Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Designated nuclear inspection body has board members from nuclear industry

Nearly half of the board members of the Nuclear Material Control Center (NMCC), the government-designated body to inspect nuclear materials to prevent sensitive materials from being used for military purposes, come from utility and other companies that are subject to its scrutiny and it has received cash contributions worth tens of millions of yen annually from the companies, it has been learned.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which overseas the NMCC, said, "Problems with something like conducting inspections tolerantly have not occurred." But the NMCC is likely to come under fire for having people from companies in the nuclear industry as its executive officers.

NMCC officials accompany inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on their inspections of about 260 facilities such as utility firms and nuclear fuel manufacturers in Japan. They also conduct inspections on consignment from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Of all the 17 board members at the NMCC, eight are from the nuclear industry. Of the 15 executive board members including the chairman, six are current or former senior officials of utility firms or the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). Read More