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OT2_abstracts (09-06-29)
The 6th Maintenance Seminar
"Purposes and Approaches to the New Regulatory Inspection System in Japan"
Japan Society of Maintenology
the regulatory inspection system, Nuclear and Industrial Inspection Agency, maintenance program, maintenance optimization, JEAC, JEAG, mass media, PDCA cycle, maintenance activity, EAM, maintenance inspeciion

A new regulatory inspection system has been enacted in Japan since the beginning of 2009, to improve quality of inspections and maintenance techniques in nuclear power plants. Meanwhile Japan Society of Maintenology (JSM) hosted the above seminar to have nuclear power plant operators understand better about this new system. The participants were fully satisfied to have an opportunity to share concerns from both the operators and the regulatory.

Outline of the New Regulatory Inspection System
Tetsuya YAMAMOTO (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency)

The new regulatory inspection system was fully implemented in Japan in January 2009. Key points for the new inspection system are briefly introduced as described below:

  • introduction of the new inspection system for safety activities based on the maintenance program,
  • introduction of the new inspection system aiming for safety assurance as important action,
  • arrangements for guidelines on root cause analyses.

In the new system, it changes its direction from uniform inspections across plants to fine-tuned inspections that fit for an individual quality of each plant as the number of aging nuclear power plants is increasing. It also performs a timely inspection regardless of whether a plant is in a shut-down or in operation, especially an on-site inspection of important safety-related practices during reactor start up.

Moreover it decidedly implements condition monitoring technology for maintenance such as vibration diagnostics and thermography monitoring in order to grasp a condition of facilities more in detail. Meanwhile, it strengthens countermeasures against aging facilities on account of sufficient degradation assessments accumulated since the commencement of plant operation.

In order for the government to encourage ingenuity from nuclear power operators, it requests to plan for a maintenance program including inspections, repair and replacement. It then examines suitability for the maintenance program. These processes, as such, promote improvement of operators’ maintenance management to be more intensive. That is to make it possible to have a level of safety standards raised higher as well.

Besides, operators must provide key information on technical assessment of aging facilities and long term maintenance programs in order to improve further countermeasures against aging facilities, which is bound to mandatorily descriptive items in the new system. Operators are required to submit applications for permission for any changes in operational safety programs before 30 years elapses after the commencement of plant operation. In addition, the implementation detail of the long term maintenance programs is placed in maintenance plans. We will strive for the new regulatory inspection system in a way to secure continuity of the current countermeasures against aging facilities

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Roles of JNES and Its Approach to the New Regulatory Inspection System
Tadashi KANBAYASHI (Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization)

Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES), as technical supporting organization of Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency (NISA), has made arrangements to implement the new regulatory inspection system involving each inspection affair division and in cooperation with NISA to design the new regulatory inspection system.

The distinctive part of the new inspection system is to carry out varyingly inspections that fit for individual quality of each plant. To do so, the regulatory puts emphasis on examination of entire maintenance programs and on inspections for critical parts concerning the safety management.

JNES is to make sure of technical items in maintenance programs, which are verified based on the guideline clearly defining checking items and criteria. In addition, JNES, together with NISA examines a case of a plant that has a plan to extend 13 month period of scheduled shut-down interval. The government demands the plant to submit maintenance programs and technical evaluation reports that show suitability of the period of scheduled shut-down interval.

Nuclear plant operators are primary responsible the security, and their scheduled inspections have been enacted in law. Roles of the regulatory inspections are not only to make sure that operators carry out safety activities properly like inspection, but also to disclose results clearly and in detail of how safety is acheived, if not, the degree of what is unsecure.

Operators and the regulatory should be equal and healthy partners each other. In this respect, the both parties should make a good partnership so as to well communicate each other, for instance, operators should actively speak out what the best possible inspection would be and all the like.

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A Status of Current Arrangements
for Non-Regulatory (Private) Standards and Its Criterion
Compliance with the New Maintenance Program and the New Regulatory Inspection System
Shinji OGURA (Tokyo Electric Power Company)

Nuclear power operators have been promoting optimization of maintenance and improvement of maintenance quality of nuclear power plants. For this, they’ve always tried to get new information, to develop new techniques, and to review and establish private standards and criterions which catch up with changes in latest condition. These standards and criterions were introduced at a review conference on inspections hosted by the Japanese government in November 2005. Conforming to this movement, the new regulatory inspection system has been introduced by the government.

In accordance with this trend, Nippon Denki Kyokai (Japan Electricity Association) has released following codes and guides which reflect “New Maintenance Program” and “New Regulatory Inspection System”.

  • Code for Maintenance at Nuclear Power Plants (JEAC4209) and its Guide (JEAG4210)
  • Guide for Predictive Maintenance at Nuclear Power Plants
  • Vibration Analysis (JEAG4221)
  • Oil Analysis (JEAG4222)
  • Infrared Thermography Analysis (JEAG4223)
  • Drift Evaluation (JEAG4621)
  • Leakage Rate Testing of Primary Reactor Containment Vessel (JEAC4203)
  • Supplement Edition 2 of Application Guide to Quality Assurance Code for Safety in Nuclear Power Plants (JEAG4121)
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Expectation to Nuclear Maintenance
Mitsuo ARAI (Journalist (former editor of Yomiuri Neswpaper))

The new regulatory inspection system is one dimension of energy issues on nuclear. In this aspect, issues should be examined from the following points of view prevailing in our society these days, that is, stability, economic potential, and environment. Specifically we need to analyze how the new regulatory inspection system should serve for security of stable energy supply, how it links with economy, and an impact on current global warming issues. We should also look from social aspects. A typical example of the social aspects is the fact that there always exists social unrest to nuclear power whereas reality that new energies are expected by people far from their reality.

