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TEPCO must first focus on Fukushima, says NRA

October 2, 2013



NRA members critical of TEPCO



Japan's nuclear regulator has decided to begin its assessment of the safety of 2 reactors at one of the plants operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company.

However, in reaching the decision at a meeting on Wednesday, members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority also criticized TEPCO for its handling of the situation at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.

TEPCO last week applied for the safety screening of 2 of the reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture. The screening is required before the idle reactors can be restarted.

At Wednesday's meeting, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said the regulator will proceed with the safety screening at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa but indicated that it will watch over TEPCO's handling of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Tanaka stressed that the issue of radioactive water leaks must be strictly dealt with.

NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa also said TEPCO must first focus on resolving the tainted water problem and reducing risk at the Fukushima plant. He said the Fukushima plant and the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant cannot be treated as 2 different matters.

Commissioner Kayoko Nakamura said she was surprised that TEPCO made the application for the safety screening.

She said she does not think TEPCO has sufficient knowledge of radioactive materials, in apparent reference to the company's handling of the situation at the Fukushima plant. Nakamura said she doubts if the authority can tell local residents that the reactors in question at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant are safe.

TEPCO is one of 5 power companies which have applied for the screening of a total of 14 reactors. At present, all of Japan's 50 reactors have been taken offline, mostly for inspections.



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