JAPAN | Safety agency slams TEPCO for lax ID checks on nuclear plant workers

Posted on August 2, 2011

0


JAPAN | MAINICHI | 2 August 2011

In this photo taken on June 22, 2011 and released on Thursday, June 23, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers in protective suits set up temporary pressure gauges in the Unit 2 reactor building at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reprimanded Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Monday for failing to conduct adequate identity checks on workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The agency found about the lax security as a result of an on-site investigation it conducted on July 7 after the utility was unable to contact more than 180 workers engaged in operations to bring the crippled nuclear plant under control.

The utility only checked photocopies of identification such as drivers’ licenses in judging whether workers should be allowed to enter the premises of the plant, breaching the utility’s in-house rules to prevent the theft of uranium and plutonium, the agency said in a statement.

The agency also found cases where TEPCO did not individually distribute entry passes to plant workers but handed them to their supervisors, it said.

In this April 18, 2011 photo released Wednesday, April 20, 2011 by Ehime University Medical Department Prof. Takeshi Tanigawa, workers, mostly employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co., engaged in operations at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, take rest inside a gymnasium that serves as their temporary dormitory at Fukushima Dai-ni Nuclear Power Plant in Naraha, 14 kilometers (9 miles) south of the former plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (AP Photo/Ehime University Medical Department Prof. Takeshi Tanigawa)

In this April 18, 2011 photo released Wednesday, April 20, 2011 by Ehime University Medical Department Prof. Takeshi Tanigawa, workers, mostly employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co., engaged in operations at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, take rest inside a gymnasium that serves as their temporary dormitory at Fukushima Dai-ni Nuclear Power Plant in Naraha, 14 kilometers (9 miles) south of the former plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (AP Photo/Ehime University Medical Department Prof. Takeshi Tanigawa)

A nuclear safety agency official said the agency, however, decided against revoking TEPCO’s license to install and operate nuclear reactors as the inadequate identification checks “do not constitute systematic and deliberate wrongdoing” and were rather a result of situations created by the crisis at the plant.

TEPCO spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told reporters “So far there has been no case of suspicious persons entering the plant’s premises.”

In late June, TEPCO alerted the nuclear safety agency that it was unable to contact some Fukushima plant workers as it sought to determine workers’ internal radiation exposure.

Advertisements
Posted in: JAPAN