The utility operator and the nuclear watchdog may be the two groups that can best discuss the issues at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, but apparently, it’s rare for their heads to meet in person. Monday was one of those rare meetings between Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose and Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Shunichi Tanaka as they discussed further steps to stem the problems at the damaged plant.
Tanaka told Hirose he needs “frank opinions” from the TEPCO head at the beginning of their meeting in order to resolve the ongoing issues facing the plant as they continue with the decontamination process. What’s more, the outcome of this meeting may very well have an effect on the ongoing NRA checks at TEPCO’s offline reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture. The problems that have beset the Fukushima clean-up have caused concerns with the NRA commissioners over whether TEPCO can even adequately manage the plant and ensure the safety of the workers and the reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
TEPCO has already submitted an analysis of the problems at Fukushima, including the contaminated water spills, as well as preventive measures for further incidents, but the NRA is reportedly “unimpressed.” The meeting, except for the beginning, was opened to the media as the NRA wants “frank discussions” and transparency, which was one of the public criticisms about the way the government and the nuclear operators used to work.