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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

First meeting of TEPCO's reform committee

October 13, 2012


TEPCO convenes N-reform panel



Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s nuclear reform committee, a third-party group tasked with reexamining the causes of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and proposing safety measures, held its first meeting Friday at the company's head office in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Dale Klein, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is chairing the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee formed by the struggling utility.

At the meeting, Klein said that since nuclear power will continue to play a role in the world's energy supply, TEPCO needs to implement drastic reforms.

TEPCO aims to compile a reform plan for its nuclear energy division, which was responsible for exacerbating the situation during the Fukushima accident, by the end of the year.

At the meeting, a TEPCO official said the reforms would not be limited in subject or scope.

The committee's five members also include Barbara Judge, former chair of Britain's Atomic Energy Authority, and Kenichi Ohmae, a business consultant who previously worked as a nuclear engineer at Hitachi Ltd.

The committee is to propose safety measures for nuclear power plants and will monitor whether the plan is properly implemented.

It is rare for a nuclear energy division at a power company, a type of business usually seen as quite insular, to reflect the opinions of outsiders in its operations.

TEPCO hopes the reform plan will allow it to resume operations at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, which the company sees as key to its rehabilitation.

(Oct. 13, 2012)



Former US NRC chairman urges TEPCO reform



Former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Dale Klein says Tokyo Electric Power Company will not be able to sustain itself without reforming its management. The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has come under criticism since the accident in March of last year.

Klein spoke to NHK on Friday after the first meeting of a panel of outside experts set up by TEPCO to improve nuclear safety and corporate management. Klein is the head of the 5-member panel.

Klein said prior to the accident, TEPCO had become overly confident and did not question the safety of its nuclear plants. He said the company was apparently underestimating the power of nature.

Klein said the new third-party panel is proof that TEPCO recognizes the need for reform. He said management acknowledges that the company cannot continue without reform. He urged all employees to share that awareness.

At Friday's meeting, TEPCO presented to the panel a basic reform plan drafted by an in-house team. It admitted for the first time that it failed to take stronger measures to protect the Fukushima Daiichi plant from tsunami. The utility said it will carry out reform with no sanctuaries.

Prior to the meeting, Klein visited the Fukushima Daiichi plant and checked mainly the Number 4 reactor, which is feared to develop problems in the event of another earthquake.

Klein said based on his observation of the reactor's fuel pool and available information, he thinks the building is safe and can withstand quakes.

Klein said widespread uncertainly about the pool among the Japanese public was caused by early misinformation that it had no water inside.

He said once incorrect information is out, it makes it difficult for a company to establish confidence even when the information is later proven to be wrong.

Klein added that TEPCO should undergo investigation by an external body, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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