19 Juin 2012
A new nuclear power regulatory commission to be founded by reorganizing the government's nuclear power regulatory bodies will be headed by a nuclear reactor expert, nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono said.
Hosono told a House of Councillors Environment Committee session on June 18 that an expert in nuclear reactors should be appointed as chairman of the new regulatory body because its head will be authorized to decide on responses to emergency situations at nuclear plants solely at their own discretion.
The government is required to submit a plan to appoint five members of the commission to the Diet and gain endorsement.
Hosono told the Diet committee that he intends to name experts on nuclear reactors, earthquakes and prevention of exposure to radiation as members of the panel. "It's necessary to utilize a wide diversity of expertise. At least experts in three fields -- nuclear reactors, earthquakes and protection of people from being exposed to radiation -- should join the commission."
The upper house's Environment Committee began deliberations on a bill to set up the nuclear power regulatory commission on June 18.
Yukio Ubukata, a ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) member of the House of Representatives and one of the sponsors of the bill, told the upper house panel that candidates for regulatory commission members should disclose any donations they have received from nuclear plant operators.
"They should disclose their receipt of such donations before the Diet approves their appointments," he said, adding that those who deliberately cover up such donations could be dismissed.
Ubukata also said guidelines for selecting regulatory commission members will be mapped out before appointing its first members.