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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 7 - 13  > Eradicate power companies’ fraud in evading inspection of nuclear power plants
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2007 February 7 - 13 [ECONOMY]

Eradicate power companies’ fraud in evading inspection of nuclear power plants

February 7, 2007
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

It was revealed that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has committed fraud for a long period of time to evade regular inspections of nuclear power plants as required by law.

The cases of fraud have been extensive; 199 fraud cases occurred at 13 out of 17 reactors at all its nuclear power plants of Fukushima No. 1, No. 2, and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa; among them 52 cases were especially serious since they concerned the lifeline of nuclear power plants, the emergency coolant.

To pass the inspection, the company at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa even camouflaged a breakdown of a pump to be used in case of loss of coolant by presenting it as if it was in a satisfactory condition, and then restarted the reactor while the pump was still out of order.

Local governments hosting the nuclear power plants have expressed their indignation at TEPCO’s misconduct, saying, “TEPCO itself must be called into question.”

Power companies, including TEPCO, were severely denounced by the public in 2002 when extensive fraud covering up serious damages to their nuclear power plants were exposed.

The Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency (NISA) and the companies, however, have never seriously reflected on the problem.

In order to eradicate fraud, it is vitally important to thoroughly look into power companies’ disposition to give more priority to business interests than safety and to restrain their workers from speaking up.

Fraud does not end at TEPCO. Kansai Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co., and Japan Atomic Power Co. have also been involved in data falsification in their nuclear power plants. When hydroelectric power plans and thermal power plants are included, all electric power companies have been involved in fraud.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) ordered power companies to check if there are no other data falsifications, but in order to expose the full picture of fraud the government must establish an impartial third party body to thoroughly investigate the situation.

The government must also drastically review the method of conducting inspections to see if it is right to have entrusted inspections to the power companies.

In order for the nuclear power administration to begin a shift to prioritizing safety, it is urgently needed to establish an independent body to regulate nuclear power, and not entrust the task to the NISA established within the METI that is promoting nuclear power generation.
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