Monthly Press Conference
We deeply regret causing serious concerns over the results of the third safety inspection, carried out from November 21 to December 9.
As you are well aware, serious problems were recognized through safety inspections. This included reported details of the Safety and Quality Division’s safety activity being found to be different from facts. The Nuclear Regulation Authority accordingly issued a written order to investigate the cause of the matter, on December 14 .
JNFL has, in regard to this issue, informed Aomori Prefecture Vice-Governor Yuji Aoyama on the 15th, and Rokkasho Village Mayor Mamoru Toda on the 19th. We would like to offer our apologies again to Aomori Prefecture residents for the anxieties we have caused.
It is extremely regrettable that JNFL failed both in observing the basics of the quality assurance framework and in confirming whether the framework is obeyed. I deeply reproach myself for not being able to notice this issue, as an administrator of JNFL.
JNFL regards this problem as extremely grave and serious. We will work in a company-wide fashion to thoroughly investigate the cause and, based on its findings, make effort to improve the situation and prevent the matter from recurring.
Status of Response to the New Regulatory Requirements
Responding to the New Regulatory Requirements was the biggest task this year for JNFL. It is our impression that great advances were made in each facility over the year.
A review meeting was held yesterday in regard to the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant and the MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant. JNFL briefed about initial response drills concerning the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, an issue that was previously pointed out, along with how to deal with major damage and the release of the radioactive substances in the situation of severe accidents.
Regarding the drill, JNFL identified why more time was needed than expected. After making improvements, JNFL re-conducted the initial response drill and in turn confirmed the exercise can be completed within the projected time frame.
JNFL also completed offering explanations on the Uranium Enrichment Plant and the Vitrified Waste Storage Center.
A review meeting was convened on December 9 regarding site foundations and earthquakes. JNFL responded to comments related to the monitoring of volcanic activities, in addition to stability analyses concerning the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant and MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant’s base foundations. Reviewers showed a general understanding that JNFL is making appropriate considerations.
At the review meeting scheduled for the 26th, JNFL plans to summarize and brief in an all-embracing manner about the details explained thus far.
As explained, it is our understanding that each review has neared its final stages. JNFL will continue to make all-out efforts for the reviews.
This year, 2016, the environment surrounding JNFL changed greatly. One example is the Amendment Bill to the Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Fund Act being passed, and JNFL accordingly concluding a consignment agreement with the Nuclear Reprocessing Organization of Japan concerning reprocessing and waste management operations.
In a nutshell, there have been shifts made in this year, such as progress in reviews, changes in business environment, and the launch of a new system to steadily promote the Nuclear Fuel Cycle program. The safety inspection issue has, however, seriously eroded trust with local residents and other relevant parties. We deeply regret causing this matter, and once again express our apologies.
I intend to take the lead in addressing this problem.