Japan nuclear power industry set to initiate safety checks
Companies that rank high on 5-point scale will be rewarded
TOKYO -- A Japanese power industry group will soon begin rating utilities' nuclear operations on a five-point safety scale, providing a safety assessment separate from government standards to rebuild public trust in nuclear power.
The Japan Nuclear Safety Institute will rate members such as Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, Kansai Electric Power and Japan Atomic Power based on inspections of nuclear facilities' operations and management beginning in the fiscal that starts in April.
High marks will reduce the annual dues members pay to the group, which range in the hundreds of millions of yen, or millions of dollars, for major power companies. The institute plans to work with insurers to lower premiums for high scorers. Results of the inspections will not be made public.
Nearly six years after the March 2011 disaster at Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Japanese public remains deeply distrustful of nuclear power. Little progress has been made in bringing reactors back online, due in part to stiff local opposition. The Japan Nuclear Safety Institute hopes its own efforts will help allay public fears. Industry-led standards have helped make nuclear plants safer in the U.S. and elsewhere.