In addition to the above viewpoints, we should regard presence of the mass-media to be indispensable to understand the new regulatory inspection system. Its importance can be conceived in the communication flow of information as illustrated as follows; “New Regulatory Inspection System (Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency) “ => Mass-Media => Communities(People). In this case, there would be an issue on whether or not the mass-media themselves are capable of evaluating the new system. One of the answers to this question is to let the mass-media people involve in discussion of the new regulatory inspection. I, as a former member of a major newspaper editorial board although not technically a nuclear expert, have worked with Japan Society of Maintenology (JSM) to summarize “Assessment of Discussion Points on the New Regulatory Inspection System for Nuclear Power Facilities”. This means that the assessment is reviewed through the media, and the social aspects are emphasized. Now this can be illustrated as follows,
“New Regulatory Inspection System (Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency) “ => JSM =>Mass-Media => Communities(People).

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An Approach to New Maintenance Programs (Synopsis)
Yasuro SUZUKI (Japan Nuclear Technology Institute)

A facility utilization rate of nuclear power plants in Japan is considerably in a low level. The prime factor in causing the level is a lack of public trust due to troubles and accidents in nuclear plants. So nuclear power operators have tried to promote safety culture and improvement of quality assurance system. Unfortunately, however, their efforts don’t seem to be satisfactory. They still demand for continuous improvement of their own maintenance activities.

What is important as their own endeavor is to steadily use PDCA cycle for maintenance; to plan rightly, to implement firmly new maintenance programs, and to improve their programs by evaluating these processes.

Primarily maintenance activities in Japan have been highly appreciated internationally. Nuclear operators have been investing vast amount of their business resources and working in collaboration with the subcontractors that work together at the site and are familiar with the works. If maintenance activities suitable for each plant are properly carried out based on systematic maintenance programs, improvement would be immense. In implementing the new regulatory inspection system, we have to find a way to minimize confusion at the working site. The helpful guidance for the smooth implementation is suggested as follows;

  • at first hand, make maintenance plans within its own capacity that based on existing maintenance activities,
  • collaborate with their subcontractors that are familiar with the works at the site,
  • devise a way to deal with a massive data to process systematization and screening,
  • take lesson from good practices shown in other operators such as in the U.S.A., and so forth,
  • keep good communications with all parties concerned.
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Success and Failure in Use of IT for Maintenance
Hiroko YAMASHITA (Japan Society of Maintenology)

This article introduces an approach to use of IT for maintenance and a lesson learned from a case of a pioneering implementation of a computer business application for maintenance business. Business management using IT has rapidly pervaded the nuclear industry in the world. The business management cited here contemplates to have the following concepts, 1) it should manage information associated with nuclear facility maintenance such as maintenance programs, its implementation, results in the integrated manner across a company, 2) use of integrated information (record, accumulation, search, verification and access ), as such, should become part of the maintenance business. With the help of these processes, a business flow is defined and formed, which subsequently helps promote PDCA cycle. Computer business application that takes form such concepts is termed as EAM (Enterprise Asset Management).

Use of IT is not limited to EAM. The industry uses CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) for its maintenance management purpose, of which subcomponents use various computer application tools such as EAM as mentioned earlier, process control system, document management system, and ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) as well as various monitoring systems and analysis tools.

Among many management tools, EAM is characterized by promotion of the business PDCA cycle. It is not only IT to be used for stages involving in maintenance planning and its implementation but also a tool to be used in the process of planning to implementation and to a subsequent plan.

EAM for nuclear operators is clearly one of tools to promote their PDCA cycle. However, there are a few points to be made sure when implementing EAM. Here are some cases to lead a failure, they are;

  • take EAM adoption in the same way of conventional systemization such as mechanization, automation, storage and partial optimization,
  • introduce computerization without clear objectives, viability and systematically structured tools (IT without strategy),
  • outsource the crucial system as the key system for the maintenance business,
  • give manual oriented training for how to use the system,
  • fail to use the system as tool to improve maintenance business process after the implementation (implementation = accomplishment of their objective).
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Towards Implementation of New Maintenance Program
(An Approach to Use of IT for Maintenance)
Miyuki NAGAMINE (Shikoku Electric Power Co, INC.)

Shikoku Electric Power Co, INC. in Japan has implemented and started operating fully Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) System recently as supporting system covering their whole areas of maintenance works. The system was customized for the company using an American way of the business process.

Its EAM started with applying to a part of their maintenance works starting in June 2007. It extended its application to areas of various maintenance inspections for Ikata Unit 2 power plant in January 2008. As a consequence, it found EAM efficient enough and lack of quality control problem. After completion of limited implementation, it started full operations of EAM system for the whole areas of maintenance works starting March 2008.

EAM implementation came up with appropriate results in bringing many benefits from EAM. The derivable benefits are summarized as follows; EAM accumulates data relevant to maintenance. Various indicators derived from the accumulated data can be reflected in maintenance planning of PDCA cycle. In this way, maintenance is continuously improved by repeating PDCA cycle. As a result, it should contribute not only to improve maintenance, but also to promote accountability of information acquired through EAM process. In this way, it increases transparency of information on troubled facilities and similar cases by disclosing them promptly. Similarly, maintenance methodologies such as RCM and CBM can be quickly and yet securely implemented because they can effectually process large amount of data accumulated by EAM process for use of quality control.

Furthermore they can unitarily manage information on assets inventory such as projected/actual values because procurement related information such as maintenance materials, stock, and order and receipt are tied in both EAM and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.

EAM system capacitates to improve continuously maintenance using PDCA cycle. With the help of EAM, the company will build up maintenance know-how and promote to share the information with others.

E-Journal of Advanced Maintenance