Tokyo, March 25 (SocialNews.XYZ) Japan's nuclear regulatory body has decided to ban the transportation of nuclear fuel to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata prefecture owing to the plant's "severe security breaches".
Following its probe, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) decided at its meeting to ban Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) from transporting to the plant or loading nuclear fuel into its reactors, as the plant's intruder detection and backup systems were found to be defective, reports Xinhua news agency.
"We have yet to thoroughly confirm whether measures to protect nuclear material at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa are sufficient. If we ban the transport of nuclear fuel, the protection of such material will be enhanced," NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told the meeting on Wednesday.
NRA commissioners at the meeting were in agreement that legally stipulated corrective measures should be enforced on the operator of the seven-reactor plant on the Sea of Japan coast.
The regulators also discussed other measures to punish TEPCO, having, for the first time, provisionally rated the plant's security breaches to be at the worst level in terms of safety and severity, such as revoking TEPCO's license to operate the complex or ordering the halt of plant operations for up to a year.
Specific security breaches included the plant being "vulnerable to unauthorised entry at 15 locations since March last year because of defective intruder detection systems and backups", the NRA said earlier this month.
Other breaches at the plant, along with safety measures not being completed for the No. 7 reactor at the plant, include an employee last year using a colleague's ID pass to enter the central control room without authorisation.
The NRA said the punitive measures will be kept in place until TEPCO responds appropriately to the situation.
"The punitive measure will remain in effect until TEPCO's response to the incident is in a situation where self-sustained improvement is expected," the NRA said.