The IAEA expert mission dispatched to Japan to review the nation's process for assessing safety at existing nuclear power plants has arrived in Tokyo for a nine-day visit. On 23 January, the 10-member team of IAEA and international experts held opening meetings with senior officials from the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO).
Arranged at the request of the Japanese government, the IAEA International Complementary Safety Assessment Review Mission will deliver a preliminary report to Japanese officials at the end of the mission on 31 January. To prepare its report, the team will hold meetings with Japanese officials in Tokyo and conduct a site visit to the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture. The Ohi plant is the first to have completed its response to Japan's safety assessment.
"Our mission really is to look at the approach and methodology that NISA is using. We want to see how Japan is evaluating safety at its nuclear power plants," said IAEA team leader James Lyons, Director of the IAEA's Nuclear Installation Safety Division. "We hope that this review helps to improve nuclear safety both here in Japan and worldwide."
Japan's request for the mission follows the approval of the Nuclear Safety Action Plan by all IAEA Member States in September 2011. The Action Plan defines a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework, and it calls for nations to promptly undertake a national assessment of the design of nuclear power plants against extreme natural hazards and to implement corrective actions as needed.