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The Japanese government has unveiled plans to reform the country’s nuclear regulatory agency, separating it from the ministry in charge of promoting nuclear power. The separation plan is a move to restore public confidence in nuclear power.  The new regulatory body, tentatively named the Nuclear Safety and Security Agency (NSSA), will be placed under the jurisdiction of theEnvironment Ministry, where the government says it is better suited to communicate during a crisis under the guidance of a cabinet minister.

Japan has decided against creating an independent agency to enforce safety, akin to the nuclear watchdogs in the United States and France. Instead, the new agency. However, the Environment Ministry has a history of favoring nuclear power, which it sees as a tool for meeting carbon dioxide emissions targets. (Wash Post, 8/29/2011)