Papers left on car roof may keep world's biggest nuclear plant shut

Safety lapses and strict regulatory process have stopped Japan from restarting most of its nuclear reactors shut in the wake of 2011 Fukushima disaster


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Shoko Oda
A week after Japanese regulators postponed the restart of the world’s biggest nuclear power plant due to safety lapses, a careless employee working from home added to the company’s woes.

Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan’s Niigata prefecture, said an employee placed a stack of documents on top of a car before driving off and losing them. 
The mishap is the latest in a string of mistakes for the utility and is likely to further erode the regulator’s confidence in Tepco.  

Safety lapses and a strict regulatory process have stopped Japan from restarting most of its nuclear reactors shut in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. 
The nation’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, which oversees safety protocols of Japan’s remaining 33 reactors, decided just last week to keep a de facto ban on the power station from resuming operations, saying that the utility’s preventative measures are inadequate. 

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The utility discovered the breach when a local resident found some of the papers, which were related to dealing with fires and floods. The company is still trying to recover 38 pages of documents. 
Both the employee and their manager were given warnings and Tepco said it would make sure all staff follow stringent rules on taking documents and information off-site.

First Published: May 23 2023 | 11:48 PM IST

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