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

Promise of neutrality

July 4, 2012


Nuclear watchdog to bar industry insiders




The government said Tuesday it will not allow people who have worked for nuclear power plant operators or related organizations over the past three years to join the new atomic regulatory commission.


People who have received around ¥500,000 annually in remuneration from the same nuclear plant operator over the past three years will also not be selected, nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono said in announcing the qualifications for commission members to ensure the entity's neutrality.

The two requirements are not stipulated in the recently enacted law that authorizes the creation of the new nuclear regulatory body, but the government added the "strict criteria" because its handling of regulations has come under scrutiny since the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Hosono said.

"Based on the qualifications, we will narrow the number of appropriate people," he added.

Related organizations could include nuclear reactor makers, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan and the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry. Lecture fees and payments for writing are considered remuneration.

To ensure transparency, people chosen as commissioners will be asked to disclose the amount of donations they have received in the past three years and the source of the money.

They will also be required to report the number of their students who have found jobs with nuclear plant operators.

The government plans to launch the regulatory authority by September, replacing the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which is part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, a promoter of nuclear power.

The appointments of chairman and four commissioners of the new regulatory body will need Diet approval.

Looking for more money

Government spending on reconstruction work related to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami over the next five years will likely exceed the ¥19 trillion originally planned, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Tuesday, indicating the need for a supplementary budget.

The spending plan, officials said, can be raised to more than ¥20 trillion to offer more grants to affected local governments and help handle the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

"In a period between the second half of this year and next year, we are likely to face a situation in which we cannot avoid spending beyond the ¥19 trillion framework," Azumi said. "We must consider measures to deal with this development."

He said the government can use ¥1.98 trillion in surplus funds carried over from fiscal 2011 budgets. "We will discuss (whether to formulate) a supplementary budget," he added.

A year ago, the government said it would spend around ¥19 trillion on the five-year reconstruction program and an additional ¥4 trillion over the following five years, with the framework subject to revision.



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