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Anti-terrorism measures wanted

October 20, 2015

Panel urges anti-terror steps for nuclear plants


Oct. 20, 2015 - Updated 02:43 UTC+2

A panel advising Japan's nuclear regulator has proposed measures to help nuclear facilities avoid hiring terrorists posing as workers.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority panel has been studying a system for checking the criminal records and other personal information of workers at nuclear facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has urged countries to run background checks on workers in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Japan is believed to be the only country with nuclear power plants without such a system.

The panel said in a report on Monday that the operators of nuclear facilities should require certain workers to self-report information about their medical history, including alcohol and drug addiction. The affected workers would include those with access to critical areas or who are involved in guarding nuclear materials.

They would also be asked about their financial standing, including history of personal bankruptcy and debt. Further questions would address a possible criminal record and links to terrorist groups.

The panel also urged the operators to place more security guards at their facilities and use biometric identification systems.

Some on the panel questioned the effectiveness of self-reporting and called for more rigorous information gathering.

But the panel stopped short of recommending using criminal background checks, citing possible privacy infringement. Other major countries use such a system.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority plans to create a new screening system based on the panel's report.

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