NRA: Security breach at nuclear plant serious

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority says it will thoroughly review an incident in which a Tokyo Electric Power Company worker entered a control room at a nuclear plant using another worker's ID card.

The security breach took place at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture last September. A worker who had lost his ID card took another worker's ID card from a locker and used it to enter the central control room.

The NRA says workers have to go through multiple gates to reach the control room and that they have their ID checked at each gate by other TEPCO workers or by security personnel. But it says that nobody realized that the worker in question was entering improperly.

The NRA says an ID checking system at one gate showed an error multiple times and that a security person was suspicious because the worker's face did not match the photo on the ID card he was carrying. It says the security person did not check why the error had been displayed and instead rewrote the data on the ID card.

NRA Chairman Fuketa Toyoshi told reporters on Wednesday that the security incident was serious as the nuclear power plant needs thorough measures against terrorism. He said overwriting the data on the ID card was the most shocking act as it made ID cards pointless.

Fuketa said his agency will carefully review an incident report submitted by Tokyo Electric Power Company. He hinted that it may conduct security reviews on ID checking systems at other utilities.