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JAEA may have violated safety rules

July 5, 2017


JAEA may have violated safety rules



Japan's nuclear regulator says the operator of a nuclear energy research facility north of Tokyo may have violated safety regulations. Workers at the facility were accidentally exposed to radioactive materials last month.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has conducted an on-site investigation into the Oarai Research and Development Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, which is operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

A bag containing plutonium and other radioactive materials was ripped open in early June while workers at the facility were checking fuel storage containers.

NRA officials met on Wednesday to share their findings.

They noted that JAEA officials did not consider the possibility that a bag containing nuclear fuel materials may burst open.

They also said that the operator did not draw up the required work plan documents despite the fact that they had not checked the inside of the nuclear fuel containers for a long period.

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka criticized JAEA for its lack of knowledge and preparedness on safety. He said decisions should not be made on baseless confidence when handling plutonium.

The NRA expects to receive a final report on the incident from JAEA toward the end of August.

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