IAEA: Japan nuclear regulation should improve skills, law

TOKYO (AP) — A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan's nuclear safety regulation has improved since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, but it still needs to strengthen inspections and staff competency. It's the first IAEA review for the authority since it was...

 
              Philippe Jamet, left, commissioner of France Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission team leader and Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka attend a press conference in Tokyo, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan’s nuclear safety regulation has improved since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, but it still needs to strengthen inspections and staff competency. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency says Japan's nuclear safety regulation has improved since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, but it still needs to strengthen inspections and staff competency.

It's the first IAEA review for the authority since it was established in 2012. Japan adopted stricter safety requirement for plant operators, but the law stipulating on-site inspections has remained unchanged.

The 17-member team, which concluded a 12-day inspection that included the wrecked Fukushima plant, said Friday that Japan's regulatory body demonstrated independence and transparency — crucial elements lacking before the disaster, when a separate agency was in charge.

The team urged the Nuclear Regulation Authority to enhance inspection competence and Japan's government to amend its nuclear safety law to make on-site safety checks more effective and flexible.

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