March 31, 2017

Monthly Press Conference

Today, President Kenji Kudo held a monthly press conference in Aomori City and talked about “Status of Response to the New Regulatory Requirements”, “JNFL’s Response on Corrective Actions for Quality Assurance Activities”, and “Welcome Ceremony for New Employees in FY2017”

Status of Response to the New Regulatory Requirements

Review meetings for the Reprocessing Plant and MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant were held on March 21 and 24. JNFL explained  the basic policy for seismic design, which included the method of and approach to evaluating seismicity of the facilities, in the March 21 meeting.

A summary briefing was given in the March 24 review meeting, which covered reviews on engineering abilities in response to JNFL’s quality management system having failed to function, as well as basic policies on both alteration applications based on New Regulatory Requirements and responses to severe accidents..

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) acknowledged that JNFL completed providing explanations about review items concerning the Reprocessing Plant and MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant.

Nearly three years and three months have passed since JNFL applied for compliance with New Regulatory Requirements in January 2014. In retrospect, time was needed to deliberate over severe accidents and organize key points in the initial stages of the review but JNFL successfully completed providing the explanations it had scheduled. This is a major step forward for the company.

Efforts are now underway on developing an amendment statement of application forms for making changes to permissions concerning the Reprocessing Plant, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Plant, and the Vitrified Waste Storage Center. JNFL hopes to swiftly submit the amendment statement at a later date.

Meanwhile, an amendment statement for the Uranium Enrichment Plant was submitted on March 23.

Regarding safety enhancement constructions, JFNL is making determined efforts to engage in work that can be started in advance. Examples include the installation of safety nets as a countermeasure against tornados, the addition of pipe supports, and the excavation work for an emergency response facility and a reservoir.

JNFL’s Response on Corrective Actions for Quality Assurance Activities

JNFL submitted a revised report on February 28 in response to NRA’s report collection order. Details of the revised report were reviewed by the NRA on March 15.

The NRA acknowledged that JNFL’s current response has a mechanism in place to check the corrective action plan and its progress, and that there also is a system for me to responsibly engage in safety improvement undertakings. The revised report was approved on the basis of verifying the extent to which these mechanisms are put into practice.

Regarding efforts made thus far for corrective actions, JNFL has revised the Safety and Quality Division’s response to management reviews, clarified the authority, responsibility, and role of the Safety and Quality Division, and made improvements to ensure the Corporate Audit Office’s independence. JNFL is now training Safety and Quality Division and Corporate Audit Office personnel on the quality management system, and striving to raise competency of Corporate Audit Office members by having experts provide coaching.

JNFL set up a Safety and Quality Reform Committee on March 21, the task of which is to verify the implementation status of such corrective actions. The Committee convened for the first time on March 28 and reviewed concrete details of future corrective action plans.

JNFL is making efforts to launch, by the end of April, a Safety and Quality Reform Assurance Verification Committee which is intended to advise on and evaluate the Safety and Quality Reform Committee’s activities. Efforts are currently underway to select members of the new Committee both from within and outside JNFL.

JNFL plans to publicly announce its progress in corrective actions whenever the company reaches a milestone.

The FY2017 Quality Assurance Convention is scheduled to be hosted on April 4. I will ensure first-hand at the occasion that both JNFL and contractor employees understand focus items and the new quality policy which reiterates the significance of the quality management system.

Welcome Ceremony for New Employees in FY2017

A welcome ceremony for FY2017 will be held on April 3 for 102 new employees, 75 of whom are from Aomori Prefecture. The 102 new recruits will bring the proportion of regular employees among JNFL staff to approximately 87%.

It’s extremely encouraging to see that many people developed sympathy for the significance of the nuclear fuel cycle JNFL is dealing with and gathered not only from Aomori but from all over Japan.

JNFL will continue working as a firm rooted in the local area in hopes of serving the community’s job opportunities, however small the contribution may be.