“Japan wants to learn from Switzerland”

A high-ranking representative of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has visited the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) in Brugg to obtain information about the legal provisions on maintaining and continuously improving the safety of nuclear power plants in Switzerland. The focus was on Periodic Safety Reviews (PSR) and on the backfitting obligation.

Toyoshi Fuketa, Commissioner of the Japanese NRA and ENSI Director General Hans Wanner.
Toyoshi Fuketa, Commissioner of the Japanese NRA and ENSI Director General Hans Wanner.

“Switzerland’s PSR standards have an excellent reputation at international level,” comments Toyoshi Fuketa, Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) – the regulatory authority for nuclear safety in Japan. “Good PSR practice means high quality in supervisory activities,” he notes.

He added that Japan wants to learn from Switzerland as regards the continuous improvement of safety in nuclear power plants. In Switzerland, both PSRs and the backfitting obligation for nuclear power plants have already been established in law for a long time. For these reasons, Mr Fuketa engaged in discussions with ENSI’s representatives and visited the Beznau nuclear power plant to gain a first-hand impression of its practical implementation.

ENSI’s Director General Hans Wanner points out: “We are convinced that PSRs and the backfitting obligation contribute significantly to a high level of safety. For this reason, we are endeavouring to ensure that these practices become standard at international level and we are glad to provide explanations in this regard.”

The present-day Japanese regulatory authority was created as a new entity in 2012 after its predecessor organisation was sharply criticised following the reactor accident at Fukushima. It was accused of not being sufficiently independent. Independence has been increased by the formation of the new supervisory authority.