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Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012

NISA successor to debut Sept. 19


Staff writer

The government said Tuesday it will launch the new nuclear regulatory commission on Sept. 19, taking the extraordinary step of sidestepping the Diet's endorsement of its five appointees as commissioners because numerous lawmakers don't approve of them.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the commission's predecessor, has been heavily criticized for its apparent inability to either prevent or cope with the Fukushima crisis and for its vested interests in the nuclear industry.

Opponents of nuclear power and many lawmakers have argued that some of the five picks to what will be the Nuclear Regulation Authority have had close ties with the nuclear industry and are not qualified to run what should be a highly independent watchdog.

The government decided to invoke an article in a related law that allows the prime minster to appoint commissioners when the Diet is in recess.

Shunichi Tanaka, who will head the new body, vowed Tuesday to address a number of daunting challenges, including decommissioning the reactors at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, compensating Fukushima evacuees and checking and ensuring the safety of idled reactors nationwide.

"The new body has to start tackling very important challenges, and some work needs to be started as soon as possible. I will make utmost efforts and would like people to judge (me) based on the results," Tanaka said.



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The Japan Times

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