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Security lapses at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata

TEPCO execs keep heads in the sand on nuclear security issue, Asahi Shimbun, 
October 4, 2021  Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s report on security lapses at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture casts doubts on the utility’s will to reinvent itself.

TEPCO submitted the report on problems with anti-terror measures at the plant’s No. 7 reactor to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Sept. 22. It described the causes of the problems and measures to prevent a recurrence.

The report underscored a lack of commitment to safety as indicated by the utility’s tendency to ignore warnings about problems from front-line workers. The bitter lessons from the accident at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011 have apparently been lost.

In response to revelations of nuclear security failures, the NRA in April issued an order that effectively banned TEPCO from restarting the reactor, which had been cleared for operation through the watchdog’s safety inspection.

In one incident, a TEPCO employee had entered the central control room without authorization by using another employee’s identification card.

In addition, security devices installed to detect unauthorized entry had failed to function properly at the plant.

As reasons behind the security lapses, the report cited poor recognition of risks among rank-and-file employees, the failure of executives to keep on top of front-line operations and the entire organization’s inability to rectify problems.

The report pointed out the need to improve communications within workplaces and between organizations, change the top-down and control-oriented culture, which tends to discourage workers from pointing out problems, and ensure more respect for security personnel.

It proposed measures to review the organization and establish an effective safety culture within the company.

The findings indicate TEPCO’s propensity to prioritize cost reduction over safety.

The company cut costs by buying intrusion detectors it used to lease. Malfunctions increased as these devices aged, but the company dealt with glitches only after several cases occurred.

Nuclear security is vital for protecting nuclear materials from terrorism and should never be compromised. Any flaw would undermine the international community’s trust in Japan.

We wonder how seriously TEPCO’s management has taken the situation.

A survey of TEPCO employees conducted by an outside fact-finding committee received many harsh opinions against management……………

October 5, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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