Socialist Worker

Cameron ‘relaxed’ nuclear safety checks

Issue No. 2243

The British and Japanese governments are making nuclear power more unsafe.

Japan changed nuclear inspection rules in 2009 to let nuclear plants run for up to two years without any inspection. It also wants to cut the length of time that inspections take.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the Fukushima nuclear plant, announced in January that it wants to extend intervals between inspections at its No 3 reactor—the one that exploded this week.

Japan’s government wants more nuclear plants. Diabolically, it uses climate change as an excuse to increase nuclear power, because nuclear power is wrongly classed as emitting low levels of carbon.

Meanwhile, David Cameron still plans to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear reactors in Britain to replace older plants that are due to be ­decommissioned.

They will be less safe. The government is privatising safety inspections for the nuclear industry as well as responsibility for the safety of transporting nuclear waste.

A new company, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, will regulate the nuclear power industry, as opposed to the Health and Safety Executive, from April—without any vote in parliament.

The nuclear industry will fund the new company—meaning that the industry will be left to “inspect” itself.

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