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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 28 - June 3  > Abe aims to replace NRA members with nuclear power-related nominee
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2014 May 28 - June 3 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Abe aims to replace NRA members with nuclear power-related nominee

June 1, 2014
The Abe government on May 27 announced a proposal to replace two members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) whose term is to end in September. That proposal clearly reflects the administration’s stance to reactivate offline nuclear reactors in Japan as soon as possible.

Members of the NRA are required to have neither worked for nuclear energy businesses nor received a designated amount of money from those businesses during a period of three years before assuming the post.

Tokyo University Professor Tanaka Satoru, one of the two nominees to be NRA members, however, served as a director of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum consisting of nuclear reactor makers and power companies from 2011 to 2012. In 2011, he received a reward amounting to more than 500,000 yen from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. He also got 1.1 million yen in the same year in “research grants” from nuclear reactor manufacturers such as the Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy.

According to the materials Akahata obtained through information disclosure requests, Tanaka received donations totaling four million yen from nuclear power-related entities between 2006 and 2010.

On top of that, the pro-nuclear-energy researcher insisted that atomic power generation “should be maintained on a scale similar to before” in the Economy Ministry’s energy committee meeting in November 2011.

The government proposal has provoked strong criticisms from the general public, as “smoothing the way for placing nuclear reactors online” and “undermining the neutrality of the regulatory organ”.

The NRA was established as an external bureau of the Environment Ministry following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. It is composed of five members and the persons nominated to become members are subject to Diet approval.

An association of Diet members seeking a zero-nuke society, including the Japanese Communist Party, made representations to the administration on May 30, demanding the withdrawal of the nominations.

Past related article:
> Nuclear regulatory experts receive donations from nuclear power industries [November 7, 2012]
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