JAPAN | Nuke regulation inadequate, admits sacked NISA chief

Posted on August 12, 2011

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JAPAN | JAPAN TIMES | 12 August 2011

The Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant crisis showed regulations are inadequate, sacked Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency chief Nobuaki Terasaka said, but he insisted he did his best to deal with the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

News photo
Nobuaki Terasaka

At his last new conference Wednesday before he officially leaves the post Friday, Terasaka admitted “not enough” had been done in some respects, while there “may have been other ways” to respond to the crisis. But he did not elaborate, saying the government’s accident investigation committee is looking into the cause of the incident triggered by the March 11 megaquake and tsunami.

“We have done our best to respond to the accident since March 11 in the face of various criticism. The evaluation (of our response) should be conducted elsewhere,” said Terasaka.

As NISA is under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Terasaka has become the third top METI official to be effectively fired over the handling of the crisis. He will be replaced Friday by Hiroyuki Fukano, METI’s director general for commerce and distribution policy.

METI and NISA have been under fire since the crisis started over such issues as delayed public announcements, power supply problems and alleged attempts to manipulate public opinion to show support for nuclear power.

It was unclear how Terasaka felt about being sacked, as he said only that he heard industry minister Banri Kaieda wanted to refresh the leadership to deal with issues concerning nuclear safety regulations. Terasaka only said he “accepted the story as it is.”

But Terasaka did say he was aware of the possibility that reactor fuel had been damaged “in some way” on March 12. The government admitted in June three reactors had suffered meltdowns.

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