IAEA Ends Security Mission at Japan's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Station

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts completed a nuclear security mission at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station (KKNPS) in Japan today, which was carried out at the request of the country's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The nine-day mission, conducted from 25 March to 2 April 2024, aimed to assess the enhancement of the physical protection measures at the KKNPS, Japan's largest nuclear facility with seven reactors, and to provide further advice as necessary to the facility's operator.

A physical protection system comprises people, procedures and equipment to provide defence in depth to address threats and to protect against both unauthorized removal of nuclear material and sabotage of nuclear material or facilities.

The five-person team assessed and observed physical protection measures against the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material as amended, and relevant IAEA Nuclear Security Guidance documents. They visited the KKNPS in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, and met with staff of the facility's operator, TEPCO. The team included experts from Finland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as one IAEA staff member.

The team observed the facility management's commitment to improving nuclear security and identified continuous improvements in several areas of the KKNPS physical protection system since 2018, when the IAEA conducted an International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Follow-up Mission in Japan, including a site visit at KKNPS. Most of the improvements have been completed, and some requiring significant resources and time to complete are either under implementation or planned to be implemented. The team provided TEPCO recommendations and suggestions for further improvements.

"Critical infrastructure, such as nuclear facilities, requires robust physical protection measures, as part of a national nuclear security regime supported by a legislative and regulatory framework and nuclear security culture," said Elena Buglova, Director of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Security. "The IAEA expert missions are intended to assist the requesting States in establishing and further strengthening their national nuclear security regimes, including the physical protection against theft, sabotage or unauthorized use of nuclear and other radioactive material."

"The findings provided by the experts of the Expert Mission team are very important and will be used further to enhance nuclear security of our plant in line with the IAEA international standards. Based on the advice given by the IAEA experts, TEPCO is committed to continuously improve our security measures by establishing a strong security culture to sustain this current security enhancement effort and prevent it from declining again in the future. Also, we will further strengthen the prevention measures against internal threat and continue our improvement aiming towards a better physical protection system, including intrusion detection. This Expert Mission has also provided us a great opportunity to learn about international good practices. We will continue to improve towards a plant, which our local region can trust and feel safe about," said KKNPS Superintendent Takeyuki Inagaki of TEPCO.

The team presented its draft report of findings to TEPCO. The final report will be ready in the next few weeks.


The KKNPS houses seven boiling water reactors with a total gross electrical capacity of 8212 MW(e). It is located between Kashiwazaki City and Kariwa Village on the coast of the Sea of Japan of the Niigata Prefecture. Since 2012, the plant has been offline, after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident led to the shutdown of all nuclear plants in Japan.

In 2014, Japan accepted the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM). The CPPNM establishes legal obligations for Parties regarding the physical protection of nuclear material used for peaceful purposes. The Amendment strengthens the original CPPNM by establishing States' obligations to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.

The responsibility for nuclear security within a State rests entirely with the State. The IAEA provides support on nuclear security, upon request from Member States, by offering peer review missions and advisory services, guidance documents, e-learning courses, training courses and workshops. The IAEA conducted an IPPAS mission in Japan in 2015 and a follow-up IPPAS mission in 2018.

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