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17 April, 2015

NRA Chairman Denies Need to Review Regulatory Standards after Provisional Injunction against Takahama NPPs

At a regular press conference on April 15, Chairman Shunichi Tanaka of Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said that since nuclear power plants require strict measures based on the lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi, he did not see any need to review the NRA’s regulatory standards for them.

In contrast, the Fukui District Court, which recently issued a provisional injunction prohibiting the restart of the Takahama-3 and -4 NPPs, owned and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Co., described the standards as “too gentle.”

The NRA chairman emphasized, moreover, that Japanese regulatory standards were “internationally recognized as being the strictest in the world.” He went on to say, “The reason I have repeatedly said that ‘nuclear power is not absolutely safe’ is to demonstrate the NRA’s stance of continuously pursuing safety without falling into the ‘safety myth’ of NPPs. I am sorry that this was not understood.”

He also noted that there were factual mistakes in the Fukui District Court ruling, pointing to the court’s classifying the seismic class of the water supply equipment at the spent fuel pool court as “B,” rather than the highest class of “S,” which it actually is.

Regarding the NRA’s future examinations of the Takahama reactors, Tanaka said that the district court’s decision would not affect the NRA’s administrative procedures. He added that the NRA would proceed to the point of inspection — the step prior to restarting the reactors.

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