an initial assessment four years ago.
The report by the team of 18 nuclear experts said the NRA needs to strengthen “regulatory oversight of radiation protection for workers” and improve “exercises to test emergency response arrangements for the transportation of radioactive material.” The team’s final report will be released in about three months.
“It is an honor that our nuclear inspection system, which we have been trying to improve, has been recognized positively. We will put more effort into implementing what is necessary,” NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said at the news conference.