Tokyo, Oct. 20 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said Wednesday that it will further investigate security flaws at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.
The NRA will check whether TEPCO’s cost reductions after the March 2011 meltdowns at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have affected the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s nuclear materials protection, including from terrorists.
The additional investigation, in response to TEPCO’s report on the security flaws submitted last month, is expected to last for over a year from Wednesday.
The NRA plans to conduct an on-site inspection of the plant in central Japan as soon as next week.
In April, the industry watchdog issued an administrative order to prohibit TEPCO from moving fuels at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, effectively banning the operation of the facility.
The order was issued after the security flaws at the plant came to light. For instance, TEPCO left intruder detection equipment unable to function properly.
Although TEPCO aimed to restart the plant’s No. 7 reactor early, the company will not be able to do this until improvements in the plant’s security systems are confirmed through the investigation.
In its report, TEPCO said that it switched to buying intruder detectors it used to lease, as part of cost reductions.
As well as looking into the impacts of the cost reductions, the NRA will investigate whether any similar security flaws are seen in any of TEPCO’s other operations.
Confirming the facts is expected to take about half a year. Since some of the prevention measures in TEPCO’s reports are for a long term, however, the authority may need more than a year to check the measures’ content, implementation and effectiveness.