• Jiji


The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Tuesday began inspecting Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, over flaws in security against terrorism.

The nuclear industry watchdog will interview Tepco employees and check records and data at the plant. The inspection was launched as an additional examination after Tepco submitted a report on the problem in September.

The plant has had a number of security problems, including the failure to fix dysfunctional equipment to detect intruders. This led the NRA to issue in April an order to effectively ban Tepco from operating the plant.

In September, Tepco said in the report that it had low risk awareness over nuclear materials protection and failed to check on-site operations sufficiently.

The report also included preventive measures such as an improvement in employee training and an increase in the involvement of the management in related affairs.

Tepco left the problem with the intruder detection equipment intact for a long time. This happened after the company terminated the leasing contracts for such equipment and introduced equipment bought by Tepco as part of measures to reduce costs after the 2011 meltdowns at the company’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The authority, paying special attention to the termination of the contracts, will examine whether the cost reductions have affected the security measures against terrorist attacks at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. The inspection will be conducted also on Wednesday.

Teoco hopes to restart the No. 7 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant early. But the NRA order will remain in place until improvements are confirmed through the inspections.

It is likely to take more than a year to confirm the effectiveness of all preventive measures in the report.

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