News: Tepco shares slump 10% after regulator slams breaches at nuclear station.
TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) shares fell around 10% after Japan’s nuclear regulator identified security breaches at the company’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa station and the industry minister said the facility would not be back online soon .
Tepco stocks had risen in the past few months in hopes of reconnecting Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the world’s largest nuclear power plant, after years of trying to convince regulators and local residents that they would do the ten years ago Lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster.
Regulators used their most severe rating – known as the red rating – of Tepco’s violations, including failure to protect nuclear materials and security flaws that could have allowed unauthorized personnel to access sensitive areas of Kashiwazaki Kariwa.
The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshi Kajiyama, told reporters on Tuesday that he took the violations “seriously” and made it clear that Tepco could not restart the station anytime soon.
“Obviously we are not at a stage where operations can resume,” said Kajiyama.
Tepco shares even fell 10.2% to 354 yen in morning trading after rising in recent weeks on hopes the company could bring a reactor back on stream at the mammoth station.
Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of Japan’s nuclear regulator, said that even if the necessary further inspections were carried out quickly, they would take more than a year.
In a preview of the Fukushima disaster almost exactly a decade ago, a 2007 earthquake damaged the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, causing radiation leaks and suspicion among local communities, who are forced to log out each time it is restarted.
Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Ritsuko Shimizu; Additional coverage from Yuka Obayashi; Edited by Shri Navaratnam and Ana Nicolaci da Costa
Original Source © Reuters