Japan Nuclear Regulator Keeps Operation Ban for N-plant in Niigata Prefecture

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant is seen in Niigata Prefecture.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday decided to maintain an effective ban on operations at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The NRA adopted a report on its investigation of the power station, conducted after a series of antiterrorism security flaws came to light at the plant in the central Japan prefecture, and decided to continue additional examinations. The report said the NRA could not conclude that corrective measures have been taken for four of the 27 surveyed items.

The NRA also confirmed a plan to hold talks with TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa on how the company will address the issues.

Problems such as damage on equipment to detect intruders occurred multiple times at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in and after January 2018, and it took time to fix the issues. In another antiterrorism security flaw, a TEPCO employee entered a reactor control room in September 2020 using another worker’s identification card.

In April 2021, the NRA ordered TEPCO not to transfer nuclear fuel within the plant and effectively banned its operations until improvements in antiterrorism measures are confirmed through additional investigations.

The NRA actions have made it impossible for TEPCO to work on restarting the No. 7 reactor at the plant at an early date. All seven Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors have been offline.

The Secretariat of the NRA conducted additional inspections until last month to check TEPCO’s efforts to improve the situation.

The inspection report noted that TEPCO’s efforts to prevent malfunctions of intruder detection equipment during stormy weather are insufficient and that the system for continuous self-inspections for security measures was also inadequate.