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NRA mulls surprise inspections

August 4, 2016

Nuclear regulator may do surprise inspections





Japan's nuclear regulator is working on a plan to introduce surprise inspections at nuclear power stations so that safety checks are more effective and flexible.

A project team of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, presented a draft for the reform plan at its meeting on Thursday.

The effort is a response to a January recommendation from the International Atomic Energy Agency about Japan's plant inspection system.

The NRA currently conducts inspections according to a schedule and check lists set by law.

The proposed change would allow the NRA greater flexibility. Its inspectors would be able to check a wider range of safety issues at plants.

They would be also able to conduct inspections without telling an operator when and what they would inspect.

The change would also allow inspectors to focus on high risk items based on what they noticed at each plant as well as their analysis of particular difficulties each plant faces.

The NRA is also considering reviewing current regular inspections, which are conducted every 13 months at each reactor, taking them offline. The current law does not provide the NRA with criteria to judge whether the plant passed or failed the check. The team is studying whether to give the NRA this power.

The NRA says the project team will work out its proposal by the end of this month. It is hoping to introduce a new inspection system in 2020.


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