JCP proposes 5-point emergency steps to ensure nuclear reactor safety

To urgently ensure safety of the people against a series of cover-ups of defects in nuclear reactors by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. and other electric power companies, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on September 23 published a 5-point JCP proposal.

Shii said that the covered-up defects took place in the crucial components of reactors such as pipes of cooling water and the shroud of the reactor. The damage in such crucial components could have caused such severe accidents as the leak of radioactive coolant or even a meltdown, the JCP chair pointed out.

He said the electric power companies and the government are seriously responsible for keeping the secrecy of the defects for many years.

The JCP proposal consists of the following points:

(1) Thorough examination of the entire cover-up should be carried out by a third-party body;

(2) An independent body for nuclear energy regulation should be established to ensure safety;

(3) The government should end the dangerous policy of using plutonium as recirculated fuel;

(4) A complete checkup should be made on the existing nuclear fuel recirculation facilities, and plans for new facilities should be withdrawn; and

(5) The government should fundamentally rethink its policy of increasing nuclear power plants.

As regards the need for an independent body for nuclear energy regulation, Shii referred to the inability of the Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to examine safety, although it made on-the-spot inspections on the rectors every year.

Shii added that the agency did not just overlook the defects but acted to belittle safety by studying to relax the safety standards for reactors to enable them to stay in operation even with a crack up to half the thickness of the shroud. Shii said that the agency fails in its safety function because it is part of the ministry designed to promote the government's policy of increasing nuclear energy generation.

Shii in the press conference said that the JCP will submit the proposal to the government and discuss the cover-up in the Diet. (end)