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Kashiwazaki Kariwa, a Distant Recovery of Confidence TEPCO Shares Crisis Awareness to Prevent Misconduct

Deputy General Manager Daito explains the operating floor. Before entering the building, biometric authentication and other enhancements were in place.

December 19, 2022
A series of scandals, including flaws in anti-terrorism measures, at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant (Niigata Prefecture), which Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) aims to restart, has called into question TEPCO’s efforts to restore trust. If distrust grows, it could affect the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which caused the accident. As an operator involved in nuclear power generation, TEPCO is required to improve its internal structure to prevent misconduct, such as by ensuring that each and every employee shares a sense of crisis.

 Crisis awareness “is a weak point

 In October, the Local Newspaper Energy Study Group, a group of local newspapers in areas where nuclear facilities are located, visited the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant to observe the status of remedial measures being taken. Masaki Daito, 56, deputy director of the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, admitted to a lack of awareness of the crisis, saying, “There were parts of the situation that we should have been aware of, but we were naive in our understanding of the situation.

 In September 2008, an employee of the plant took a colleague’s ID card without permission and entered the central control room illegally, and in April 2009, the Nuclear Regulation Authority issued an order prohibiting the transfer of nuclear fuel. In April 2009, the Regulatory Commission issued a de facto operation ban order prohibiting the transfer of nuclear fuel. The restart of the plant has been put on hold, and TEPCO officials stress that they will work to restore trust in the plant, saying, “Without the understanding of the local community, we will not be able to restart the plant.

 Improvement Measures, Starting with Greetings

 In response to the series of scandals, TEPCO is working on 36 improvement measures related to the protection of nuclear materials. A Security Management Department has been established within the power plant, the personnel structure has been reviewed, and the budget for equipment has been expanded from 20 billion yen to 58 billion yen. During the inspection tour, the monitoring system was strengthened, with biometric authentication required to enter the “operating floor,” the upper level of the Unit 6 reactor.

 TEPCO believes that a lack of communication with employees and workers at partner companies is behind the scandals. The company explained that as a measure to improve the situation, executives and others are standing at the main gate in the morning and making efforts to conduct a “greeting campaign,” but an unusual situation comes to mind in which a review of the basics is unavoidable.

 Response is backward and “lousy.

 How did the local administration, business community, and residents react to the scandal? The study group interviewed Masahiro Sakurai, 60, mayor of Kashiwazaki City, and Masao Nishikawa, 66, chairman of the Kashiwazaki Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Both are in favor of restarting the nuclear reactors, but they are also very critical of TEPCO in light of the scandals.

 In a word, they are lousy. Mayor Sakurai laments TEPCO’s backward steps, such as strengthening biometric authentication after the scandal. While he praises TEPCO’s measures to deal with the scandal, saying that “they are making efforts,” he also points out that a sense of tension and crisis awareness has not penetrated the company’s ranks. Chairman Nishikawa also stated that “the relationship of trust has broken down,” and revealed that he had submitted a letter of request to TEPCO to protest the situation.

 Kazuyuki Takemoto, 72, a resident of Kariwa Village who has been campaigning against the plant, questioned the government’s nuclear fuel cycle policy, including the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, saying, “The government is desperately trying to get the plant restarted, but can it really be moved? TEPCO wants to move forward with the restart, but it must not forget the lessons of the nuclear accident. In the visitor’s house at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, there is a panel that reads, “Our responsibility for the recovery of Fukushima. How will they face these words and show them through their actions? The public is watching closely. (News Department, Satoshi Mizuno)


January 3, 2023 - Posted by | Japan |

1 Comment »

  1. How would ya like to go swimming in that water. Or any water around Japan. Phoney, criminal, radioactive shithole. Evil, fascist state of state supported fascism. Especially tepco

    Comment by Endec | January 3, 2023 | Reply

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