Japanese utilities strengthen co-operation

23 April 2016

Four of Japan's electric power companies - Chugoku, Kansai, Kyushu and Shikoku - have agreed to extend cooperation in responding to nuclear emergencies as well as in the decommissioning of reactors. In a joint statement on 22 April, the utilities said they would cooperate in "enhancing the effectiveness of the Cooperation Agreement Between Nuclear Operators for Nuclear Emergencies", which was signed by Japan's ten electric power companies, Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited and the Japan Electric Power Development Corporation (J-Power) in October 2014.

The four companies, which operate in neighbouring areas, said they would "make the most of their geographical proximity" to help each other respond to a nuclear emergency. In addition to the existing cooperation agreement, the utilities have agreed to dispatch an additional 100-200 staff to help in the response and recovery following an accident at a nuclear facility. They will also assist in environmental radiation monitoring as well as in making radiation dose measurements of people evacuated from affected areas.

The utilities have also agreed to increase the amount of equipment and materials - such has heavy equipment for removing debris and protective clothing - that they will provide to each other under the existing cooperation agreement. In addition, they have agreed to provide advice to an affected company via video conference in the event of a nuclear accident. They will all participate in emergency drills that they each regularly conduct at their nuclear facilities.

The companies will cooperate in establishing emergency response centres and will consider "unifying" the specifications of these facilities and sharing information related to them. Under the new agreement, they are to consider "technical and procuring cooperation" and sharing information related to decommissioning. "We will do everything possible to further ensure the stability and reliability of nuclear power operation as responsible operators," they said.

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