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Asahi Shimbun – Japan’s nuclear industry needs to be more aware, more careful about terrorism risks.

Utilities urged to look far and wide to tackle nuclear terrorism threat, Asahi Shimbun, May 4, 2022 Despite a contrary assessment by nuclear regulators, a spate of recent security breaches at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant should not be considered endemic to the facility.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority compiled an interim report on its follow-up inspections on the unauthorized use of an employee ID card and disabled intrusion detection equipment at the plant in Niigata Prefecture.

……………………..   the report did not discuss why this was the case with Kashiwazaki-Kariwa alone or how this potentially disastrous situation could have remained overlooked.

It raises fears of a potential breach that could allow terrorists to seize control of the plant.

In our view, the NRA’s examination of the problems was far from comprehensive.

For instance, the interim report reiterated that practically no on-site inspections of the plant’s department that oversees the physical protection of nuclear materials were undertaken by top executives of the plant or TEPCO’s headquarters.

The nature of TEPCO’s overall organization and its management culture still raises many questions.

The report made eight demands of TEPCO. They include: A fundamental review of procedures for the physical protection of nuclear materials; reinforcement of intrusion prevention facilities and their maintenance system; more active use of input from on-site staff; and greater management participation and investment of management resources.

NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said at a meeting the onus was on TEPCO to prove its equipment and facilities for the physical protection of nuclear materials are fool-proof, even if the company’s corporate culture and attitude are below the line and its employees try to cut corners.

An urgent need exists for a framework to ensure that nuclear materials are protected should human error enter the equation, which obliges TEPCO to rectify its operations.

The company needs to not only meet the NRA’s demands but also go the extra mile to address issues needing attention as a matter of routine.

We also strongly urge the NRA to conduct more rigorous inspections.

Nuclear terrorism would have a catastrophic impact on society. An attack against a nuclear power plant could prove too much for its operator or regulatory authorities to handle alone……….. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14613482

May 5, 2022 - Posted by | incidents, Japan

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