Japan Regulator Discusses TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Plant

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Reactors Nos. 5, 6 and 7, from left to right, are seen at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday began discussions on its future response over Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, which has been effectively banned from operation following a series of problems.

At the day’s regular meeting, the NRA confirmed a plan to make a final decision on whether to lift the ban after NRA Chairman Shinsuke Yamanaka and others conduct an on-site inspection and hold talks with TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa.

At the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, flaws in antiterrorism measures have been discovered since 2018, including damage to equipment designed to detect intrusions and an employee’s unauthorized entry into the main control room by using a colleague’s ID card.

In April 2021, the NRA imposed an effective operating ban on the nuclear plant. Additional inspections have since been conducted to monitor progress in efforts to improve the situation at the plant.

On Wednesday, the Secretariat of the NRA submitted a draft report acknowledging that TEPCO has continued to take preventive measures, such as repeatedly holding drills to prevent the intrusion detection system from malfunctioning during stormy weather.

The draft report also referred to the establishment of a monitoring organization under the direct control of the company’s president in May this year, and concluded that a system for making improvement measures permanent has been established and is taking root.

The results of a review of TEPCO’s eligibility as a nuclear power plant operator were also released, noting that TEPCO is working in line with its promises made in 2017, including one to make necessary investments for safety measures at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.