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NRA to study possible volcano eruptions

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Japan's nuclear regulator is set to work on criteria for determining levels of volcanic eruptions that would affect nuclear power operations.

The Nuclear Regulatory Authority, or NRA, requires nuclear power plant operators to take specific measures if volcanic activity could affect operations. The measures include removing nuclear fuel from the facilities.

The NRA held a meeting on Tuesday with volcanologists to discuss how to deal with what might be seen as signs of massive volcanic eruptions.

NRA officials pointed out the need for the authority to fulfill its responsibility to determine unusual phenomena as signs of volcanic eruptions.
One of the volcanologists said the nuclear regulator or utilities alone cannot determine any such signs, stressing the need for cooperation with local volcanic observatories and government agencies.

Another expert said criteria should be established on multiple items so that they can be implemented in an uncompromising manner.

NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki said it's necessary to formulate new criteria by reflecting the latest achievements in studies on volcanic activity.

The regulators agreed to consider concrete criteria to be established in about a year.

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