A new nuclear agency which is more independent and maintains autonomy from the nuclear industry and other promoters of atomic power will be established, officials from the government announced Thursday.
The new nuclear agency shall be strategically placed under the Environment Ministry considering the relationship of environment and nuclear issues, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.
Earlier reports put the current nuclear agency NISA in the middle of criticisms and controversies. NISA has been criticized for its connection with the nuclear industry under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It was also under fire recently for allegedly manipulating discussions and influencing local support to nuclear power by working with electric companies in framing questions in favor of nuclear power during government-sponsored symposiums in 2007.
Following public dissatisfaction and criticism, the head of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, the head of NISA and a vice minister at the trade and industry ministry were fired last week.
During a parliamentary session Thursday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed that the head of the new regulatory nuclear agency should be fully aware of the problems of nuclear power more than being a blind advocate of nuclear safety or promoter of nuclear energy.
Kan, who previously expressed intention to resign from his post, has committed to review Japan’s nuclear regulatory framework and reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy.
The plan to set up the new nuclear agency is scheduled for approval by the parliamentary before its intended launch in April.
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