Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency Requested That Chubu Electric Power Fill Seats and Plant Questions at Public Forum About Company’s Nuclear MOX Project

Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency Requested That Chubu Electric Power Fill Seats and Plant Questions at Public Forum About Company’s Nuclear MOX Project
Yomiuri Shimbun: 保安院、中電にやらせ質問要請…社員に強制せず
2:02 PM July 29, 2011

Chubu Electric Power Company, at the request of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), requested its own employees and business partners attend a federally sponsored public forum about the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant’s MOX Project in August 2007 so that the audience would not be unanimously opposed to the project, according to an internal investigation by the Ministry of Trade, Economy, and Industry whose results were announced on the 29th.

The company says it “did not compel its employees to express a particular opinion,” and it refused to use questions NISA planted in the audience. Since NISA is a nuclear power regulator, the news that it was trying to tilt an open forum in favor of nuclear development is likely to provoke controversy.

After the investigators uncovered a staged email question about reactors 2 and 3 of Kyushu Electric Power’s Genkai Nuclear Power Plant (Genkai, Saga Prefecture), it requested a response from the power company by the 29th. According to Chubu Electric Power, before the symposium on August 26, 2007, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told the company (1) to recruit attendees so there wouldn’t be a noticeable number of empty seats, (2) to prepare questions in advance for citizens in the crowd to ask so the Q&A session would not be dominated by people opposeed to the project. The company called for employees, affiliated companies, and locals to attend but said it was “a voluntary decision, and the company would not use a numerical quota or name registry to enforce attendance.”

NISA and the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy planned the symposium to explain the safety of the MOX project. According to the company, about 150 of the 524 people in attendance were its own employees, and it does not know how many of the rest were members of business affiliates. A questionnaire was given asking the attendees about the necessity of the MOX project, and 80% of the responses were positive (“I understand” or “I mostly understand”). At a press conference at company headquarters, Legal Division Chief Shūichi Terata said, “Our biggest goal was to make sure there wouldn’t be a noticeable number of empty seats. We weren’t planning to make a show of the questionnaire results.”

Nuclear Disaster Response Auditor Yoshinori Moriyama, who was the Chief Nuclear Power Safety Inspector when he attended the forum and who spoke for NISA at today’s press conference, said “I don’t recall [our organization making those requests to the company]. If it did happen, it shouldn’t have.”

Original/原稿:
保安院、中電にやらせ質問要請…社員に強制せず

 中部電力は29日、2007年8月に、国主催で静岡県御前崎市で開催された浜岡原子力発電所のプルサーマル計画に関するシンポジウムで、質問がプルサーマル反対派一色になるのを避けようと、経済産業省原子力安全・保安院の依頼を受け、同社社員や関連企業などに参加を呼びかけたとの内部調査結果をまとめ、同省に報告した。

 同社は「社員らに特定の意見表明の強制はしなかった」と、やらせ質問の要請は断ったとしているが、原子力規制側の保安院が、推進側の世論誘導にかかわっていたことを示すもので、今後、論議を呼びそうだ。

 調査は、九州電力玄海原子力発電所(佐賀県玄海町)2、3号機の再稼働を巡る「やらせメール」問題を受け、同省が29日までに各電力に回答を求めていたもの。中部電力の発表によると、8月26日のシンポの前に保安院から、〈1〉会場の空席が目立たないように参加者を集める〈2〉質問が反対派のみにならないよう質問を作成し、地元の人に質問してもらう――との口頭依頼があった。同社は、社員、関連企業、地元に参加を呼びかけたものの「任意の呼びかけで参加人数の割り当てや参加報告などの強制的な方法はとっていない」とした。

 シンポは、保安院や資源エネルギー庁などが企画し、プルサーマル発電の安全性が説明された。同社によると、参加者は524人で、このうち同社社員は150人前後だった。関連企業の参加者は把握していないという。シンポではプルサーマルの必要性などに関するアンケートを実施。「理解できた」「だいたい理解できた」との肯定的な回答が8割を占めたが、同社本店で記者会見した寺田修一法務部長は、「参加の呼びかけは空席が目立つと良くないとの目的が大きい。アンケートをよく見せようという意図はない」と述べた。

 シンポに、当時原子力発電安全審査課長として出席し、記者会見でスポークスマンを務める保安院の森山善範・原子力災害対策監は「(保安院からの依頼は)記憶していない。あってはならないこと」と話した。

(2011年7月29日14時02分 読売新聞)

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