Japan regulatory body decides to ban nuke fuel transportation

Mar 25 2021 11:22 AM
Japan regulatory body decides to ban nuke fuel transportation

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday decided to ban the transportation of nuclear fuel to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture owing to the plant's "severe security breaches."

Following its investigation, the nuclear regulatory body decided at its meeting to ban Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. from transporting to the plant or loading nuclear fuel into its reactors, as the plant's intruder detection and backup systems were found to be defective.

We have yet to thoroughly confirm whether measures to protect nuclear material at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa are adequate. If we ban the transport of nuclear fuel, the protection of such material will be enhanced," NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told the meeting on Wednesday.

NRA commissioners at the meeting were in agreement that legally stipulated corrective measures should be enforced on the operator of the seven-reactor plant on the Sea of Japan coast. The regulators also discussed other steps to punish TEPCO, having, for the first time, provisionally-rated the plant's security breaches to be at the worst level in terms of safety and severity, such as revoking TEPCO's license to operate the complex or ordering the halt of plant operations for up to a year.

Specific security breaches included the plant being "vulnerable to unauthorized entry at 15 locations since March last year because of defective intruder detection systems and backups", the NRA said earlier this month.

Other breaches at the plant, along with safety measures not being completed for the No. 7 reactors at the plant, include an employee last year using a colleague's ID pass to enter the central control room without authorization.

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