Japan Reviews Atomic Energy Administration

Japan will carry out a drastic review of its atomic energy administration, including talks on possible reorganization of administrative bodies, in response to the ongoing nuclear disaster, informed sources said Wednesday.

Japan will thoroughly analyze why Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> and the industry ministry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency acted slowly in their initial responses to the quake-triggered disaster at the firm’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, said sources close to the government and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

Members of Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government increasingly take the view that nuclear safety measures may have been relatively neglected because divisions with the contradictory objectives of promoting the commercial use of atomic energy and regulating such businesses existed in the same organization, which is the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the sources said.
Japan will thus consider making the nuclear safety agency independent from the ministry, they said.

The agency focuses primarily on regulatory measures to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants, including the granting of permits to establish nuclear plants and regulating nuclear facility safety checks.

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