TOKYO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Japan set up the Nuclear Regulation Authority here Wednesday, seeking to restore shattered public confidence in nuclear oversight following the Fukushima disaster triggered by March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, an independent organization led by radiation physicist Shunichi Tanaka, will play a crucial role in enforcing tougher rules the government has announced to introduce, such as limiting the operation of reactors to 40 years and requiring utilities to apply the latest scientific findings to existing facilities.
The authority is also tasked with drafting criteria for restarting reactors, many of which have been closed amid heightened public concerns over their safety in the wake of the Fukushima catastrophe.
Of the 50 commercial reactors in the quake-prone country, only two have been reopened.
"The most important thing is to restore trust in administrative practices to ensure the safety of atomic power, whose reputation has been ruined," Tanaka told the first meeting of the five-member organization.
The revamped regulatory setup is also aimed at righting the situation in which various government organizations were involved in nuclear safety issues.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Nuclear Safety Commission, a body overseeing the activities of NISA, were scrapped Tuesday midnight.