Library |

Establishment of Nuclear Safety Network (NS-Net)


January 2000
The Federation of Electric Power Companies

The electric power companies were greatly concerned with the occurrence of the nuclear criticality accident at JCO Co.'s uranium reconversion facility. The accident was truly regrettable, and the companies, although they have no ownership or management relations with JCO, are determined to take substantial actions to prevent a similar incident in the future.

The nuclear industry consists of numerous companies, whose activities range from the manufacture of components and processing of nuclear fuel to the management and disposal of waste. A lack of safety in any part of the business leads to a loss of public trust in the nuclear industry as a whole, and hinders the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in Japan.

As the cause of the accident became evident, the electric power companies strongly believed that all companies in the nuclear industry should enhance the safety culture across the industry.
With the leadership of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, the Nuclear Safety Network, or NS-Net, was established as an organization for companies and research institutes in the industry to evaluate each other's activities and exchange views on an equal footing.

The electric power companies want to share their safety culture and know-how on safety enhancement with the entire nuclear industry. The companies will share their experience in the construction, maintenance, and operation of nuclear power plants and, at the same time, hope to learn more from other industries and companies.

The goal is that NS-Net activities will contribute to an improvement in the level of safety of the entire nuclear industry and bolster public trust in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy in Japan.

Nuclear Safety Network (NS-Net) (Established December 9, 1999)

1. Nuclear Safety Network Secretariat

Otemachi Building, 1-6-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004

2. Organization

An autonomous non-governmental organization in which corporations, research institutes and other organizations related to the nuclear industry voluntarily participate.

3. Inaugural Members

Thirty-five corporations, research institutes and other organizations involved in the nuclear fuel cycle participated in the establishment of the Nuclear Safety Network.

4. Programs

(A) Enhancement of Nuclear Safety Culture

  • To hold seminars on nuclear safety intended to promote and enhance a safety culture among members.
  • To support member organizations in educating and training executives, managers and workers of member organizations on nuclear safety and work ethics.
  • To disseminate information on nuclear safety through its own internet home page and publications.

(B) Peer Review

  • Modeled after the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO)'s Peer Review, the team consists of specialists from member organizations who will review the facilities of members.
  • The review program will start at organizations that use nuclear fuel or radioactive materials, and all operating facilities will be visited approximately once every two years.

(C) Shared Experiences

  • To enhance the sharing of experiences among the members, NS-Net will provide a common database to the members and encourage them to report any breach of safety, as well as good practices.
  • To conduct sole analysis of the human factor related problems and to support member organizations in the enhancement of their human factor programs.

5. Steering Committee

The operational activities of NS-Net will be monitored and evaluated by an independent steering committee. The committee will consist of five to six members such as scholars, critics and media representatives.

NS-Net Image

Inaugural Members (35 Organizations)

Electricity Organizations:
Hokkaido Electric Power Co.
Tohoku Electric Power Co.
Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Chubu Electric Power Co.
Hokuriku Electric Power Co.
Kansai Electric Power Co.
Chugoku Electric Power Co.
Shikoku Electric Power Co.
Kyushu Electric Power Co.
Japan Atomic Power Co., Ltd.
Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited
Nuclear Fuel Transport Co., Ltd.
Laser Atomic Separation Engineering
Research Association of Japan

Fuel processing organizations:
Nuclear Fuel Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Co., Ltd.
Japan Nuclear Fuel Co.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp.
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co.
JCO Co., Ltd.

Plant manufacturers:
Toshiba Corp.
Hitachi, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co.
Fuji Electric Co.
Sumitomo Atomic Energy Industries, Ltd.
Nippon Nuclear Fuel Development Co., Ltd.

Nuclear Development Corp.
Kobe Steel, Ltd.
Hitachi Zosen Corp.
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Research organizations:
Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute
Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry
Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute

*What is Safety Culture?

Safety culture means a corporate culture in which safety is paramount among all business practices of for-profit corporations. NS-Net will try to enhance the safety culture among members through seminars, education support, peer review, and sharing experiences.

*What is Peer Review?

Peer review is the evaluation by other member organizations that provides opportunities to learn from their practices. Peer review allows for constructive criticism from which both the members conducting the review and the member being reviewed can benefit.

Nuclear Accident at JCO

At approximately 10:35 A.M. on September 30, 1999, a nuclear accident reaching criticality occurred at the Tokai plant of JCO Co. as an 18.8% uranium solution was being poured into a precipitation tank. The accident exposed 69 people to radiation, including the three JCO workers in the immediate vicinity, 56 other employees of JCO and affiliated companies, seven workers at an adjoining construction site and three fire fighters.
Recognizing the severity of the accident, the government established an emergency task force led by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and comprising related cabinet members. The local governments of Tokai-mura and Ibaraki Prefecture evacuated residents living within 350 meters of the plant and cautioned those living within 10 km of the plant to stay indoors.

This was a serious accident in which the life of a worker was lost and many employees and local people were exposed to radiation. It was not, however, comparable to the Chernobyl accident in which large amounts of radioactivity in the surrounding area contaminated the soil leaving long-term effects.

Based on the results of government studies as to what caused the accident and the measures taken, the electric power industry is prepared to implement thorough safety control measures to restore public trust in nuclear power.

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan
Keidanren Kaikan 9-4, Otemachi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8118, Japan