Experts evaluate utility's anti-terror measures at nuclear plant in Niigata

An expert panel set up by Tokyo Electric Power Company has positively evaluated the utility's efforts on anti-terrorism measures at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture.

Problems with anti-terror measures surfaced at the plant on the Sea of Japan coast in 2021, after an employee gained improper access to the plant's central control room. Also, sensors for detecting intruders malfunctioned and alternative measures put in place were insufficient. As a result, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, issued an order that effectively banned the plant's operation.

The utility, also known as TEPCO, set up a panel of nuclear security experts to check its steps for preventing a recurrence.

On Tuesday, the panel presented its second report on the matter to TEPCO's president.

The report says awareness of the importance of anti- terror measures has been rising in the company, and that management has held seminars on ways to handle confidential information. The report also calls on the company to check whether rapid reforms have caused adverse effects among workers.

The head of the panel, Itabashi Isao, said the reforms are making steady progress as a result of mobilizing many people and high spending. He added that the company should continue those efforts.

TEPCO plans to submit its final report to the NRA around this spring.

The agency is expected to decide whether to allow the plant back online after looking into TEPCO's report and conducting an inspection.