Japan announced its intention to create an independent nuclear agency, breaking up the ministry that both promotes and regulates atomic energy.

Japan_Map_CroppedTOKYO — Facing widespread criticism for its handling of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Japanese government announced its intention to create an independent nuclear agency, breaking up the ministry that both promotes and regulates atomic energy.

The decision to separate the regulator (the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, or NISA) from the promoter (the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, or METI) came as part of a government report that calls for several major overhauls in the way Japan operates its nuclear plants and provides information about the ongoing crisis. Previously, NISA was a subdivision of METI , an arrangement that critics say contributed to lax oversight of nuclear safety in Japan.

The report is at once a pointed self-critique and a pledge to learn from mistakes. Many of its admissions are familiar, echoing assessments by international agencies and outside experts. But the report also lends insight into the jumbled initial response, which was characterized by poor communication between the government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., as well as among government agencies. It was unclear, the report says, exactly who had ultimate authority for nuclear safety.

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Source: Chico Harlan | The Washington Post