Three internal review documents of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which are conspicuously blacked out, in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on March 3.

February 3, 2023
On February 3, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), released documents on its review process in response to the issue of undisclosed information exchange between the NRA and officials of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) over the review of nuclear power plant operation periods. The Agency did not disclose any of the materials it had provided to the Regulation Authority, and most of the internal review materials were “blacked out” with only three pages. The Agency’s backward-looking attitude toward information disclosure was conspicuous, and it was not clear whether the views of the Agency, which promotes nuclear power generation, had any influence on the regulatory system.
◆The Regulatory Agency reiterated that it had “exhausted all necessary explanations.
 What was made public was the status of internal studies at the Regulatory Agency for reviewing the operating period, which was stipulated to be “40 years in principle, with a maximum of 60 years. Although the Regulatory Agency received from the Ene Agency an imaginary diagram of the revision of the law and other materials, it did not disclose any of the materials prepared by the Ene Agency, saying that the Ene Agency, the preparer, should decide whether or not to disclose the information.
Although the Regulatory Agency’s internal study materials were believed to envision multiple patterns of legal revision related to the operation period and describe the advantages and challenges of each, the majority of the materials were not disclosed. At the press conference, Yoichiro Kurokawa, director of the Regulatory Agency’s General Affairs Division, explained, “The documents contain the views of the person who prepared them and are far removed from the views of the organization, so disclosing them would cause confusion among the public.
 When asked by the media about the content of the blacked-out section, Mr. Kurokawa stated that in the section on the advantages of the proposed amendment of the articles to the minimum necessary, it was stated that “on the surface of the text, it looks almost unchanged,” and added, “In the first place, since we are changing the regulations for the operation period, it is inappropriate to say that ‘almost unchanged’ is the case. There were expressions that seemed embarrassing, and we determined that it was not appropriate to disclose them.”
 At the press conference, a number of people pointed out that the disclosure was insufficient, but Section Chief Kurokawa reiterated that “we have done all the necessary explanations.
 Before the Regulatory Commission ordered a review of the regulatory system regarding the operation period in October of last year, the Regulatory Agency had met with EneAgency officials at least seven times between July and September to exchange information. (Nozomi Masui)