Japan Nuclear Reactors – Coverup of Cracked reactors, 2002.

Japan follows in the great tradition of Kerr-McGee:


September 2, 2002 Posted: 7:52 AM EDT (1152 GMT)

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) — The president, vice president and chairman of Japan’s largest utility are quitting following a nuclear safety scandal, along with two advisers.

The Monday announcements came after Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) admitted last week that it may have failed to accurately report cracks at its nuclear reactors in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The company and the Japanese government are probing whether workers covered up reports of the cracks.

TEPCO is suspected of falsifying 29 cases of safety repair records.

The company’s nuclear reactor is the world’s largest, and will be shut down temporarily along with four others for urgent safety checks.

Japan’s nuclear power industry provides a third of the country’s electrical power, and has been criticized for other accidents in recent years.

‘No room for excuses’

This nuclear reactor at Hamaoko Nuclear Power Plant, 124 miles west of Tokyo, was shut down in May due to coolant leakage.

TEPCO shares skidded again on Monday after two weeks of declines, ending down more than 2 percent at the close.

“There is no room for excuses,” TEPCO President Nobuya Minami said on Monday, as he announced he would leave his post in mid-October. (Trouble is a leak lingers for thousands of years.)

“I deeply regret the incident and cannot apologize enough for it.”

Minami said he would reveal in mid-September the results of TEPCO’s probe.

Chairman Hiroshi Araki, Vice President Toshiaki Enomoto and advisers Shoh Nasu and Gaishi Hiraiwa will step down at the end of September.

“What I thought was impossible has actually occurred,” Minami said this weekend, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

“As I failed to perceive it, I think managerial responsibility lies with me.”


Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) vice minister Seiji Murata said that Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma branded the company’s actions as “unacceptable.”

“It betrayed the public’s trust over nuclear energy,” Hiranuma told Murata.

METI says it has evidence of false inspection records, with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency saying that up to eight reactors may still be running with unfixed cracks, though the cracks don’t pose an immediate threat.

The company is conducting an inquiry of its own, and has submitted a list of 29 cases of possible cover-ups of cracks on the core of 13 nuclear reactors, at three plants.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency inspects nuclear plants in Japan every 13 months, checking the cooling system and other essential parts.

But it leaves the inspection of the shrouds and pumps around the core to the company, which is required to report flaws.

TEPCO contracted its testing to General Electric International Inc., GE’s Japan subsidiary. Local media report that cracks were found on the reactor shrouds.

Defective shrouds, important nonfuel parts of a reactor, are normally replaced in Japan but may be repaired in the United States or Europe, or even left alone if the cracks aren’t serious.

A GE insider reportedly informed the Ministry of International Trade and Industry as far back as July 2000.

GE officials then approached Minami in March about launching an investigation into possible false reporting.

GE workers inspected the shrouds while TEPCO workers were present. TEPCO workers then may have failed to report cracks to senior officials, the Nikkei Weekly reports, because they determined they were not significant.

TEPCO stock was down 2.04 percent at 2,395 yen at the close Monday, underperforming the broad Topix, which was off 1.2 percent. Though the possible cover-up has been long running, TEPCO has dropped about 10 percent in the last two weeks.

The scandal comes amid a lengthening list of corporate misconduct in Japan.

The Nikkei reported on Monday that Mitsui & Co. President Shinjiro Shimizu and Chairman Shigeji Ueshima are under pressure to resign.

They are likely to step down to take responsibility over alleged bribes by Mitsui workers to a Mongolian official, to win an order on a diesel-power facility there.


The story of the Kerr-McGee Corporation and an employee who tried to tell the truth. She was silenced.

It is alleged that Karen Silkwood was negligently or purposefully contaminated with plutonium, while working at Kerr-McGee’s Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site investigating safety violations at the plant. Her activism and November 1974 death were the subject of the 1983 film Silkwood. In a civil suit against Kerr-McGee by the Estate of Karen Silkwood, Judge Frank Theis told the jury, “If you find that the damage to the person or property of Karen Silkwood resulted from the operation of this plant, Kerr-McGee is liable.”[42]

The jury rendered its verdict of $505,000 in damages and $10,000,000 in punitive damages. On appeal, the judgment was reduced to $5,000.[43] In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court restored the original verdict (Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 464 U.S. 283 (1984)).[44] The suit was headed for retrial when Kerr-McGee settled out of court in 1986 for $1.38 million, admitting no liability.[42][45] – Wiki


Do we really want this sort of corrupt industry in Australia?

One Response to “Japan Nuclear Reactors – Coverup of Cracked reactors, 2002.”

  1. Japan Covers-Up Reactor Cracks? | Maggie's Notebook Says:

    […] off-topic, I found an interesting report at Paul Langley’s Nuclear History blog, quoting a CNN report out of Tokyo in 2002: The Monday announcements came after Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) admitted last week that it may […]

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