The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Japan’s nuclear regulatory body, has decided to prevent Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) from restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, saying that the plant had serious safety flaws. It decided to ban Tepco from transporting fuel to the plant or loading it into the reactors. A final decision on plant operation will be made after Tepco is given an opportunity to explain what it intends to do.
The NRA said that the measure will remain in effect until Tepco is “in a situation where self-sustained improvement is expected.”
The KashiWazaki-Kariwa plant was found to have been vulnerable to unauthorised entry at 15 locations in March 2020 when both its primary intruder detection system and the backup system were defective. NRA rated the breach at the plant to have been at the worst level in terms of safety and severity. Toyoshi Fuketa, Chairman of NRA, said the regulator has yet to confirm whether Tepco has taken sufficient measures to protect nuclear materials at the plant. The NRA is expected to take at least one year to confirm whether improvements to security measures at the plant are sufficient.