Japanese Regulators Report Lack of Effort to Protect Nuclear Materials by TEPCO

The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority said that the lack of human involvement in efforts to safeguard nuclear material led to serious security lapses at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan.

The Nuclear regulators said its secretariat submitted an interim report, which states that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant carried out poor maintenance of the equipment used to safeguard nuclear material, and the people at the supervisory level did not take part in discussions on trouble-shooting and were rarely on-site.

According to the report, the Inspectors did not find indications that the company’s cost-cutting efforts after the Fukushima nuclear accident led to the security lapses.

Authority Chairman Fuketa Toyoshi said that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) should be more vigilant as it is not clear whether it paid enough attention to safeguarding nuclear material.

TEPCO’s seven plant reactors are offline following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, but the operator said it hopes to restart the facility once the authority gives them clearance.

Fuketa said the authority has endorsed the interim report and recommended steps to prevent recurrences of serious flaws in its security measures.

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