A third-party panel of nuclear experts gathered by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) recommends the creation of an independent but in-house supervising body and the appointment of “risk communicators” to advise management as some measures they should adapt to avoid a repeat of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown, the worst since Chernobyl.
The panel also took TEPCO to task, saying that the blame cannot be solely placed on the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, but the extent of the nuclear accident could have been lessened if the company was prepared for such an occurrence. They criticized TEPCO for putting economic efficiency over risk management. Because of their reluctance to disclose risks about nuclear power plants to external advisers, the proposed “risk communicators” would be there to provide assessment and advice to the management and nuclear division chiefs.
The panel head Dale Klein said that the company has acknowledged their culpability in the accident that caused the evacuation of more than 160,000 residents. He also gave the assurance that the members of the panel will continually watch TEPCO as they take these steps towards a massive reform of their system.
Some people view the formation of the panel as part of TEPCO’s campaign to convince the authorities and the public to reopen ts Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant along the Japan Sea coast in Niigata prefecture. But TEPCO President Naomi Hirose denied this and said that they are committed to carry out drastic reforms to make sure Fukushima will never happen again. He said that if they fail to do this, then they lose the right to operate any nuclear plant.
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