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5 February, 2020

Interview with Two Experts: Former UKAEA Chair Says “Political Intentions Exist Behind Unfounded Fears and Rumors”

Atoms in Japan (AIJ) conducted an exclusive interview with two experts during their recent visits to Japan: Lady Barbara Judge, former chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and deputy chairman of the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, an external expert committee monitoring efforts by TEPCO toward nuclear safety reform, and Professor Richard Lester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Saying that “safety culture is nearly sufficient” at TEPCO, Judge expressed her view that the power company had reached the point of being able to operate its nuclear power plants (NPPs) safely. Meanwhile, Lester gave high marks to Japan’s nuclear technology, adding that he expected the country would play an international role in the area of innovation, which could result in resolving global climate change issues. ——To continually improve safety, it is necessary to accumulate results in safe operation. At many NPPs in Japan, however, the national regulatory authority for safety examinations has carried out endless procedures before allowing them to resume operation, creating the current situation in which operational experience and safe operational results cannot be accumulated. Under s...more
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