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10-14 February 2020
Europe/Vienna timezone

Regulator’s Roles for Sustainable Effort for Nuclear Security Culture in Japan

Not scheduled
Paper CC: Nuclear security culture in practice with a focus on sustainability


Ms Kazuko Hamada (Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of Japan)


Fostering and sustaining a strong nuclear security culture serves as the basis for achieving effective nuclear security. While the effort for nuclear security culture should be implemented by each organization responsible for nuclear security, this effort may not be sufficient to continuously support nuclear security, if it is made merely based on organization’s initiative alone. A comprehensive national framework is deemed to be necessary to make this effort to be effective and sustained. In addition, with the consideration of an insubstantial nature of culture additional approaches as external stimulants are also necessary to facilitate organizations’ effort for nuclear security culture.

In addressing this need Japan takes an approach of a three-tiered national framework in order to ensure the practical and sustainable effort for nuclear security culture. This three-tiered framework consists of the State, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) as a competent authority (CA) for nuclear activities in Japan, and licensees under the regulatory control of the NRA. The followings are brief descriptions how each tier operates. The State, at the top tier of this framework, has pronounced its political commitment to nuclear security culture, most noticeably in the form of the national statement at the two Nuclear Security Summits in 2014 and 2016. This political commitment provides the NRA, at the second tier, with an incentive to proactively foster a strong nuclear security culture in Japan. Accordingly, the NRA is empowered to have the authority to oversee the effort by licensees, at the third tier, for nuclear security culture. Specifically, the NRA requires licensees to develop and implement the plan to foster a strong nuclear security culture and demands the involvement of the top management, in a tangible way, in the implementation result of the plan. This plan and its implementation status, particularly the involvement of the top management, are to be examined by the NRA during a physical protection inspection of nuclear material. If the plan has not been properly implemented, the NRA has the authority to provide the licensee with guidance or instructions to take corrective action. In addition, the NRA regularly meets with licensees’ top management in person to communicate its expectation for their leadership in nuclear security, and if necessary, directly requests them to take the lead in fostering nuclear security culture. This NRA’s approach to licensees and to their top management, in particular, serves as a strong incentive for the top management to ensure that their subordinates meet the regulatory requirement, continuously putting the effort for nuclear security into practice. As the effect each licensee is to make every effort to develop and implement its own approaches, suitable for its situation, to foster a strong nuclear security culture. One such an example is to make nuclear security culture messages to be visible for security guards in order to heighten their sense of responsibility and professionalism for their daily duties. Another example is to notify the employees of matters that may not present immediate risks but suggest negative signs for possible degradation of the physical protection system as well as to share good practices that have been made for the improvement of the physical protection. In this way the variety of unique efforts for nuclear security culture are continuously sought and practiced.

Since the approach by the NRA to licensees could have a great influence on them, the NRA assumes important roles in fostering and enhancing nuclear security culture in Japan as a whole. Accordingly, the NRA is not only taking aforementioned various approaches for ensuring the sustainable effort by licensees but also is taking additional steps to facilitate their effort to be practical and effective, for example, by sharing its own practices within the NRA as a role model. In facilitating licensees’ effort the NRA understands that a careful consideration needs to be taken not to distort or misguide licensees’ effort due to its potentially great influence on licensees. It is particularly true with regard to the way to incorporate elements related to nuclear security culture into the NRA’s assessment of licensees’ physical protection system. In this regard, the NRA has accumulated the experience of repeating trial and error based on past experience to find a good balance to incorporate the cultural elements into its physical protection assessment.

With the understanding of its important roles the NRA is not only exerting regulatory oversight on licensees but also motivating them to advance their effort for nuclear security culture through, for example, role modeling. Based on these experiences this paper will present Japan’s nationwide approach with the focus on the regulator’s roles for ensuring practical and sustained effort for nuclear security culture.

Gender Female
State Japan

Primary author

Ms Kazuko Hamada (Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) of Japan)

Presentation Materials