NRA Renames Standards, Did This Change Regulation?

NRA announced that they are changing their “safety standards” to “guidelines”. The reason given by NRA for this is potential public confusion over the terminology used.

A regulatory committee member voiced the concern that calling the guidelines the “New Safety Standards” may lead members of the public to the misunderstanding that following the guidelines ensures the safety of nuclear power plants.”

A guideline usually implies something discretionary and not a mandatory thing in the way a standard is. More on the differences here.

Exactly what NRA is attempting to do with this word change is concerning and not clear. Have they changed the mandatory nature of safety standards to be applied at nuclear plants?

The day before the NRA mentioned they want to make the goal for a nuclear disaster resulting in large releases of radiation to one in a million years per reactor. This is a deviation from the typical nuclear industry accident potential usually expressed in per reactor years spread across all operating reactors in the world. If the NRA has truly changed the mandatory nature of the upcoming safety standards this could have major implications for Japan and how other countries choose to adopt post-Fukushima safety changes.

 

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