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Japanese regulators have banned the Nuke factory from restarting thanks to lax protective measures – The Diplomat


The Tokyo report | Protect | East Asia

Of the 54 nuclear reactors that Japan once had, nine were restarted to stricter safety standards than post-Fukushima and four are currently in operation.

The Fukushima nuclear plant operator destroyed in a 2011 disaster said Wednesday that they would accept a penalty imposed by the regulators for negligent anti-terrorism measures at another nuclear plant it operates, one step that would have desperately prevented a facility restart. at least a year.

Tokyo Electric Power Company issued a statement in response to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority’s decision in late March to prohibit the company from moving any nuclear material at reactor 7 at the nuclear power plant. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture. The measure will suspend all steps being taken to restart the factory.

Regulatory agencies have found faulty anti-terrorism equipment and inadequate protection of nuclear materials at multiple locations in the plant since at least 2018. The president of the government, Fuketa Toyoshi , said TEPCO has since restored its safety functions, but the problems are considered serious and systematic.

The punishment will be formally put in place at the management committee meeting next week, he said.

The factory was partially damaged during the 2007 earthquake, causing suspicion among local cities. It has been operating offline since 2012. Of the 54 nuclear reactors that Japan once had, nine have been restarted to the harsher safety standards than post-Fukushima and four are currently in operation. .

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The government classified the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s nuclear security as “red”, meaning its management had deteriorated to the point where intruders were allowed. This is the first time that a Japanese nuclear operator has been given such a rating.

“I hope TEPCO will make an effort to analyze the problem … and fully cooperate with our inspections,” said Fuketa, adding that the ability of TEPCO to keep the plant operating license depends on the results. of upcoming tests.

TEPCO President Kobayakawa Tomoaki apologized for causing safety concerns and said he and three other company executives are cutting wages by 30% in six months.

“We take the matter seriously and will investigate the cause and pursue strong reform efforts,” he told reporters.

The incident raises questions about whether TEPCO has fully learned the lessons from the 2011 Fukushima disaster, caused by a major earthquake and tsunami but largely attributed to the company lacks. safety culture.

Critics say the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant requires higher security because it is located on the coast facing North Korea.

The penalty comes as TEPCO is preparing the final steps to restart the plant after the regulators granted safety approval for the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors in 2017. The launch The relaunch of the two reactors was seen as crucial so that TEPCO would reduce the financial burden of paying for the damage caused by the Fukushima disaster.

The penalty does not affect the wrecked Fukushima plant that is now shut down. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said he would make a final decision “within days” on whether to allow the release of large amounts of treated water but still radioactive stored at home. machine or not. TEPCO is expected to run out of water storage capacity by the fall of 2022.

Japan Fisheries Cooperative President Kishi Hiroshi rejected Suga’s explanation that releasing fish into the sea was the most realistic option, and asked the government to explain how to deal with the damage caused to the local fishing industry. Phuong. TEPCO and government officials say radionuclides can be filtered to safe levels, but some experts say the impact on marine life from low and long-term exposure is still unknown. clear.

TEPCO admitted in January that there had been an illegal use of a worker identification card to enter sensitive areas at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant last September, along with major security shortcomings. completely different.

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