Japan’s nuclear regulator rubberstamps restarts before finishing safety reviews

Japan’s nuclear regulator rubberstamps restarts before finishing safety reviews

Tokyo, 20 April 2016 _ Today, Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) took another step toward approving the aged Takahama 1 & 2 reactors for restart by rubber stamping Kansai Electric Power Company’s (KEPCO) restart assessment months before the regulator expects to complete the required safety review for aging reactors. This is the first time that NRA has given a green light to reactors over 40 years old.

The degradation and embrittlement of reactor components due to wear and irradiation increase the risk of a major nuclear accident should safety-related components fail (1), which is why law requires the special review for old reactors.

“Rather than a regulatory watchdog, the NRA has yet again exposed itself as the lapdog of Japan’s nuclear village. Approving the old Takahama 1&2 reactors for restart before it has completed its review of aging-related deterioration on the reactors is beyond irresponsible. It is indefensible, particularly for a country still suffering the ongoing radiological crisis caused by the Fukushima disaster. By their actions today, the NRA moves further down the path of recklessly putting millions of Japanese citizens’ lives and communities at unacceptable nuclear risk,” said Hisayo Takada, Deputy Program Director of Greenpeace Japan.

The restart of the Takahama 1 & 2 reactors is being challenged by a citizens’ lawsuit filed on April 14th. The case argues that the NRA has failed in its responsibility to adequately assess the risks, particularly as they relate to aging-related degradation, thus putting the public at potentially significant risk. It seeks to bar the restart of both reactors. (2)


Hisayo Takada, Deputy Programme Director / Energy Project Leader, Greenpeace Japan, email: hisayo.takada@greenpeace.org, mob: +81 (0)80-6647-8503
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, email: chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, mob: +81 (0) 80-6558-4446