Two new commissioners for Japan's nuclear regulator

16 June 2014

The Japanese Diet has approved the nomination of two new commissioners to join Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in September 2014. The regulator, which was set up in the wake of the Fukushima accident, is headed by a five-member commission.

The nominees: Satoru Tanaka, a nuclear engineering professor at the University of Tokyo and Akira Ishiwatari, a geology professor at Tohoku University, were both recommended by the Japanese government. They are set to replace Kunihiko Shimazaki and Kenzo Oshima, who will leave NRA at the end of their two-year terms.

The upper and lower houses both approved the nomination of the new commissioners in votes on 10 and 11 June, respectively, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF).

However, the nomination of Tanaka has been met with some controversy following local media reports that he has been receiving funding from the nuclear power industry for his academic research. Tanaka was nominated in spite of 2012 guidelines which forbid anyone that has received over ¥500,000 ($5000) from the nuclear industry over a three-year period from becoming a commissioner. The Japan Times reported that Tanaka has received some ¥10 million from nuclear-related entities over the past decade, including at least ¥1.6 million in the year to March 2012.

The upper house votes were 133 to 105 for Tanaka, and 156 to 83 for Ishiwatari.


Photo: Akira Ishiwatari (Source: JAIF)

 

 



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